Taking Children Gold Panning

Let's face it, most people choose to take up the hobby of gold panning simply for the chance to strike it rich with a yellow payday. As the price of gold continues to rise, more and more people are looking to invest their money into this recession-proof currency. When there's such a demand for gold, the value naturally rises to accommodate these increasing demands. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with generating a nice side income from gold panning, it's also a fun learning experience for children to participate in. If you and your children are sitting around the house bored one day, you should consider taking them on a gold panning adventure. Chances are they will love the excitement that comes from enjoying the outdoors and possibly even finding some gold.

Girl Gold Panning

Girl Gold Panning

What Age Is Acceptable?

Contrary to what some people may believe, children can participate in a gold panning activity at practically any age. You can't expect them to successfully unearth large amounts of gold on their own, but you can show them the general panning process. Whether they are a young toddler or well into their teenage years, most children love the opportunity to get outside and get their hands dirty with some sand that *may* contain gold. It's a memory that will stick with them all of their life, and that makes the activity all worth it in the end.

When it's done under the right circumstances, gold panning can be a safe and rewarding experience that children love. The younger they are, however, the more supervision they will need. Since gold panning is usually done in areas directly on streams or rivers, you'll need to pay close attention to your surroundings and keep an eye on your child at all times. Slight shifts in wind or rainfall upstream may increase the current just enough to sweet an unsuspecting child off his or her feet. For this reason, it's recommended that you physically hold on to your child when they are panning for gold.

Where To Take Children Gold Panning

Choosing a location to take your children panning for gold isn't a decision that should be made lightly. If you want them to have a safe and enjoyable experience, you have to choose a suitable location. Places that are deep in the woods and require miles of hiking through thick brush and dense forests to reach probably isn't the best place to take a small children. Even if they are able to make it there, they will likely tire themselves out after an hour or so of panning, and you probably don't want to give them a piggyback ride on the return hike.

Calm Stream

Calm Stream

Here are some things to remember when choosing a gold panning location for children:

  • Make sure it's easy to reach and doesn't require a long or otherwise strenuous hike.
  • Check to see what the water levels are like for any nearby streams or rivers. You never want to take a small child to a river or stream with water that's running either high or fast.
  • Contact the local Game & Fish office to see if there have been any bear sightings in the area.
  • A gold panning location for children should have a nearby road.
  • Never take children panning for gold in areas in or around steep cliffs.
  • Don't rule out some of the paid gold panning and gem prospecting operations. There are several great companies that allow children and even adults to pan for gold and minerals in a safe environment. Best of all, some of them even guarantee that you'll find gold in the process.

Tips on Teaching a Child How To Pan For Gold

There's no denying the fact that most children have a short attention span; therefore, trying to teach them the proper way to pan for gold can prove to be challenging. They may show interest in it for the first 30 minutes, but after performing the same scoop, dip and swirl movements for half an hour they will start asking you when it's time to go. So, how are you supposed to keep your child's attention during their first gold panning trip? The best approach really depends on their age, as younger children lose interest faster but can be kept on track simply by using the right words. Stay positive and keep them excited by congratulating them on their finds. Even if they aren't finding gold nuggets, you can still congratulate them on gemstones and other rocks.

Older children, such as those 13+, will usually either fall in love with the hobby or be ready to call it quits after the first hour. If you're the parent of a teenage child, you're probably well aware of just how "set in their ways" they can be. In any case, it's an experience that they will likely enjoy at least once and be thankful of the unique opportunity. Just remember to never push or force them to go panning for gold if they don't want to. Like any sport or activity, some children will enjoy it, while others won't.

If your child is interesting in the hobby of panning for hold, you should teach them some of the proper panning methods and techniques. Take them through the process one step at a time, starting with filling their pan up about 3/4 of the way full with dirt and sand from the bottom of the creek bed or stream. Next, they should completely submerge it underwater and shake it with just the right amount of force so that large rocks and debris come off. Bring the pan back to the top of the surface, re-submerge it and perform the same action once again. When your child successfully finds a gold nugget or even a small flake, chances are they will be hooked and begging for you to take them again.