Metal detecting with kids – The perfect family activity

  • Time to read: 4 min.

Metal detecting isn’t just for seasoned hobbyists! With its blend of history, exploration and instant treasure gratification, it’s a fantastic activity for the whole family, especially engaging for inquisitive youngsters.

In the UK, metal detecting with kids opens a unique door to learning about your local history while creating lasting memories together.

Whether you’re seasoned detectorists or complete beginners, this guide will equip you with everything you need to turn treasure hunting into a fun and educational family adventure.

You can read my more in depth beginners article on how to start metal detecting here.

Gearing Up for Family Fun – Choosing the Right Tools

Before embarking on your metal detecting journey, ensure you have the proper equipment:

Detector Selection:

Start with simple, child-friendly models: Lightweight, waterproof detectors with visual and audio cues are ideal for young explorers. Popular options include the Minelab Go-Find series, Nokta Makro Mini Hoard, and Quest X5.

You can read my fuller article on choosing the best entry level metal detector here.

Invest in pinpointers: These handheld devices pinpoint buried finds precisely, saving time and frustration. Sometimes after digging a target, it can be still hard to locate exactly.

A pinpointer can massively help to find those small, precious targets. You can read my article all about pinpointers and what they are here.

Protect those ears: Invest in headphones for both adults and children for comfortable and focused treasure hunting. Some detector bundles come with headphones so look for those.

Essential Accessories:

Digging tools: Opt for a small trowel for delicate excavation, ensuring minimal ground disturbance. These are small handheld diggers for careful teasing out of potentially important targets.

I have a further article on choosing the correct small digging tools here.

Also try to opt for a dedicated metal detecting shovel rather than something foldable and cheap. You can read my more in depth article on choosing the correct spade or shovel here.

Safety gear: A small belt pack or backpack is essential when out on a trip. Pack sunscreen in the summer months, water bottles, insect repellent and appropriate clothing for the terrain. Gloves are also a great investment to avoid anything nasty in the ground.

Finds pouch: A small finds pouch to store their exciting discoveries is good and is also essential for any rubbish that is found. Disposing of trash responsibly is vital for the environment and saves you digging it up again!

You can read more about finds pouches and belt packs here.

Permission is Key – Responsible Detecting with Kids

Remember, responsible metal detecting always starts with permission. Always obtain permission from landowners before searching private property.

In public areas, consult local bylaws and ensure metal detecting is permitted. Respect designated no-go zones like archaeological sites and protected areas.

I have a great article on metal detecting rules and code of practice here.

Where to Explore – Unearthing Adventure in the UK

Beaches: Sandy beaches offer exciting finds like coins, lost jewelry and sometimes historical artifacts. Remember to check tide times and regulations.

I have a great article on beach detecting which you can read here.

Fields and Farmland: With landowner permission, fields can yield fascinating relics from past settlements or farming activities. Remember that permission is paramount.

I have an article that can help with how to gain permissions from farmers.

Parks and Woodlands: Public parks with historical significance might hold hidden remnants of the past, but always adhere to park regulations.

Historical Sites: Certain historical sites allow responsible metal detecting under specific guidelines. Research and apply for permits well in advance.

Making the Most of Your Treasure Hunt – Fun Tips for Kids

Set Expectations: Explain that not every beep leads to gold bars but the journey itself is valuable. Highlight the historical significance of finds.

Keep it Playful: Plan short excursions, incorporate games and involve kids in research and identification of their finds.

Treasure the Learning: Use finds as springboards for historical discussions, museum visits or crafting activities based on their discoveries. Learn about Kings and Queens!

Celebrate the Journey: Share stories, document finds and create a family treasure chest for keepsakes.

Beyond the Beep – Responsible Reporting and Research

Reporting Important Finds: Always report significant historical artifacts like weapons, gold objects or suspected archaeological finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS).

I have a great article on what to do if you think you have found something important here.

Research, Research, Research: Encourage children to research their land and finds online or with reference books, fostering curiosity and historical understanding.

I have an article that helps you research with some great resources you can use here.

Join the Community: Consider joining local metal detecting clubs for support, guidance and shared experiences. Check out my article on metal detecting clubs here.

Conclusion – Building Lasting Memories Through Metal Detecting

Metal detecting with kids in the UK offers a unique opportunity to bond, learn and explore. By choosing the right gear, obtaining permission and focusing on fun and education, you can create lasting memories and spark a lifelong passion for history in your children.

Remember, responsible detecting ensures future generations can continue this exciting hobby and unveil the hidden stories beneath our feet.

So, grab your detectors, pack your sense of adventure and embark on a family treasure hunt that combines fun, learning, and responsible exploration!