How to Make a Pirate Treasure Dig Kit


Set Sail on a DIY Adventure: Create Your Own Pirate Treasure Dig Kit 


Ahoy there, me hearties! Are ye ready for an adventure on the high seas? Look no further than this pirate treasure excavation tutorial! Join me on a quest to discover hidden riches buried deep beneath the sand. With this fun and easy DIY project, ye and yer crew can excavate like true pirates and uncover treasures fit for a king!

First, gather yer materials: sand, plaster of Paris, water, a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, measuring cups, gold-colored biodegradable glitter, a small wooden treasure chest (easy to find at craft stores or online), and some items to fill yer treasure chest. These can include plastic gold coins, replica gems, costume jewelry, faux pirate coins, foreign coins, and even plastic skulls - whatever ye think will make for a great pirate treasure.

To begin yer excavation, mix one cup of sand with one-third cup of plaster of Paris in yer mixing bowl. Add one-third cup of water and mix until ye reach a pancake-like batter consistency. Next, add yer treasure items to the treasure chest, and pour a layer of the mixture over the top to cover the loot. Tap the sides of the chest to remove any air bubbles, and add another layer of treasure if room permits. Finally, sprinkle the wet surface with gold glitter to give the pirate treasure dig a cool look.

Set the pirate treasure dig in a safe location to dry undisturbed overnight, and then ye can begin the real adventure! Bury the treasure chest and provide yer crew with a treasure map, or simply hand out excavation tools and safety goggles and let the digging commence! Wooden dowels and other blunt instruments work well for excavation, and be sure to have a small brush on hand for cleaning off any debris.

Once ye have unearthed yer treasures, take some time to admire yer bounty and even decorate the wooden treasure chest if ye like. And if yer crew has a taste for more adventure, check out Excavating Adventures monthly subscription and get a new excavation kit delivered each month, loaded with rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and more! With these pirate treasure digs, X marks the spot for endless fun and adventure!

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List of Materials

  • Sand
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Gold colored biodegradable glitter
  • Small wooden treasure chest - these are inexpensive and easy to find at craft stores or online
  • Optional - paints to decorate the treasure box
  • Items for your treasure - plastic gold coins, pennies and coins, replica gems, costume jewelry, faux pirate coins, foreign coins, or pretty much anything you think your child would consider pirate treasure and enjoy discovering. You could even add little plastic skulls!
  • Excavation tools. Wooden dowels and other blunt instruments work well. Sharp tools are unsafe and not necessary as the excavations are reasonably brittle and excavate easily. 
  • Safety goggles
  • Small brush


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  1. Put one cup of sand in your mixing bowl.
  2. Add one-third cup Plaster of Paris.
  3. Use the wooden spoon to mix the sand and Plaster of Paris.
  4. Add one-third cup of water and mix.
  5. Keep adding small amounts of water until you reach a pancake like batter consistency. 
  6. Add your treasure items to your treasure chest.
  7. Pour a layer of the mixture into the treasure chest to cover the pirate loot.
  8. Gently tap the sides of the chest to remove any air bubbles. This will also allow a little mixture under the treasure.
  9. If room permits, add another layer of treasure and cover with more mixture.
  10. Sprinkle the wet surface with the gold glitter to give the pirate treasure dig a cool look. You can also add a gem or coin to the surface to give a hint about the treasure inside. 
  11. Set the pirate treasure dig in a safe location to dry undisturbed overnight. I like to put the excavation in front of a fan.
  12. Optional - feel free to paint and decorate the wooden treasure chest. 


Now the pirate treasure dig is ready to be enjoyed. Find an area that is easy to clean up, distribute the safety goggles and excavation tools, and let the excavating begin. 


Pirate Themed Birthday Party Games and Activities


Here are some fun pirate-themed games that would be great for a pirate themed kids' birthday party:

  1. Pirate Treasure Dig - Make a pirate treasure dig kit for each guest. Just be sure to have enough tools and safety goggles for each participant. 
  2. Walk the Plank - Set up a narrow wooden plank (or a piece of wood) on two supports and have kids take turns walking across it. You can make it more challenging by having them carry objects, like a treasure chest or a toy sword, while they walk.
  3. Pirate Treasure Hunt - Hide small "treasures" (like plastic coins or beads) around the party area and give kids a map or clues to find them. You can also set up a larger treasure chest filled with prizes for the final "treasure" to be found.
  4. Pin the Patch on the Pirate - A pirate-themed version of the classic Pin the Tail on the Donkey game. Blindfold each child and have them try to place a pirate patch on a poster or picture of a pirate.
  5. Cannonball Toss - Set up a small bucket or container and have kids take turns tossing "cannonballs" (small foam balls or bean bags) into it from a set distance away.
  6. Shark Attack - Set up a designated area as a "safe zone" and have kids try to cross from one side to the other without getting "attacked" by a toy shark (a parent or party volunteer can control the shark). If a child is "attacked", they have to go back to the start and try again.
  7. Pirate Ship Races - Have kids split into teams and set up an obstacle course or relay race course (like crawling under a "net" or walking with a toy sword balanced on their head) that they have to complete while pretending to be on a pirate ship.
  8. Sword Fighting - Provide foam or inflatable toy swords and have kids pair off to "duel" each other in a designated area.

These are just a few ideas, but you can get creative and come up with other pirate-themed games that fit your party theme and space.


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Real Pirate Treasure

While the exact contents of a pirate's treasure chest may vary, here are some items that are often associated with pirate treasure:

  1. Gold coins
  2. Silver coins
  3. Precious gems, such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds
  4. Pearl necklaces and other jewelry
  5. Bars of gold or silver
  6. Ivory figurines or carvings
  7. Fine silks and fabrics
  8. Maps or charts leading to other treasures
  9. Rare and exotic spices
  10. Pieces of eight, a type of Spanish silver coin that was widely used in trade during the Golden Age of Piracy.

Of course, these are just a few examples of what might be found in a pirate's treasure trove. Pirates were known for taking whatever valuable items they could get their hands on, so their chests might contain all sorts of unique and unusual items!


Famous Pirates


Here are some famous (or should we say infamous) pirates from history:

  1. Blackbeard (Edward Teach) - Known for his fearsome appearance, Blackbeard terrorized ships in the Caribbean and off the coast of North America during the early 1700s.

  2. Anne Bonny - One of the few female pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy, Bonny was a fierce fighter who sailed with Calico Jack Rackham.

  3. Captain Kidd (William Kidd) - Originally commissioned by the British government to hunt pirates, Kidd turned to piracy himself and became one of the most notorious pirates of his time.

  4. Henry Morgan - A Welsh privateer who eventually turned to piracy, Morgan was known for his brutal raids on Spanish settlements in the Caribbean.

  5. Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart) - One of the most successful pirates of all time, Roberts captured hundreds of ships during his career and was known for his strict code of conduct.

  6. Mary Read - Another female pirate who sailed with Anne Bonny and Calico Jack Rackham, Read disguised herself as a man to join their crew.

  7. William Fly - A notorious pirate who operated off the coast of New England during the early 1700s, Fly was known for his brutality and was eventually hanged for his crimes.

  8. Jean Lafitte - A French pirate and privateer who operated in the Gulf of Mexico during the early 1800s, Lafitte became a folk hero in Louisiana and was eventually pardoned by President Andrew Jackson.

  9. Charles Vane - A pirate who sailed in the Caribbean during the early 1700s, Vane was known for his aggressive tactics and his clashes with other pirate captains.

  10. Samuel Bellamy (Black Sam) - A pirate who operated off the coast of New England and the Carolinas during the early 1700s, Bellamy captured more than 50 ships before his death in a shipwreck.

These are just a few examples of the many colorful characters who have made their mark on pirate history!


Where Did Pirates Operate?


Here are some places where pirates were known to operate throughout history:

Caribbean Sea - The Caribbean is perhaps the most famous region associated with piracy, as it was a major hub of trade and shipping during the Golden Age of Piracy (roughly 1650-1730).

Mediterranean Sea - Pirates have operated in the Mediterranean since ancient times, with some of the most infamous Mediterranean pirates including the Barbary corsairs of North Africa.

West Africa - The coast of West Africa was a major source of slaves and other valuable goods during the 16th and 17th centuries, and pirates often preyed on the ships that transported these goods.

Indian Ocean - The Indian Ocean was another major center of maritime trade, and pirates operated there from ancient times up through the present day.

East Asia - Pirates were also active in the waters off the coast of East Asia, with some of the most famous being the Japanese "wokou" pirates who raided the Chinese coast during the 16th century.

Atlantic Ocean - Pirates have been active in the Atlantic Ocean since the early days of European colonization, with some of the most notorious Atlantic pirates including Blackbeard and Captain Kidd.

Red Sea - The Red Sea has been a center of maritime trade since ancient times, and pirates have operated there for centuries.

Gulf of Guinea - The Gulf of Guinea off the coast of West Africa is known for its high levels of piracy, particularly in recent years.

These are just a few examples of the many places where pirates have operated throughout history.


In Conclusion


I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and enjoy making the pirate treasure dig. These excavations are very versatile and you can put pretty much whatever you want in them to simulate a pirate's treasure.
Pro tip: Bury the pirate treasure dig and provide your excavating adventurer with a treasure map!
Learn how to make a DIY gem mining kit at home with this easy tutorial. This fun and educational activity is a great substitute for real gem mining, allowing children and students to dig and discover amazing gemstones hidden inside a plaster and sand mix.
You can make your excavation block with your choice of gemstones and fillers, making it much cheaper than store-bought kits. The post also includes tips on how to use the excavation kit, as well as some creative ideas to try with your dig kits. So grab your safety goggles, spray bottle, and excavation tools, and let the mining adventure begin!



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With 120 different specimens and trading cards to collect, every month brings a new opportunity for discovery and excitement - so join Excavating Adventures today and let the adventure begin! 


Digital Dig
Minerals have a crystalline structure.