Go on an awesome quest to discover pirate treasure with this fun, easy, and quick excavation tutorial. Your excavating adventurer will have a blast digging into these fun little excavations and discovering the awesome treasures you hide inside. These pirate treasure digs look really cool and are great for classrooms, birthday parties, or just to have fun on a random weekend afternoon. 
"X" marks the spot with these pirate treasure digs that are always a hit!
Watch the super quick video tutorial or read on for more detailed instructions:
  • 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. 

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!
If you love excavating as much as we do, be sure to check out our Excavating Adventures monthly subscription by clicking the link below and get an awesome new excavation delivered each month loaded with rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and more!

Happy Excavating!





Digital Dig
Minerals have a crystalline structure.