Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scratch Patch.

On our latest trip to Simon's Town we visited Scratch Patch-Mineral World. We had been there before when the children were very small but hadn't been into the factory section as Jenna was very sensitive to loud noises then. Now that she understands more about her world and her own body she doesn't become as afraid of new noises in new environments. When you enter the factory section it is very loud because it is filled with different types of drums all completing a special part of the process of getting the stones prepared for sale.

Both Michael and Jenna put their hands to their ears and stood close by my side until they felt comfortable to move on without their special "protection". So I stood by patiently waiting for them to move on. When they were ready the first thing that they both noticed were the cogs which were turning the drums. They've had a fascination with cogs lately because they've been playing with dad's old lego and discovering what cogs do-here they got to see the real ones in action! (I love how the Lord brings little learning moments together like this!)

These are the polishing drums. They rotate at different times according to the type of stone inside and how "roughly" they can be handled.

Here they are washing the stones.

Inside a drum-I just love the colours-you probably can't quite get the same effect as we did, but when the stones are in water they shine even more.

After being washed and polished the stones are then sorted into different sizes. Here they are on a conveyor belt in sawdust, about to enter the sorting tunnel.

We had a little lesson in size and sorting here. As the stones move along the tunnel they fall into different barrels according to their size. Jen and I discussed how this was happening. After a while she figured out that the holes in the tunnel get bigger as you get further down the tunnel, thus letting the stones out according to their appropriate size. Great practical maths lesson!

After all that learning Michael said he'd had enough of the noise so we headed on to the shop. Here you can find examples of all the stones for sale. Some are fashioned into statues or ornaments. Others are just left in their natural state. And still others are polished to look all shiny and sparkly!

Jenna loved these Titanium Quartz stones-what can I say she's a girl who loves sparkly pretty things!

And Michael was impressed by these shark teeth. They are fossil teeth found in the seas in Morocco. Apparently they were ancestors of the Great White Shark.

And then we headed on to the real reason for visiting Scratch Patch! The HUGE patch of stones, found in a cave like setting with a waterfall and all, was like a treasure hunt all on it's own! We got a small bag each to fill with stones and spent some time exploring all the nooks and crannies where some stones were hiding.

Be warned though, if you go to visit you may need to pack in a new set of clothes. It can get very slippery climbing over the rocks.

Jenna loves rocks. She has an uncanny knack for finding rocks which are heart shaped. She has a little collection on her bookshelf at home. Well, she even managed to find a heart stone in the midst of all those gems! Can you see it in the right top corner?

Michael on the other hand decided to be quite selective and only went for green and orange stones. What was I to expect from my little man who knows exactly what he wants in life and determindly pursues his goals?!

The simple pleasures in life appeal to him! Here's my little gem among the gems!

Jenna discovered more interesting rocks-this is fossilized wood. Another great learning moment. Jen has been very interested in dinosaurs and fossils lately so this is why these rocks appealed to her.

And of course when mommy got home she had to do the teacher thing and I asked them to match up their little treasures to the gem stone chart we bought. Not as easy as it seems actually!

All in all we had a great time at Scratch Patch and MY little treasures learnt a lot of new information in a relaxed enjoyable manner.