Kids need to be active in order to learn. Sometimes, letting your children run around until they tire themselves out is viewed as a reprieve for adults. Yet activity doesn’t just tire kids out and make it easier for adults to manage them, it helps kids process and learn by doing.

This is one of the main reasons we’re so proud of our gold prospecting museum and the gold panning trips we run. It’s one thing to learn about California’s long history of gold panning and prospecting from a text book. It’s something else completely to be able to touch the tools that were used and to learn and do the process yourself.

Don’t get us wrong – learning from books is more important than ever. Having a grasp of information and facts is crucial these days, when children are stepping into a future where they’ll bombarded with information and misinformation from all angles. Learning by doing can build on this and expand their knowledge.

Interacting with and learning something about the process of prospecting for gold complements the information they’ll learn in class. It helps that information stick better and it adds to that information.

That’s why field trips and group trips are crucial for children to develop more three-dimensional concepts of what they learn in class. Children can learning how to prospect for gold and try their own hand at panning for gold. They can touch the tools and equipment that were used a hundred fifty years ago. They can see the evolution of that equipment and how and why it advanced the way it did.

A lot of learning is watching our kids connect the dots themselves with the information they’ve already learned. That’s one of the best parts of teaching people to pan for gold in California, and of maintaining a gold prospecting museum that teaches us about our past.