Colour of Minerals Kit (Featuring 9 mineral specimens)
An amazing starter set to introduce the child to the beauty and wonder of the world of minerals!
To allow for scientific examination the Colour of Minerals kit includes 9 minerals, a small magnifier, a nail and streak plate and a guide pamphlet. The set provides the foundation for a child to begin researching, testing, classifying and identifying these colourful treasures!
The set includes the following nine minerals:
Red Jasper (red)
Yellow Jade (yellow)
Green Adventurine (green)
Rose Quartz (pink)
Pyrite (pale yellow)
The minerals can also be presented as part of one of the activities that my own Pre-school children greatly enjoy - 'Excavation'.
Mineral Excavation Activity shown here with our Magnifying Glass
I arrange an activity tray with a deep container of sand/soil, a magnifying glass, small brush (the one shown above was from Ikea) and a set of minerals and small bowls/dishes.
The use of a deep container, with high walls, reduces the risk of excessive spilling - although a few spills are part of the process and be corrected with the 'corner-pouring method' and/or a dustpan and brush.
First the child and the adult can examine each mineral and the adult can introduce the correct name of each mineral (see above for a list of the minerals in this set). The adult can also use this as an opportunity to engage in a Three Period Lesson to teach these names although the Three Period Lesson can occur separately from this sensory/scientific activity (either before or after).
The adult then encourages the child to close his/her eyes (or place on a blindfold) while hiding the minerals in the sand/soil. The child is then invited to carefully brush away the sand to reveal the buried treasures. This creates a visual sensory experience but also has parallels to the true scientific concept of mining/excavating for minerals. As each mineral is found it is brushed clean and placed in one of the small bowls.
Once the child is familiar with the process the activity can become the foundation for social interaction as a pair (or group) of children take turns hiding and uncovering the minerals for one another!
When first presenting the 'excavation' activity I like to draw a child's attention to the gentle, controlled motions required to carefully brush away the sand without spilling it. This encourages careful, deliberate movements and also ensures that the minerals will only 'peek out' with each brush stroke rather than being completely uncovered.
The inclusion of a magnifying glass acts as a point of interest. It also helps to promote a sense of excitement as the child feels more like an explorer searching for the natural treasures buried beneath the sand.
I present the activity with a series of small bowls or containers that relate to the number of minerals hidden in the sand. This gives children a 'goal' and a method of self-correcting. The child can identify that if there are five containers, but only four uncovered minerals, then they need to continue the treasure hunt. Conversely, when all the containers are full the child can independently recognise that it is time to stop. This prevents the fruitless disappointment of continuing to search after all minerals have been found.
As the child uncovers each mineral he/she can engage in the Practical Life activity of brushing away the sand and polishing up the shine.
The minerals can be hidden in soil, sand or kinetic sand. As the child's proficiency with the activity increases the size of the container - and therefore the volume of the sand/soil - can be increased. As this happens the quantity of minerals can also be increased. This allows for a continued progression of difficulty to allow for repetition and skill refinement.
*Safety note: This product appears in our '3-6' range based on my experience of Pre-school age children showing interest and ability with examining and exploring minerals. However we wish to draw your attention to the fact that the general age recommendation listed by the manufacturers for this product is 8+. However, manufacturers tend to err on the side of caution when listing ‘recommended ages’ because of their legal liabilities. So while we can not directly contradict these recommended ages we do empower you to make your own informed decisions, based on balancing safety concerns and developmental value, about whether or not you feel a particular resource is appropriate for your child(ren) or classroom. Many Montessori-inspired parents and teachers will be familiar with the fact that children are often capable of effectively and joyfully using products at a younger age than the number specified ‘on the box’. This is particularly true when support, supervision and presentations are provided (as outlined in our Safety Suggestions).