Last week we got back from a trip to Bluestone national park resort in Wales. I’ll share the full review soon with pictures of our Lodge and everything we got up to but for now here’s one of the activities the boys took part in during their stay: Panning for Gold.
The panning for gold takes places in Camp Smokey at the bottom of Steep RavineYou can eat in Camp Smokey. They have a range of barbecue food and it’s a really nice atmosphere to sit and eat with the forest all around, so we did that before the panning for gold.
The panning for gold takes place in a special area inside the camp and is led by two friendly characters “smokey Joe and Digger”
The children get to take a look down the mine shaft and then they are each given a bowl to sift through and pan for gold, and a cup to keep all the gold that they have found.
There are tiny pieces of “gold” hidden in the large trough of dirt, so the children’s hands will get messy and its best for them not to do it in their best or super expensive clothes. Be prepared for them to get a little dirty, although it won’t be too much.
The panning for gold is suitable for all ages. Mr Z (5) did all of his panning by himself but we helped Mr T (4) and Mr R (2) a bit by scooping up the dirt for them and helping to point out some of the little pieces of gold for them. The pieces that they are looking for are pretty tiny so they need to look through very carefully. The activity is made to look realistic so it’s not huge lumps of gold or very obvious ones, as the children are learning how to spot the tiny pieces and then they learn that these will all be gathered together and melted in the furnace.
Once they have collected all their gold, they take their mugs full of gold to be weighed and everyone’s is taken together to be melted. The children can watch this from a safe distance and get their picture taken with Smokey Joe and Digger
At the end they are all given a gold bar that they can wear on a string. Obviously it’s not real but because they had done all the gold panning and seen it go into the furnace, they did think it was real gold that they had made, and they were really proud of it!
This is the only paid activity we took them to in Bluestone, but it was an ideal one because it suits all of their ages and they had a lot of fun with it. I really like how this is something very different that I haven’t seen offered anywhere else, and it was a really fun experience for them. You can read more about the Panning for Gold activity at Bluestone here.
I’ll have to think of replicating this idea at home on a smaller scale. We don’t have a furnace but we can make “gold” and let them pan through with some dirt and bowls and cups, I’m sure they would love it!
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Image source: Shutterstock (modified)