Thinking of taking your kids on an adventure? As we found out in a previous blog, metal detecting is a fantastic hobby that you can do with your little ones in tow. Not only does it get them out and about in the great outdoors, but it can be educational and lots of fun too. When it comes to actually setting out on your next treasure hunting adventure, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to make it as kid-friendly and enjoyable for them as possible. Read on for 5 key things to remember when metal detecting as a family.
1. Snacks, snacks and more snacks.
If we could just pick one piece of advice, it would be this - equip yourself with a healthy amount of food and drink for your day out. Metal detecting can be thirsty work, especially when you cover long distances. Chop up some fruit or vegetable sticks, stock up on the smoothies and sandwiches to keep energy levels high and whinging at bay.
2. Dress sensibly.
Make sure that both you and your kids are dressed for the occasion. Your little one may be itching to leave the house in their newest sparkly tutu or jelly sandals, but not all clothing is detecting-proof - particularly if you're tackling rougher terrain! Start by wearing breathable clothes and comfortable shoes - nothing stops the fun like ill-fitting or inappropriate shoes that turn into a big distraction. If it's a sunny day, keep hats and sun cream close by, and whether it's raining or not, it’s always a good idea to have wellies on hand in case your chosen location turns out to be a muddy one.
3. Revise the rules.
As with any serious hobby, metal detecting has a code of conduct that applies to your kids too. From respecting the Country Code to obtaining permission when entering land, as a part of their education on the hobby, make sure you establish the rules before you head out on your adventure. Having clear guidelines will help your kids to better understand the hobby and the code of conduct, and can help bring structure to your day. You may need to keep reminding them throughout the day, so make sure you bring plenty of patience with you too!
4. Choose a suitable location.
Starting out in your own back garden can be a great way to get your kids used to their detector, but when you feel like you’re ready to take their little minds out into the wider world, make sure you choose a safe and familiar location. Certain spots are likely to be better suited to family outings than others. As detecting often means you keep your eyes on the ground, it's important to pick a spot that you're comfortable letting your kids roam around without beady-eyed supervision. When detecting on the beach, be mindful of the changing tides and sunburn on hot days. Cliff tops or other hills may provide panoramic views, but if you end up spending more time panicking about your kids getting close to the edge, then stick to safer paths.
If your kids are new to metal detecting, you might want to think about seeding the area by throwing a few coins into the grass, giving them something to find. This way, you know that there are definite targets and your little ones can begin to get used to their detector, recognising different alerts for different types of buried treasure.
5. Consider your timings.
If your kids tend to let their attention wander after 20 minutes, then there are plenty of things you can do to keep them enjoying the task at hand. If you’re out with multiple children, set a timer to give everyone a fair go and make sure to switch jobs regularly. While one is using the detector, have another dig and let them take it in turns throughout the day. If you do reach the point where some of your kids are getting bored, you are going to want to have another adult with you who can take care of any stragglers, so make sure you are not alone if you’re heading out with a larger group of children.
So there you have it. Next time you head out on a hunt with your little adventurers, take a look over these tips and make sure that you have everything you need to give your kids an enjoyable time, making it a day to remember.