Mining For Gemstones

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miningforgems (1)

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I can still remember the first time I made my daughter a sensory box. It was last year & it was just a large Rubbermaid storage bin filled with colored rice, rubber insects & some scoops & cups. Mai went crazy for it. I could not believe this simple idea could hold my daughter’s attention for so long. She played with it for hours. It was the first time since she was born that I was able to peacefully cook a full meal without her attached to my hip. I was even able to clean up after too. It was amazing.


As amazing as it was though it was also very messy. I accepted this as long as it kept Mai happily occupied. A year later I will still find a stray grain of colored rice every once in a while. We continued with the sensory play, making holiday themed boxes, fossil brushing & her favorite which is water play. All of these activities were fun & all of them were very messy.

With the warm weather here, I am delighted to be able to move the messy play outdoors for a change.

Mai recently became obsessed with these little crafting gems that I have. She carries them all around & like the rice, I find them everywhere. I had an idea to make a sensory treasure hunt for her using some of these gems that she is so fond of. We recently bought her a sand & water table and this fit in perfectly with our plan.

What you will need:

A sensory or water table, an old pool or a large storage bin. Any of these will work fine.

Play sand


Colored crafting gems

A sand sieve, shovels or scoops

We have a sand/water table, so I used this for our activity, but it would just as easily work in a large Rubbermaid storage container or an old pool. Throw your gems into the bottom of your container, add sand & water. Let your child dig out the gems using scoops or shovels, a sand sieve or even just their hands.











As with all of the sensory play, this kept my munchkin amused for quite some time. I sat on the grass, enjoyed the sun and watched Mai digging out her gemstones. She would dig them out, put them aside & them throw them back in & start all over again. She asked for a towel to clean them off with & then put them in a container that night & set them next to her bed. Like I said, she really likes those gemstones.


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  1. I saw this the other day and I thought it was an super cool idea! I actually did it with my little girl the other day and it went down a treat (it didn’t last very long before she was turning my garden into a beach but she enjoyed it before that!)
    Just wondering if it would be okay to ping back? Would love to add this to my blog 🙂 x

        1. Whatever works! I am happy with anything that will occupy my daughter’s brain. She loses interest quickly with a lot of things, but sensory play is amazing. I could give her a Tupperware full of water and scoops and she will not make a peep for an hour.

          1. That’s amazing. I’ve tried doing that with my little one but she plays for about 30 minutes and then she wants to do the messy play and get it everywhere lol. I love doing stuff like that with her but it’s difficult to do it everyday, I don’t think I could keep up with all the washing that would accumulate if we did haha

  2. Love this idea! Never thought of using craft gems before. My little boy loves treasure hunts, pirates and scoops so this is perfect for him. Definitely doing this – thanks for the inspiration!

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