Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Summer Bucket List: Making Your Own Gem Mine Activity

After going to a Gem Mine Sluice on vacation last year, we brought back with us a bag of stones that had been stocked with small gems and a small box sieve. We had so much fun, we wanted to do it again once we got home. You can make your own pretend mining activity for your kids.
First you will need to make the box sieve. It is just four pieces of of 1x2 in wood nailed together to make a square that is the size you want. A piece of screen is nailed firmly to the bottom to form the sieve. You will then need to take some garden stones and stud it with whatever gemstones you wish to add. You can add some sand, too. Mix it all together thoroughly.

You can set up your sluice with running water from a garden hose into a whatever large container you have available. We found, however, we did not need the running water and just used a large container of water; in this case an old cooler.
Now you are ready for your children. Pour some of the studded stones into the box sieve, and then have them dip the sieve in the water to rinse away any sand. As they pull it out of the water, they may notice some of the gemstones right away.
For smaller gems, they may have to search and wash some more before they are discovered. For this reason, it is good to include some tiny specimens. My kids had a lot of fun with this and worked at it a long time.
After they are finished mining, they can bring all the gemstones where it is dry and use an identification guide to discover what they collected. The rocks and sand can always be restocked and the mine opened again.

originally posted 6/16/10


  1. Hmmmm...... That is a very tempting idea.

  2. THis is really cool!

  3. I do believe we will have to give this ago when we get to gold miners in our America study next year- EXCELLENT fun!

  4. I'm thinking of getting a picture frame and some chicken wire.....


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