Saudi Arabia: الكثبان الرملية والذهب

The largest sand desert in the world is in the south-central Arabian peninsula and is known as the Empty Quarter or the Ar Rub’ al Khali. Due to the massive amounts of sand, the area is filled with dunes. Dunes are formed by wind pushing the sand into mountains and it is really impressive.

Sand Dune Science Experiment

You will need…

  • sand
  • a straw
  • small tupperware

Place some sand into the small Tupperware and give your scientist the straw, they will be the wind. Have them experiment with different types of blows, fast vs slow, strong vs weak. Then give them the challenge of creating their own sand dunes using slow controlled air, they can build up the sand into dunes within the Tupperware.

Gold Mining Activity

Saudi Arabia has been gold mining for over 5,000 years and there is a mine known as the Cradle of Gold or Mahd Adh Dhahab which has produced over six million ounces of gold since ancient times. So we decided to mine for ‘gold’ ourselves.

You will need…

  • rocks
  • gold paint
  • shovel
  • an area to dig
  • Optional: disposable pie plate, water, sand toys

Start by painting the rocks gold- feel free to add some glitter 🙂 allow them to fully dry.

Next bury the rocks in the dirt in an area that they can explore- I have a flowerbed that I have given over to the kids and don’t ever worry about what they do to it.

Now talk with your miner about where gold comes from, how it is dug up from the ground and can be chiseled out of solid rock or small pieces can be found in the dirt. Hand them a shovel and let them go to town. You can poke holes in a pie plate that they can use for shifting the dirt or add water for panning. Encourage them to find all the painted rocks rebury and play again!

For more digging activities check out our trip to Mongolia or for more dirt fun check out Mauritania.

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