Two things my kids love?
Sand and coins!
Both are wonderful sensory experiences. Learning to recognize basic coins and how to tell them apart are huge steps toward beginning to understand money and commerce.
This activity develops scientific reasoning and fine motor skills. The kids dig through sand to find their coin treasures. Then they determine which coin they have and place it on the appropriate outline. Since there are twelve of each coin hidden in the sand they also get to keep track of how many coins they have found and how many more are still hidden. I love hearing them announce, “Mom, Mom, I found all the pennies!” It’s fun for all of us!
Desert Sand Discovery
- Fill a tray or tub with sand.
- Set out different tools (brushes, tongs, slotted spoons) to move and sift the sand.
- Make penny, nickel, dime, and quarter “treasure sheets.”
- Then hide 12 of each coin in the sand.
- Note: Each printable “Coins in a Bag Sheets” contains 12 of each coin, but is editable in case you wish to delete or add some coins.
- Encourage children to find and fill up the treasure sheets.
3 Big Questions
1. What type of treasure would you want to find in the desert?
All three of my kids announced that it would be fun to find coins and money in the sand. They also offered up things they have found in the sand on the beach in the past such as part of a boat, shells, old jewelry, and even a left behind toy or two. As a true testament to us reading tons of books about the desert this month, my boys suggested that water would be a pretty darn good find in the desert. My daughter was quick to point out that although water was great treasure, it was unlikely to be buried in the bins. I love being a fly on the wall for these discussions!
2. What tools can you use to dig in sand and dirt?
My kids love using slotted spoons to dig and sift through the sand. They are most likely to just use their hands. Brushes are quickly discarded, because they prefer to just use the coins with sand on them or brush it off with their hands. My kindergarten kid is a big car fan, so his toy diggers also made an appearance!
3. How are the coins different?
Give yourself a chance to really look at the coins. Chances are if you are anything like me you haven’t thought about how to tell them apart in a long time. As adults we have learned and now just k now which ones are pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. We might know which president is on the front, maybe! lol
My kids don’t know this information yet, so it is fun to hear their responses. They came up with some great ideas to tell them apart. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Did you know that a dime is smaller even though it is worth more than a penny or a nickel because it was originally made with silver, a more expensive material? This is fascinating stuff folks!
- rough verses smooth edges
- I won’t ruin this one for you. Go ahead feel the edges. The kids came up with this one without me and it’s totally true!!!!
- the penny is the obvious winner for this one
- the direction the person’s head is facing
- I never thought about this one either, but they’re right! 🙂
STEAM with Mother Goose Time
Mother Goose Time offers a whole range of STEAM Stations for each month. If you aren’t familiar with STEAM, those are activities and projects focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. The inspiration behind these types of activities is that with our future constantly changing our children have to be prepared to think out of the box and work in careers we haven’t even imagined with tools that haven’t even been invented yet.
Mother Goose Time provides five suggestions for every week of the program. Included are suggestions for sensory, blocks, science and nature, dramatic play, and outside discovery stations. These tools are a great way to get our preschoolers off to a great start! Plus, they are so fun!
If you are interested in reading more about our experience with Mother Goose Time, check out our curriculum page!
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As a blog ambassador for Mother Goose Time, I am happy to share preschool curriculum ideas, activities, and crafts with my readers. Mother Goose Time provides our family the opportunity to use their curriculum free of charge in exchange for honest and authentic stories based on our personal experience.