Central Montana Prospectors
Central Montana Prospectors

Dig With a Kid

     No matter where you want to explore the wild Montana outdoors, take a kid along to dig for gold, crystals, or garnets and you will have a happy time for all. Kids naturally take to rock or gold hounding like ducks to water. They exhibit great "dig in skills" and get to getting like an equal. It certainly is an antidote for the computer game attachment.

     Boy Scout troops have their leaders bring buckets of rocks containing opals to a meeting, the kids get to examine the earthly treasure to find how the underworld formed the gems of life. It happened right here in Great Falls and can happen for you anywhere you through a dart at on a map of Montana. Just do it! Then set out with a bucket and a shovel with a kid or more and then chart the dialogue on the way out, there and back. You will find lots of gems in living with this recreational sport gone family viral as it will certainly be put in your family logbook as a memory to cherish.

     Looking for gold or rocks with a kid is a win win situation. All is well in this realm. 

Ellie Sells Her Rock Products

      Seven year old, Ellie Fudge, had rock items for sale at the Urban Art Project reception in Great Falls because she loves rocks so much she made a window with a rock guy in it, with rock kids as well. 

     She sold rock cards with a photo of her rock man that said, "Rock On! and she had two babies that had mini crystals on it that said, "Crystals Have Babies Too!" She has more rocks to sell and will be developing a whole line of rock products to sell at the Great Falls Farmer's Market someday. She's a girl who loves her rocks.

Phillipsburg Family Prospecting Fun

      If you want to get your dirt on, ask your parents to head out to Phillipsburg some weekend so you can dig some gravel, put it in a bucket, and break it down into sections to wash. Just learning how to pop up and down and shake from side to side, the screen that when flipped will give you some broken glass pieces of the earth.

      Sapphires can be yours with a visit to a shop or a mountain mine, providing you watch the hours, and find gemstones of the Montana kind.

      But of course, you might need to have them cut into beauties for jewelry or resale, but the precious possessions from your very own digging and shaking can be gifts for Christmas or graduations.  Sapphires go into crowns in England, in B52 bombers in war for flight maneuvering, and they have a cash value to improve your lot. You can find lots in these places.

Can Dogs Rock Hound?

      Odin, the mountain loving dog, puts on a giant smile when he gets near a creek and there are rocks around. He loves the opportunity to dig in the dirt alongside his dad so he can play fetch or play with his rocks.

      Even though they don't know how to sell their finds, while there is opportunity to toss, dig, or search some fit in the mouth while others are so small they get lost in the pile while searching for the finds.

      There is just something about rocks in the ground that brings out the delight for dogs to enjoy the rock hounding adventure all over Montana. Odin is sold on rock hounding and gets exhausted while out and about, but rests up for the next opportunity.

Smart Planning

     Local organizer Ember Briles, a teacher at Lady of Lourdes School in Great Falls, Montana, is in charge of enrichment day, a day all regular classes are suspended and the kids can select classes of interest such as cooking, painting, golf, emergency crew training, and in this case, "The Art of Prospecting."

     For four classes kids from 1-8 got to hear about dirty stuff like rocks, digging them up, and sifting through some in order to find precious gems. They even made faux prospecting kits to share with family and friends to take home. The favorite part: shaking Blaze N' Gems gravel in a bucket in order to find those sapphires. This is a part of outreach programs to help educate kids as to recreational prospecting activities that abound in Montana.

      The sweetest parting sight was a boy waiting for his mom with a big smile on his face with a pile of make and takes and rock gifts in his lap because he had been exposed to a topic of interest to him in school that day. Prospecting itch comes to all ages, and just needs to be scratched. We have history in Montana, that's in part why we live here. School teaches, and so do prospectors. 

Rock Giant Coming to Life

     Ellie Fudge is a seven-year-old artist in Great Falls, Montana. One day say said she wanted to do an Urban Art Project window in the parking garage in downtown. She whipped out an idea and with a 3D sculpture class at the Creative Center of 4 West, her vision began to take shape.

     Fodder for the giant rock guy was a discarded hot tub lid and some spray foam. Luckily there was some wood and rocks nearby in Alma Winberry's studio that could be embedded in the face as the foam dried. Then acrylic paint was applied and some skewers helped connect the body parts together for the future display in the springtime in downtown installation windows.

      When a young girl is full of inventive and creative ideas, one cannot stop at just the say so, the manufacturing of these ideas means that many steps are taken to get them off the ground. 

    But the love of rocks are what inspires a young girl to make art and show how rocks can live on in the imagination as well in real life. Come May in Great Falls the rock giant made out of foam and his youngin' by his side in the forest house will be shining for all to see. 


Life of a Rock

      In Great Falls, Montana there is a downtown parking garage that has windows the citizens get to create installations in for the public. It has been in operation for years and many creations have been made and displayed.

      Recently a seven year old girl said she wanted to do a window too. The arrangements were made and she decided on a topic. The girl, Ellie, said, "I want to do one on the "Life of a Rock!!" I am so in.

     But what this entails for getting it done is the process of construction of fake rocks and stacking them for making people out of rocks. Rocks are great for art too. Come springtime in Great Falls, you will see the art of kids who like rocks in downtown Great Falls.

Grow Your Own Crystals

      When you shop at a museum store, some business directors like to keep on hand items that attract kids because they shop with their parents. The question often is asked, "Can I buy something?"

      Certainly a Space Age Crystal Growing Kit would be top on the list as it was mine. Just had to get one so I could grow some with our student in the Autistic School in town. We will pull this out and get to getting on his science book as this is perfect for recording into it. He likes science.

       We will keep you posted as to what really happens when we actually do it as it is differnet than what the packet says often. But I am sure you can find more on the internet to order.

What Makes Rocks Glitter?

      When people want to categorize their rock finds, one bin that might be labeled is: Shiny Rocks or Glittery Ones. They are separate from your geodes, agates or fossils because of what they show.

       Just what makes a hard thing like a rock glitter? It's mica. It is a very thin stone that causes the light to reflect and make you feel like a raccoon and you just "Gotta Have It!"  Mica makes rocks shine in the daylight and you might just have to ask, "What's all that shiny stuff?" Know that it is mainly mica, made by our beautiful earth. 

River Rocks For You to Chew, Make and Eat: YUM!!!

     Do you like chocolate? Lots of kids do along with adults. 

     Recently picked up some River Rock candy in Glacier National Park on a vacation there. I wondered how to make them myself in my own kitchen, so I looked on the internet for a recipe. There are all kinds of ideas of how to make them. There were so many it over stimulated me. I began to design all kinds of ways to make them in my head. 

      Certainly starting with raisins and dipping them into chocolate would work, but the color is a challenge. Some recipes were tried and true so some kitchen experimenting will ensue so we can make such things to sell to unsuspecting rock hounds. 

     In our August newsletter we will be featuring a recipe that will suffice for these clever dandies, so keep posted on our newsletter button to get the latest. In the meantime get in the kitchen and experiment!!

Making Your Own Dinosaur Means Many Decisions To Create a New One: what kind of tail, legs or head do you want. See what these kids chose to do

Another Perfect Booklet About Geodes: GeoCentral has all kinds of wonderful stuff 

     If you want to know the facts and figures in regards to geodes, this is the perfect little booklet to be found at most rock shops or museums that sell rock supplies. Sometimes simplicity in the facts is a welcomed presentation format. This company has just the stuff. 

     Hopefully we will be able to have a slide show of just what might peak your interest in regards to these unique pieces of earth. Our rock table at the market would feature "Whack a Geode." Many adults enjoyed the opportunity for the thrill of seeing what they could find inside. Geodes, they are just the best!!

Fun Rocks For Kids From Butte, Montana Tour Found at the Gem and Mineral Show and the World Mining Museum

Kid Rock Kits Abound

     Round rocks called geodes are fun to break apart to see what's inside. You can get kits or single geodes so you can use a hammer and break them wide open. You never know what you will find.



Doing Projects

     Finding rock project that you can DO something with is always a plus. Growing your own crystals is especially fun to watch and see what you can create. These kits work well.



Popcorn Rocks

     Never heard of these kind of rocks, but apparently you can add some chemicals and the process of making "popcorn" happens with the growth process. Gotta try and see what I can get.



Butte Rock On Cards

     Since Butte, Montana is so rich in minerals, just to have a sample of what you might find there and have them labeled, one would be delighted.  This type of souvenir has been around for years, and the allure still stays.




Iridescent Rocks

      Some rocks just have the ability to shine out their color under black light; it's amazing. 

     Some people can shine a flashlight on some rocks and you can see through them or into them. It's like magic. 


Check out this booklet to learn about rocks! Just Flip Each Page.

Digging Into Rocks

A Perfect Book About The Need For Rocks

Check Out The Author's Ten Rules For Finding Your Special Rock!

Scavenger Hunt From Garnet Ghost Town For Your Hunting Pleasure!

Enjoy a Historical Coloring Activity Bringing You Back in Time!

Print yourself a copy of a single page or the entire booklet to reminisce down a gold mining history lane. Thanks to the BLM for this document that you can get when you visit Garnet Ghost Town by doing the Kids Scavenger Hunt.


Garnet Coloring Book

The Crystal Castle at The Great Falls Public Library




           When art is combined with recreational prospecting, downright fun can be had by all. That’s what happened when cottonwood bark was laid out on an old church table in an art studio in the Creative Center of 4 West in April and the thought occurred that, “The crystals and rocks I collected all last summer from traipsing around Montana would look good on the tops of this “Crystal Castle.”

            With experimentation a lit, multi-dimensional 9ft art piece was created and developed. It was transported to my home and many days, objects, ideas and hours went into the final one on display at the Great Falls Public Library.

The beginning:

            When the topic of the installation into the library was brought up with Librarian, Eva McDunn, she mentioned that Rae McFadden, the new Kids’ Librarian would be a good one to discuss the topic of an interactive art piece with. Got a call right away and many steps to motivating young readers with the Crystal Castle began.

            Through dialogue, planning, and construction handouts, game boards and game pieces were manufactured and prepared for the Kickoff for the Crystal Castle. The event took place on Friday, June 16, to a group of eager families who wanted to know how the Summer Reading Incentive worked so the earning of dragon eyes, fanciful feathers, gold coins, raindrops and more could be earned while having fun reading.


Part of the implications to earn the game pieces are the geological, recreational prospecting and literary fancifulness questions for the young reader to learn the intricacies of finding Montana gemstones and minerals in a treasure hunting format.

            Families were also given opportunity to earn fossils, faux stones, and shells in the Cordingly Room of the library just as if they were in the field. Large bowls of agates and rocks of interests were there for the touch and feel of Montana treasure. Identification of rocks and sapphire panning were a part of the varied steps in treasure hunting in Montana. Lots of fun was had by all with many compliments of opened interest in Montana prospecting were given. Fun stuff.


            The opportunity to earn game pieces goes on all summer at the Great Falls Public Library with the Crystal Castle because of the love of crystals, the inventiveness of Alma Winberry, and the willingness of Rae McFadden to engage youth in reading with unique opportunities at the library. Tons of prospecting questions are filling the airwaves for kids to play with and research just like the sprinkling of fairy dust in the library park on Friday afternoon, June 16th. Thoughts and experiences of prospecting knowledge will last all summer long and in the lives of youngin’s forever. 


crystal palace game card-revisions by RM (2)

crystal castle instructions-revised by RM (2)

clue cards-revised by RM (2)

game card with pieces

Youthful Interest

Check out this booklet to learn about fossils! Just Flip Each Page.

Dig Into Fossils

Enticing Kids

    Even though kids are drawn to prospecting like ducks to water there are things adults can do to enrich their lives in relationship to rocks.


     This clever little video makes it look easy to create soap rocks to use in the bathroom as a reminder of a connection with the Earth's gems in your prospecting outings.


     I bet if you made this soap with your kids you could probably come up with other great ideas along the same vein.


      Video tape your soap creations or other ideas and send them to us here so we can post them.  

     Thanks to Paxton Tutor for the video; creative ideas are always welcome.


Youth Discover the Joys of Prospecting

     The joy of finding rocks and gems in the earth is evident in Hailey Rose's experience here in searching through our Kid's Kit salted with all kinds of treasures for the little discovering minds.

     These small sand pies are available at our Central Montana Prospectors Coalition booth on Saturdays and will be available soon our storefront for $3.00.

     Each kit contains a faux large gem, 3 small diamonds, silver and gold chunks, shells, and some random pretty rocks. They also contain a little "gem finder" and a mini bag to put your precious finds in to cherish.

     As we continue to build this site we hope to have more childrens' items as kids enjoy the many aspects of recreational prospecting as well.

    Central Montana Prospectors Coalition strives to offer fun opportunities for all members of families.

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© Central Montana Prospectors Coalition, Site Created & Written By Alma Winberry