Ladybugs Vs. Bees: Make a DIY Garden Rock Tic Tac Toe Game from a Tree Stump

Creating a welcoming community garden space is easier than you might think! By adding interactive elements, you can send a message to kids and adults that this garden is a friendly and inclusive environment, inviting everyone to come and explore. 

This rock garden tic tac toe game is a great summertime craft to get the kids involved in, and a fun way to creatively reuse a tree stump in your garden space. Inviting kids into this project will give them a sense of ownership and pride, deepening their own connection to the community garden and encouraging creative outdoor play. By repurposing natural elements, you can teach kids about sustainability and resourcefulness, helping them feel connected to the earth.

Ladybugs Vs. Bees: Make a DIY Garden Rock Tic Tac Toe Game from a Tree Stump

If you want your garden to become a place for community engagement, start to design small elements that are made for interaction. Aside from table games, you can add a free little library, park benches, and water elements to your garden to transform it into a fun community hub! Once your neighbors see this imaginative rock garden tic tac toe game, they’ll be inspired to come and sit in the space, maybe even stopping to play a game or two.


Tree stump

9 smooth, flat stones

Acrylic paint

Small paint brushes

Water cup for rinsing

Mod Podge Spray Acrylic Sealer


  1. Look for rocks with a relatively even surface, free of cracks or bumps. Clean the stones with soap and water and let them dry. 
  2. Paint the top of each stone with a base color. When dry, flip over and paint the base color on the back of the stones. Choose 5 rocks to be ladybugs and 4 rocks to be bees (or vice versa). While ladybugs are traditionally red and bees are yellow, you can use your creative license and pick any color you’d like.
  3. For the bees, paint on two black stripes horizontally across the body. For the ladybugs, paint a black face and a vertical black strip across the body. Add three polka dots on each colored half. Let the paint dry.
  4. Add white dots for the eyes and white wings on the backs of each bee.
  5. Finally, add a dot of black paint (using the back of your paint brush) to the center of each eye.
  6. Seal the front and back of each rock with two coats of Mod Podge spray sealant. This should be done in a well-ventilated area.
  7. You can use black paint or wood-burning tools to create a tic tac toe grid on one end of the tree stump, or just leave it au natural!

We hope you enjoyed this crafty garden project idea for kids and adults! Whether you are looking to spruce up your own yard or add a touch of whimsy to a community garden space, 

this nature-inspired craft will give you a new appreciation for rock painting (it’s harder than it looks!).

Ladybugs Vs. Bees: Make a DIY Garden Rock Tic Tac Toe Game from a Tree Stump

You are not limited to painting ladybugs and bees for your tic-tac-toe pieces. Paint your favorite flowers, herbs, suns, moons, mushrooms, or geometric patterns. Try minimalist patterns or Zen symbols to create a feeling of tranquility. If you don’t consider yourself an artist, apply a base coat and use a stencil to add your design! You can even write messages on the rocks using a paint pen. Whether you paint rocks with intricate designs or simple messages, painted rocks can bring joy and beauty to any garden setting.


----Photos from Lindsay Conner

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