Panning for Gold Kid’s Activity

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Inside: Panning for Gold Kid’s Activity

The California Gold Rush is one of those defining moments in American history. It brought thousands of gold prospectors, called 49ers, from all around the world to California.

Knowing the gold was there and finding the gold are two different things. Many prospectors did something called panning for gold. They would dip pans into a river and swirl it around. They did this because gold is nineteen times heavier than water so eventually gold would settle into the bottom of the pan as the dirt and gravel were washed away.

We’ve created a fun panning for gold activity so kids can practice being a gold prospector in 1849 California.

"Gold" Nuggets

How to Make a Panning for Gold Kid’s Activity

Supplies:

Panning for Gold Kid's Activity Supplies

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Directions:

  • Prepare the “gold nuggets” by laying out some of the pea gravel onto paper plates.
  • Squirt a small amount of gold paint onto the paper plate.
  • Using a flat paintbrush, paint all of the pea gravel with the gold paint. Let dry and paint the opposite side. Place finished “nuggets” on a new paper plate and allow to dry overnight.
Painting gold nuggets
  • For mining: Add “gold nuggets,” remaining pea gravel, and sand to plastic storage bin. Blend well.
  • Add water to the storage bin. Be sure there is enough water to cover several inches of the “dirt.”
  • Dip the pie tins into the plastic bin and fill your pan with “dirt and gravel.” Gently swirl in a circular motion.
  • Pull out any “gold nuggets” you find and store them in a safe place.

Optional: A simplified method is to spray paint the pea gravel. Add the pea gravel to a small cardboard box and spray paint, shifting them around the box until all are painted. See recommended paint in Supplies.

Panning for Gold picture

A simple solution…

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Another option would be to purchase a panning for gold kit. See options below:

Panning for Gold Kit – 1

Panning for Gold Kit – 2


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Did you know…

This project is included in our By the Great Horn Spoon Guide.

By the Great Horn Spoon iPad Cover

It’s also the perfect companion project to accompany these books:

By the Great Horn Spoon!

By the Great Horn Spoon!

By the Great Horn Spoon!: When Jack's aunt is forced to sell her beloved mansion but is still unable to raise enough money to pay her debts, the twelve-year-old goes to California in search of gold to help her.

More info →
Buy from Amazon

Gold! Gold from the American River!: January 24, 1848: The Day the Gold Rush Began

Gold! Gold from the American River!: January 24, 1848: The Day the Gold Rush Began

Gold! Gold from the American River!: January 24, 1848: The Day the Gold Rush Began: When James Marshall found a small, soft, shiny stone in a California stream, he knew it could only be one thing: gold! His cry of discovery would be heard around the world.

More info →
Buy from Amazon

Story of the California Gold Rush Coloring Book

Story of the California Gold Rush Coloring Book

Story of the California Gold Rush Coloring Book: Now the excitement and rags-to-riches glamour of the Gold Rush era has been captured in this treasury of accurate, carefully researched drawings

More info →
Buy from Amazon

Check out these other books about American Westward Expansion:

Tree in the Trail
Locomotive
Brighty of the Grand Canyon
Buffalo Bill
Caddie Woodlawn
John Muir: America’s Naturalist
An Outlaw Thanksgiving
Wagon Wheels
Prairie School by Avi
The Call of the Wild
Farmer Boy
Dandelions
Patty Reed’s Doll: The Story of the Donner Party
The Birchbark House
Ride On, Will Cody!: A Legend of the Pony Express
Happy Little Family
Johnny Appleseed
Johnny Appleseed
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers
Little House 4-Book Box Set: Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek
Mountain Born
My Great-Aunt Arizona
Of Courage Undaunted: Across the Continent with Lewis & Clark
Sarah, Plain and Tall
Little House in the Big Woods
Train to Somewhere
Apples to Oregon
Old Yeller
A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840
John Henry
By the Great Horn Spoon!
The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver
Fearless Mary: Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver
Story of the California Gold Rush Coloring Book
Gold! Gold from the American River!: January 24, 1848: The Day the Gold Rush Began

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