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Monday Mix-ins: The California Gold Rush

March 13th, 2017

Abandoned Gold Rush Building, Bodie, California
{photo by Terry Feuerborn via Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0}

Gold fever! With all the westward expansion happening in the 1800s, nothing lured people west more than when gold was discovered in California in 1849. With the hopes of striking it rich, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to California, creating the historical phenomenon that came to be known as The Gold Rush. 

Let’s explore more about this time in history with this week’s mix-ins. This is just the beginning of what can be found online on this topic, but enjoy these with your kiddos (with a little parental previewing or supervision, as always):


California Gold Rush of 1849 – Here’s a quick video about the Gold Rush, aimed at kids:


The California Gold Rush cartoon – Similar to the one above, this is a short overview of the Gold Rush, for kids:


America the Story of Us: Gold Rush – Here’s a clip from this series, about how the Gold Rush led to the creation of California:


The Real History of The Gold Rush – This thorough documentary, made by PBS, is almost 2 hours long, filled with information about and stories form the Gold Rush:


Gold Rush-Gold Towns – This interesting documentary explores the glory days of the western Gold Rush and the towns that sprang up because of it:


Panning for Gold – Treasure hunter Roy Roush teaches the proper way to pan for gold. It’s a little dated, but interesting:


Gold Rush: The Discovery of America – This documentary series explores the stories of struggle and triumph of the thousands who risked everything for the pursuit of wealth and the illusive American Dream during the California Gold Rush. Available to stream for free with Amazon Prime.

And here are two videos from Travel for Kids, showing scenes from living history days where kids can step into a 19th century mining town or camp. (This YouTube channel is great – watch short videos from places all over the world!) 



The Gold Rush – This is the website that goes along with the PBS documentary and includes a “Strike it Rich” game, a treasure map with the major strikes in the Gold Rush, and stories from Native Americans during this time.

Gold Rush Game – This is kind of a “choose your own adventure” activity.

Gold Rush – Created by the Sacramento Bee, here’s a website filled with resources all about the Gold Rush.

Songs born from the Gold Rush

Printable Gold Rush Word Search

Printable Gold Rush Coloring Page

Photographs from the Gold Rush

9 Family-Friendly Gold Rush Adventures – Take a family field trip! Or plan one for this summer using these suggestions. And here’s another site with a few more trip ideas, in the Sacramento area: Five Historic Sierra Gold Mines Worth a Visit.

California Mining Towns – Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of towns associated with the Gold Rush, with information on each town and a map. If you happen to be planning a trip, see if one is nearby and check it out!

“A mine is a hole in the ground, owned by a liar.”

~Mark Twain


SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above mentioned websites, businesses, organizations, or individuals.