Lake and River Activities

Things Pan Out

See which things pan out in this lake and river activity.
See which things pan out in this lake and river activity.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

When curious kids examine a riverbed, they'll be fascinated to see how things pan out. This lake and river activity for kids will get young explorers panning for treasure, just like hundreds of thousands of Americans did during the gold rushes of the 19th Century.

­Hundreds of thousands of gold miners searched for their fortunes during the 1800s. Some of them went deep into caves to search for riches. Some panned for the gold they found. Your child can try their hand at gold panning too, using these easy tips.

What You'll Need:

  • Old pie pan
  • Cheesecloth
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Riverside

Gather an old pie or cake pan, a piece of fine cheesecloth, and a metal mesh strainer and head for the riverside.

First, show your little gold digger how to gather a scoop of riverbed dirt in a metal strainer. Then, help them rinse the finer dirt from the scoop using river water with the cake pan just beneath the strainer. The cake pan catches the finer dirt and metal that sifts through the strainer.

Help your child strain that finer material through cheesecloth, again using river water. Do they see any golden flakes? They might have struck gold, and even fool's gold is something special.

Untangle a watery mystery with the lake and river activity on the next page -- keep reading to get the scoop.

For more outdoor activities for kids: