This is a project that I found on the Internet and is not my original idea, but I thought it looked like a great opportunity for useful recycling! It provides quiet entertainment for children as they search for small objects hidden in a sand-filled plastic container. It uses an empty, clear plastic tubular container and the bits and pieces that collect in the bottom of your “junk drawer.” The size of the container is the first consideration. I wanted something small that I could fit into my purse so I chose to use a container like those that travel-sized toiletries come in. This meant that I could only use very small objects and I could only fit about fifteen of them in my container, but that was sufficient for what I wanted. If I had desired something to last for a longer time, i.e. for a road trip, I would have chosen a much larger container and filled it with more items. For the sake of being able to use this small one with pre-readers as well as with older children, I took a picture of the items that I had collected and decoupaged it to the back of a spent gift card. But for use with older children, a list would have been sufficient. After putting my collection of items into my container, I added sand until the container was 3/4 of the way full. (I have also seen rice used as a filler, and I suppose that salt or small beans would also work.) Then I screwed the lid on tightly. The teenagers in my house were as delighted with this as the children in my church nursery!
Because of its appeal to both sexes and different age levels, this a wonderful project to do with children’s groups. The objects that are to be included in the containers can even be gathered to go with a specific theme or story. (I think it would be fun to do a snow themed bottle and use fake plastic “snow” as the filler!) Smaller children will enjoy putting the items into the container and using a funnel to add the filler. For this age group, I would use the same items for each child so that a picture of the items could be taken ahead of time and copies made to send home with the filled bottles. Older children could make personalized bottles, selecting items from an assortment and making a list of the things that they added to their bottle. Using items of different sizes and weights adds challenge to the search when the bottles are complete. In my small version above, the Lego piece is generally easy to find while the tiny screw is a challenge to even adults.
There are many verses in the Bible that speak of treasures, but Provers 2:4 & 5 are two that would go well with this craft, “If thou seekest her (wisdom) as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” Just as the treasures in the sand must be searched out, learning about God also takes effort. There is always labor involved in a treasure hunt. May we all be willing to expend our energies searching out the greatest Treasure that man can know!