The Klondike Gold Rush in 1896 set off the wild excitement of discovery. People from all over risked treacherous land hiking with all their belongings to the rugged wilds of the Yukon just for the chance to find gold and get rich. Most of them failed.
There IS something thrilling about the chance of discovering something special. Kids in particular love searching (and finding!) things. Offering kids a hands-on opportunity to try their skills at finding “gold” can really help them understand the lure of the gold rush experience.
The Klondike Gold Rush – Panning for Gold
A very simple hands-on activity for this topic is to just get out there and search for gold! Here are some great instructions on how to properly pan for gold (includes pictures and video examples.)
If you happen to live near a river or stream, go pan for gold at the water’s edge following the instructions above.
If you live somewhere close to a lake or ocean, head to the beach with some pie plates or foil tins and search the beach for sea or beach glass. Pretty rare, but beautiful, the joy that finding even a small piece of glass can bring is a great example of the feeling gold hunters would have had (although their findings are much more valuable!) We had a great time searching for beach glass – scooping and sifting handfuls of pebbles and rocks in Lake Ontario.
If you don’t have access to a body of water, you can recreate your own Klondike Gold Rush experience right in your backyard (or the tub or a container on the kitchen table!). Some options for something to search for are:
- special colourful rocks
- fool’s gold
- gold painted rocks
Just fill up a container, a small kiddie pool, or a water table with some water and pebbles/rocks, and have the kids search for their prize! See our adventures in backyard panning for gold.