We've recently found out how difficult it is for a young child to identify rocks and minerals. The specimens that are available for sale are often low grade (and therefore affordable) and the specimens in books are usually high grade. Some rocks and minerals look different depending on where they are found or how they have been cut and/or polished/prepared. I took this into consideration when setting up our Rocks and Minerals Exploration area.
Caspar started with a small collection of rocks and minerals from a kit. As we add a new rock or mineral we make an identification card using a photograph of our exact specimen. Then Caspar can use his reference books to research and easily identify the rock or mineral and find out more about it. Now that his collection is growing we select each addition carefully and I love to say that we are finding more and more Australian specimens to research.
We still have this tray set up so Otis can work along side Caspar and feel the rocks/minerals. The different textures are wonderful. We also have our geodes here and some rocks we have found on our nature walks.