The gold rush of the latter half of the 19th century was a savage time. Hordes of people rushed westward to strip the earth of every speck of gold that they could find, robbing and killing one another, and causing general mayhem in the process. They did this not only because they lusted after riches, but also because they were reacting to the idea of “gold,” a material that almost casts a spell on people.
If you would like your children to experience the sense of the energy that drove all those thousands of people to impossible risk-taking all those decades ago, there is one great way to do it without all the death and leaving the country and stuff – taking them treasure hunting. While the modern versions are completely safe, civilized and well-regulated, your kids can still pretend it’s the Wild West. Kids are good at it. The best part is, there is real treasure out there to look for.
So where is the treasure?
Canada has mineral mines everywhere, and families can pay fees to go prospecting. Your kids actually get to keep the gemstones that they find. It can be an education like none other, and it can come with a wonderful thrill of excitement.
Head for Ontario, a center of Canada’s gemstone and mineral mining industry, and put in some time to have fun with your family (in places like Bear Lake Diggings, you may need a permit issued by the local Chamber of Commerce).
Your kids don’t even need to strike it big to have fun. While real gemstones tend to be very hard to come by, all kinds of other mysterious and beautiful mineral crystals tend to be easy to discover. Large chunks of calcite, apatite, sodalite and titanite can be just as beautiful as gems.
You can get your children started right in your backyard
If you are not ready to send the kids off prospecting for gems far away, you can try the lifestyle on them right at home. All you need is a set of metal detectors, one per child, and some information on how to use them.
There’s a huge difference between the kind of simple toy store-type metal detector that you get anywhere, and a good professional model. It’s important to realize, though, that getting a good unit alone isn’t the ticket to great treasure hunting. It’s important to help your children learn the right metal detector techniques as well.
Your children need to invest time and effort in understanding the way these devices work, and their various quirks to exploit. Not only will they learn to get out, stay active and find enthusiasm for life, they will begin to warm to basic practical physics, as well. Treasure hunting is exactly the kind of thing that gets children interested in the sciences.
Life will be exciting again
Children connect to the idea of prospecting for treasure better than anyone else. It tends to inspire them with great imagination. Getting into a Jeep Cherokee in Canada’s great outdoors, and heading out in the morning to wonderful adventure can be a family experience like no other.
Sean Whistler is a family man who loves nothing more than getting his wife, kids and dogs out of the house and into adventure mode! He blogs about his travels and family life, his articles appearing on a mix of parenting and travel websites.