Mining For Gemstones


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.

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.

About The Pinterested Parent

I am loving wife to my best friend & mommy to our smarty pants little girl, who loves to learn, craft & play. I am an artist, a crafter & I am Pinterest addict. When I first started my blog it was meant to be an outlet for my Pinterest addiction. I was looking to inspire & be inspired. What it became was a wonderful journey for me & my daughter in which we chronicle our activities, crafts, lessons & a hefty slice of our life. Please join us as we navigate through this wonderful thing called motherhood.
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16 Responses to Mining For Gemstones

  1. Mai, is totally a girl after my own heart and who doesn’t like gemstones! Seriously, so cute and looks like such a fun activity indeed 😉

  2. Such a neat idea! Thanks for sharing.

  3. We have the same water table! I make the sand stay in the turtle sand box 😉

  4. runsaltrun says:

    We have a water table that is currently not being used. I’m doing this tonight!

  5. flowbeth says:

    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

    • Absolutely! Please. I am glad your daughter enjoyed it and I know plenty about short attention spans. Lol

      • flowbeth says:

        Brill 🙂 thanks!
        She was happy to continue playing with the sand and water but if a different way to how we set up to play with it l

      • 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.

      • flowbeth says:

        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

  6. Pingback: Digging for buried treasure! | Kaboodlemum

  7. 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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