Buried Treasure

Sophie loves to play with a pirate ship and some toy pirates at her Grandma’s house so I wanted to do some pirate-themed activities with her. After making a treasure chest and doing a treasure hunt in her playroom, I decided to set up a buried treasure activity in the tuff spot.

I hid some ‘treasure’ in a bucket of sand and used a wooden box as a treasure box. The treasures included some wooden circles that I had painted gold so they looked like coins, some buttons and some magnetic shapes from a fishing game. I put out some tools for her to dig with, a sieve and a magnet.

Not everything could be picked up using the magnet but Sophie was pretty pleased with herself when she did manage to pick something up.

She liked pushing the shapes back into the sand after she had discovered them.


I tried to show her how to use the sieve to find hidden treasure but she was more interested in using it to pour sand onto the tuff spot…


When she discovered the gold coins, we did our best pirate voices and said ‘Aaarrr! Treasure!’ and put it into the treasure box.



To extend the activity and to keep her interested for longer, I added some cups and bowls. She loves to fill containers and then empty them and she spent quite a while filling them with sand and pouring it out over and over again. She also tried to make a sandcastle a few times and tapped the bowl with her trowel. It didn’t work because the sand was dry and she kept saying ‘noooo’ every time she lifted the bowl up.


We did this activity inside because it had been raining and I wanted the sand to stay dry so we could sieve it. It didn’t make too much mess because I put the tub on the tuff spot and we used the sand that had spilt to do a mark making activity which kept her entertained for even longer!

This activity is good for:

  •  Mathematics – knowing that things exist even when out of sight
  • Mathematics – beginning to organise and categorise objects e.g. objects that you can pick up with the magnets and ones you can’t, treasure/not treasure
  • Introducing counting – how many coins have you found?
  • Shape, Space and Measure – filling and emptying containers
  • Speaking – imitating words and sounds (talking like a pirate!)
  • The World – watching toys being hidden and trying to find them


2 thoughts on “Buried Treasure

  1. This is a lovely activity. Sophie suits the pirate hat! I love the idea of using magnets, I think this added dimension would keep my 3 year old interested as well as my littlest one.
    Thanks for sharing!


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