Kids and Metal Detecting: A Great Match!



I got a very sweet note from a guy named Daniel asking if he could write a piece for us about metal detecting. “As you can probably tell from my email address, I do help run, and the piece does include a link back to my site. But not to a product page or anything like that. I just like sharing relevant content that helps get others interested in my hobby,” he wrote. So I said I’d take a look. Having spent my whole childhood looking for 4-leaf clovers, and dedicated my tttdfbrsei
to the teacher who took her junior high students (including me) on two week-long archaeological digs, I find the whole idea of treasure hunting very appealing. And this guy, too!

The Benefits of Metal Detecting with Kids, by Daniel Bernzweig

Note: Daniel and his brother Michael are second generation owners of in Southborough, MA, and they’ve been metal detecting with their parents since they were kids themselves. Daniel has written on the subject of treasure hunting and metal detecting since the mid 1980s. He says he “enjoys traveling with his metal detector and helping to educate others in the correct use of metal detectors in their explorations.”

Metal detecting with children has a lot of benefits for them, as well as
for you!  First, metal detecting gets you up, outside, and moving around.
Plus, it’s full of surprises, and, they get to dig in the dirt to find
treasure; something any child will enjoy!

Not only that though, when you head out metal detecting with kids, it’s
quality time where you can enjoy nature and just talk both about metal
detecting and anything else that might come up.  Metal detecting can
easily become a common interest that spans generations too; a priceless
quality not found in every hobby.

How to Find the Best Metal Detector for a Child

Before you ever head out metal detecting you’ll need to select your
machine.  As you might imagine, there are definitely some special
considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re planning to use the
metal detector with a child.  Most importantly, be sure to get a quality
kids metal detector.  There are many metal detectors for kids that aren’t
much more than a toy.  With a quality children’s metal detector though you
and the children in your life will have a great time with this fun and
exciting hobby.  Specific features to look for on a kid’s metal detector
include an adjustable pole, a lightweight design, and few, if any manual
controls. Be sure to take your time and do your research when selecting
the best kids metal detector for your child.

Where to Go Metal Detecting with Kids

Depending on the child(ren) you’re metal detecting with and the situation
at hand, you may already have some specifics about where you’ll go
searching for treasures.  That said, there are some things to think about
when metal detecting with kids.  One thing to consider is whether or not
there are other activities available at the location in addition to metal
detecting.  Often it’s best to head to a spot, like the beach, lake, or
park where there’s something else the kids can enjoy too.  This way you
can all have fun metal detecting, swimming, picnicking, playing, etc.  The
reason I suggest this is that if the site you select isn’t treasure heavy,
which, let’s face it, does happen, the kids can take a break and do
something else (as opposed to getting bored!), then come back to metal
detecting.  Plus, beaches and other types of public recreation areas are
usually great areas to find treasures like coins, jewelry and other types
of valuables that may have been left behind by visitors anyway; so they
really make excellent places to take kids metal detecting.

If you have an older child, another option is to do some research together
about your area to find other good places to go as well.  For example,
search out information on the old school houses, farms, former home sites
and that type of thing.  Then, as long as you have permission, you can go
head out with your metal detectors and find treasures like older antiques,
coins, and relics.

As you can see, metal detecting and kids really do go hand in hand!  So go
ahead, get started and take the kid(s) in your life out metal detecting!
You’re all sure to enjoy this exciting outdoor activity together.

That sounds good to me. And if you find something really cool, send a photo. – L.


Look at this cool thing I discovered! It's called "being outside!"

Look at this cool thing I discovered! It’s called “being outside!”


20 Responses to Kids and Metal Detecting: A Great Match!

  1. Jens W. October 23, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    I guess if i did that in the local forests, i’d find lots of ammo – spent and live – from WW2.

    France has even more extreme cases from WW1, areas the size of Paris are closed to the public due to danger from live ammo and soil contamination from lead and other chemicals

    I’ve once visited one of those places (Douaumont)…it’s surreal, well worth it if you’re into history and if you’re travelling by car between Paris and Germany then it’s a detour of only 30 minutes.

  2. John October 23, 2015 at 11:18 am #


    “and, they get to dig in the dirt to find
    treasure; something any child will enjoy!”

    I have read somewhere where it is actually very healthy for kids to “dig in the dirt”. Kids playing outside and getting dirty actually boosts their immune system and impedes them from acquiring allergies. It seems as if so many young people nowadays in their 20s have allergies and I’m wondering if the root of that problem stems from them sitting inside in front of the computer playing video games for most of the day when they were kids. Although I myself am allergic to penicillin and I used to play outside all the time when I was a kid. But at least I don’t have to worry about the dreaded shot penicillin with the extra long needle if I get sick! 😉

  3. Shawn D. October 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    I have some friends who do metal detecting, and they’ve found some neat stuff! They detect around old houses, churches, factories, and businesses. Some interesting items include brothel tokens (yes, these were a thing), political campaign tokens, firearms, jewelry, tools, and car parts. Some items can teach you a lot about history, such as the use of swastikas as good luck charms on items in the days before the symbol was appropriated by the Nazis.

    IMPORTANT: you should get permission from property owners and to know if it’s legal to detect in certain public parks (for example, it’s illegal to detect in national battlefields).

  4. wahoofive October 23, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    When I read the headline of this piece, I assumed it was going to be about metal detectors at school entrances. What a relief that it wasn’t!

  5. Jeff Trexler October 23, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

    Wonderful suggestion! This was a tremendous way of fostering a sense of accomplishment – one of my most memorable finds was the wedding ring of a friend of my parents, which he had lost in field a few years earlier.

  6. Sarah October 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    What a great article, and particularly pertinent to me, as my 8 year old son is asking for a metal detector for Christmas. He can’t wait to go out and discover the next big find!

  7. Drew October 23, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    This is a very nice article but I cannot help but think of ways the predatory emotional basketcases trolling our neighborhoods will twist this in to somehow being a danger to kids or find it suspicious in some way and then dial 911 followed by patting themselves on the back for being “vigilant”.

  8. Jenny October 23, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    When metal detecting, please remember to be sure that you have permission to be there, and permission to collect what you find. Taking remains over 50 years old off of federal land (National Park, National Monument, National Wildlife Refuge, National Forest, BLM lands, etc) is a *crime,* and damages the cultural heritage and history that belongs to all Americans. There are usually state laws about collecting artifacts off of state owned lands as well. If you find a historic or prehistoric artifact on public lands, enjoy your discovery, take a picture, take a GPS point of the location if possible, and take that information (but not the artifacts!) to the landowner’s office. The archaeologist will be glad of the information and will be happy to talk to you about what you found.

  9. JKP October 23, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    A similar fun hobby is Geocaching. You can find coordinates on geocaching websites where people have hidden “treasure.” If the kids have a smartphone or can borrow one, you put in the coordinates and they have fun finding the hidden stash. My brother did this quite often with his kids, and they enjoyed it immensely. The websites usually give you an idea of where it is located and how hard it is to find, so you can pick options that are good fit for your kids’ abilities. Most of the geocaching locations my brother chose were in public parks and playgrounds, so it was easy and safe for the kids to treasure hunt. When you find the geocache, there is usually a logbook to write your name to record your accomplishment, and also always some kind of “treasure” usually most appropriate to children. The rule is that when you take the treasure from the cache, you leave another treasure behind for the next person. So the treasures were typically small mcdonald’s toys and matchbook cars, so it was a great way to recycle toys the kids didn’t want anymore in exchange for the new novelty of whatever trinket they found.

  10. Linda October 23, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    I was going to say what JKP said… Geocaching!

    What got me hooked… go to the website and enter your home or work address. See how many hidden treasures you’ve walked by every day without ever knowing it! They are virtually every where in the world, so they are also a fun way to discover unexpected destinations while traveling.

  11. Linda October 23, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    With regard to my previous post, the website I mention is

  12. George October 23, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    I thought that this was going to be about install metal detectors at schools and public places in order to check for weapons.

  13. serena October 23, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    Geocaching is also a great activity I’ve enjoyed with my kids and they even go out themselves to look for caches in our village.

  14. Rook October 23, 2015 at 11:24 pm #

    Metal detectors are also invaluable tools during archery lessons. Oh, the many memories of digging in the grass for my buried arrows…

  15. Lindsay October 24, 2015 at 1:23 am #

    We have a time capsule on a little island on the bay of Green Bay. Every year, we do a random trip with a metal detector and find it, throwing in whatever is in our pockets. Last year, my son (3 at the time) threw in his favorite truck. He was so excited to see it again this year, before reburying it! He goes with grandpa around our property, as well as the local beaches. He’s found a few very valuable rings, trucks, old nails, silverware from the 1800s, etc. An awesome multi-generational activity that even toddlers can participate in (have you ever seen an 18 month old dig up a hatchet blade? Priceless!).

  16. Barry Lederman October 24, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

    This sounds cool. Kind of like fishing but you get to stay on dry land. And you get to explore and be creative.

  17. MichaelF October 26, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    I think this store is next to the Scout Shop on route 9 in MA.

    Two great ways to get kids outside!

  18. Melissa October 26, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

    Count me in as a geocacher with kids! It’s a blast. We hike a lot (*I* hike a lot and drag the wee ones with me) and it gives my very busy 6 year old boy a task and a goal to achieve. Metal detecting sounds like fun – I wonder if you can rent the units anywhere?

  19. Daniel Bernzweig October 29, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    Wow! What great comments, ideas and helpful discussion. Lenore, your website is a real treasure in itself and I thank you for helping to spread the word on the benefits of metal detecting. As a 9 year old kid, my parents were floored when, with new detector in hand, I asked them to take me to the library for researching the older areas of town. This from a kid who never “stuck” with anything.

    To JKP: Geocaching and metal detectors do go together. Not everyone in the family may be interested when in search of a cache. Taking a detector along can provide excitement for those interested in another type of find or treasure. My brother Michael wrote an article last year on how to get started and what’s needed called “Learn the ins and outs of Geocaching with a Metal Detector”:

    Another popular article and one that I have recently seen educators using as part of their curriculum is “The History of the Metal Detector”:

    Questions? Take a moment to contact us. Everyone is here to help you!

    All the Best,

    – Daniel Bernzweig

  20. Jenn h November 2, 2015 at 4:57 am #

    Please no. As an archaeologist and a free range parent this is a terrible idea. Unless you are seeking at the beach you are destroying the historical record. What you find will probably have little monetary value, but to us archaeologists if we lose the context of the find we lose everything.

    Geocaching is a much better alternative. My kids learn orienteering which is a great way to learn map reading and independence. But I do wish metal detector usage was more limited by law and don’t think it should be encouraged for kids.