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Tag: mining

Usually when we row a book, I already know all the local events to tie it all in, but this weekend, as the family was preparing to go out for lunch in Nederland, I realized this weekend was Nederland Miner’s Days! First we stopped at the Mining museum, we have never been there before.


Some old miner’s gear – lights, boots, goggles…


They also had all kinds of fun family activities, like panning for coins in sawdust, tug of war, and more, but it started raining right when we got to the event, so no luck.

We did check out a huge book sale in Ned, and got two huge boxes filled with books for just $10! Here is the contents of one box. We picked up some of both David and my favorite books, and we’ll be giving them away to friends. There were quite a few books there that I had in my Amazon cart, like Family Math, Secret Garden, Prodigal Summer and Follow the Drinking Gourd.


Once home, we pulled out these Lincoln Logs for the first time and the whole family enjoyed putting this together. They don’t make em like they used to though. This was a timely activity as we are reading about log homes in the Appalachian mountains with The Rag Coat and our long-standing read-aloud of the Little House in the Big Woods. Satori sat and played “Little House in the Big Woods” for a few hours afterwards!


As a fun activity to kick off our Five in a Row rowing of The Rag Coat, I decided to set Satori off in the coal mines and go mining for coal. First, I had to make some coal! This is a very easy recipe and you should have your coal in less than 90 minutes.

Lumps of Coal

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Black Paint and brush
  • Gold paint (if you want to add gold nuggets)


Mix ingredients and knead for two minutes. Mold into lumps of coal shapes. Place on foil covered sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for an hour or until hard. Wait until cool, then paint.

Lumps of coal

Lumps of coal

Then, for mom, the fun part begins! I planted the lumps of coal and gold nuggets in the basement, which has black rubbery floors, perfect for coal to blend in. Plus it was night-time. 🙂 I hid the black coals in easy to find spots. The gold nuggets were a bit more challenging. And I threw in some glow-in-the-dark “rare dinosaur eggs”.
Easy to find black coal, with a small light illuminating its hiding place…


Another easy to find on this big blue glob…


Hidden in an elliptical foot…


A glowing dino egg camouflaged on a glowing “rock”…


Finally it was time for Little Miss Coal Miner to arrive. As she descended down the “mine shaft”, she was presented with her mining headlamp, extra flashlight, and her coal basket. (If you have a helmet, that would make it even more authentic.)


It was dark, so we were lucky for our mining light equipment.


I told her that each find was worth a certain amount of points. Gold nuggets were 100 points, dinosaur eggs were 10 points each, and black coals were 1 point each. A black light helped illuminate the tiny dinosaur eggs, who were in higher places than the coal and nuggets.

(During this time, I had to turn on the outside light, as a bear was prowling around…)


The little Coal Miner found them all!


To throw in a math lesson, I had her lay them out using place value – golds were hundreds, eggs were tens, and coals were ones. And just like in our Math-U-See lessons, she had to write the place values and say the number – Three Hundred Forty Nine!