Tips for Metal Detecting Tot Lots

Tot Lot Metal Detecting Tips

Tot lots, for those that don’t know the nickname for park play areas, are a quick and easy place to metal detect. Ideally, hitting them when no one is there is the best, which is early morning or at dusk. They can be lucrative for clad costume jewelry as well; from time to time you can find gold, silver, and other cool items. Make sure the local bylaws allow detecting in tot lots before you start. Below are tips for detecting tot lots.

  • Grid the tot lot. Try to leave a tot lot cleaned out by gridding it and hitting every section.
  • Use the smallest coil. With a smaller coil, you can get closer to the metal structures and the cement with rebar. 
  • Go slow and listen to faint signals. Gold could be there. Remember, kids raid moms’ and grandparents’ jewelry and wear it to the park feeling special, and then lose it in the process of playing. Moms helping toddlers have jewelry grabbed and broken off by toddlers’ hands, or it simply falls off with weight loss, application of sunscreen, antibacterial gels/sprays, or moisturizer.
  • Remember, if you want gold, you must dig trash, foil, pull tabs, and nickel signals.
  • Don’t bother digging through the liner, which you will find beneath the sand or wood chips. It is mostly can slaw and trash left by the installers.
  • For tot lots that the ground coverings are rubber chips made from older tires, they are hard to detect because of metal beads from the tires causing false signals.
  • If the grass is growing in the woodchips, it is an indication that not enough kids play in the area, or not enough adults roam, and items are not dropped. If time is limited, you can avoid detecting these areas.
  • If your area has a lot of detectorists, consider leaving a marked penny, maybe painted a color, at the bottom of the slide. This way, you can see if someone has worked the tot lot since the last time you detected it.

Most lucrative areas to metal detect at a tot lot:

  • Where the slide ends.
  • Under monkey bars or anywhere children hang upside down or climb.
  • Rocks kids climb and or jump off.
  • Under the swings, especially the baby swings as well six feet on either side of the swings or anywhere kids land when they jump off swings or structures. 
  • Anywhere parents sit or put their bags down while their kids play.
  • The area where kids and adults put their bikes when they visit the tot lot.
  • Near the equipment poles. To do this, lower your sensitivity and use a small coil.
  • Areas leading to drains.

Happy metal detecting, and look forward to seeing your tot lot finds. Below are some of my recent (last three weeks) interesting tot lot finds and where I found them.

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