There’s gold in them thar hills

Or that was the theory……

This is loosely inspired by Nine for California, I say loosely because when I was finding out about the book it said takes place during the time of the gold rush in 1849, and so I was all excited.  And then, it’s actually about the family coming to join their Dad who has been working for a year in the California gold rush.  It’s an awesome book, don’t get me wrong, just not what I was thinking.

Summary: Ma and her 5 kids are travelling to California by stagecoach with 3 other people (hence 9 for California) and it’s all about how she entertains her kids as they travel to California with things out of her bag.

Materials needed: rocks from your back yard, and gold paint (I had gold paint leftover from my wedding when I gilded the edges of some of the books we were displaying), paper plates to paint it all on



First, wash your rocks.  This is essential if you want the paint to stick.  Besides it gives them practice at washing something they can’t really break or hurt.  And you get to play in water, what kid doesn’t love to play  in water.  Mine certainly do.





Now let them paint, and then paint some more.



  Anyone else’s kids crouch like that?  Or is it just mine?  I swear my kids don’t sit half the time unless I tell them to.

Then the rocks sat in our house for a few days or week or so because we kept having weather that wouldn’t work for our gold hunt in the backyard, or the weather was good and we were busy with something else.  Finally I sent them outside after randomly hiding the gold, and they’d found most of them before I found my camera.  So imagine 2 boys happily running around as their sister sits and pouts because I didn’t do what she wants.

And go enter my brand new CSN  giveaway while you’re here.

And for more great book inspired art and activities, I admit this isn’t so much art, head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures, where you’re sure to see lots of super cute ideas!

13 thoughts on “There’s gold in them thar hills

  1. We're hoping to get the kids out for some gold panning at one of the ghost towns this summer (if I can overcome my concern over rattle snakes), but they would probably love making, and hunting their own gold, too.

    I'll get around to the giveaway soon – I started to read the instructions, and got dizzy. I'll to back to it later today, when I'm more awake 🙂

  2. Gold hunt looks like fun! Last year we painted some rocks for mosaic art, but Anna just wanted them to be food for her kitty. I am so looking forward to the water play, but I like to do it outside. Hopefully warm weather arrives soon – it's been rather a chilly spring so far.

  3. Oh, we read a book this week called “the Elephant Quilt: Stitch by Stitch to California” by Susan Lowell. (We have been studying the letter “q”.) I think this book would be a great addition to your study!

  4. We haven't read that book, just I just wrote something similar to this in my idea book for posts yesterday. So when I do the post, I will have to make sure I link back to you. 🙂

  5. Oh wow a gold hunt sounds like so much fun, plus Emily would love cleaning and painting the rocks too. What a great project.

    Thank you for linking up to stART :0)

  6. I decided that I'm going to make a section in my binder of great ideas and this is going in it! Fabulous! My girls would LOVE this and I wish I had thought of it when we did MFW Adventures. This may be a fun summer activity we can do as we brush up on our states. Thanks for sharing it!

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