We've enjoyed panning for gems before - at school fetes with large trays of watery sand hiding gemstones purchased online, and at home using watery rice studded with sparkly sequins and beads. Both were exciting, sensory activities for the children but neither compared with our recent Southwold beach version; panning for gems 'au naturel'. Here's how we did it:
1. We took a sunny stroll past the beach huts to the beautiful, sandy seaside.
2. We removed our shoes and socks and paddled in the sparkling sea.
3. We felt the golden sands shift and pull away from between our toes as the waves broke around our ankles.
4. We marvelled at the tiny gemstones revealed around our feet as the sand drew away with the sea.
5. We selected a sparkly stone or two before the next wave covered our patch with new sand.
6. We rinsed our treasure in the sea, enhancing its rainbow colours and shimmering gleam.
7. We repeated this until our shoes were filled with stones and our hearts with sunshine.