In this quick and inexpensive tutorial, we are going to show you how to make a Treasure Mini Dig Kit. These excavations are super easy to make and are a great teaching resource to include in your next lesson or discussion about pirates, treasure, gold, and more.


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Plaster of Paris


Mixing Bowl

Wooden spoon

Measuring cups

Popsicle sticks – Popsicle sticks are inexpensive, readily available, and make great excavation tools.

Safety goggles or glasses – You we need to provide or borrow a set for each student.

Optional – Brushes and magnifying glasses.

Treasure - You can use many different things to act as the treasure. You can use coins, old costume jewelry, imitation gems, fool's gold, and you can even use gold spray paint to paint rocks and washers to turn them into gold nuggets or coins. 

Any small container that will fit your treasure and allow room for the plaster mixture will work. I love rummaging through recycle bins for fun and unique containers I can use for excavations. For this tutorial I will actually use a little wooden treasure chest I purchased from a craft store. I think I paid around a dollar. The wooden chest is super cute and even has little metal hinges and a latch. 


Check out hundreds of exciting and unique dig kits! Excavating Adventures has a kit for everyone. Explore dig kits filled with rocks, minerals, fossils, gemstones, seashells, and more!




  1. Place the treasure in the treasure chest.
  2. Mix 1 cups sand with 1/3 cup Plaster of Paris.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake batter consistency.
  4. Pour the mixture over the treasure.
  5. Optional - Sprinkle a little glitter over the surface of the excavation to give it a little extra sparkle. 
  6. Place the Treasure Mini Dig Kit in front of a fan overnight until it is completely dry. 
  7. Distribute the excavation, excavation tools, and safety goggles to your Excavating Adventurer and have fun watching them dig in and discover the awesome treasure you have hidden inside.
  8. The little wooden chest can be decorated and used to store the treasure. 

Gems, Gold, and Pirate Treasures: Shimmering Discoveries and Hidden Riches!

Fun Facts about Gemstones and Gold in Pirate Treasure Chests:

  1. Gemstones come in a dazzling array of colors and varieties, including diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and amethysts, just to name a few.

  2. Pirates often sought after gemstones and gold to fill their treasure chests, as they were highly valuable and could be easily traded for goods or used to purchase pirate luxuries.

  3. Gold is a precious metal that has been cherished by humans for centuries. Its bright yellow color and rarity made it highly desirable to pirates and other treasure seekers.

  4. Gemstones and gold were often acquired by pirates through raids on ships, looting of towns, or uncovering buried treasures.

  5. Pirates believed that gemstones possessed magical powers and could bring good luck or protect them from harm during their dangerous voyages.

  6. The largest diamond ever discovered, called the Cullinan Diamond, weighed a staggering 3,106 carats! Imagine finding a gemstone like that in a pirate treasure chest.

  7. Pirates would often hide their treasure in secret locations, burying it on remote islands or hiding it in caves, making the search for pirate treasure an exciting adventure.

  8. The famous pirate Blackbeard, also known as Edward Teach, was known for his lavish lifestyle and love for gold and gemstones. He often adorned himself with jewels and gold chains.

  9. Gemstones can be found in various parts of the world, including mines in Africa, South America, Australia, and even in some regions of Europe.

  10. Pirates sometimes used gemstones as decorations for their clothing or to decorate their ships, adding a touch of sparkle and luxury to their pirate lifestyle.

  11. The allure of pirate treasure chests filled with gemstones and gold has captured the imagination of people for generations, inspiring stories and legends of hidden riches waiting to be discovered.

  12. Today, pirate treasure chests with gemstones and gold are often found in museums, displaying the fascinating history and allure of these precious treasures.

Remember, the stories of pirate treasure chests filled with gemstones and gold ignite our sense of adventure and fascination with the past, creating a world of imagination and hidden riches!


Gemstone Wonders: Sparkling Facts and Shimmering Delights!

Fun Facts about Gemstones:

  1. Gemstones are formed deep within the Earth, under intense heat and pressure, over millions of years.

  2. Gemstones come in a wide range of colors, including red, blue, green, yellow, purple, pink, and even colorless.

  3. Some of the most well-known gemstones are diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, amethysts, topazes, and garnets.

  4. Gemstones are valued based on their rarity, beauty, durability, and the demand for them.

  5. Diamonds are the hardest known natural substance on Earth, ranking at the top of the Mohs hardness scale.

  6. Rubies and sapphires are both varieties of the mineral corundum. Rubies are red, while sapphires come in various colors, with blue being the most well-known.

  7. Emeralds are a type of beryl gemstone known for their stunning green color.

  8. Amethysts are purple gemstones and are a type of quartz. They are often associated with calmness and clarity.

  9. Pearls, although not technically gemstones, are prized for their lustrous appearance and are formed inside certain types of mollusks.

  10. Gemstones are often used in jewelry, such as necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings, to add beauty and value.

  11. The value of a gemstone can be influenced by its color, clarity, cut, and carat weight, collectively known as the "four Cs."

  12. Gemstones have been treasured by humans for thousands of years and have been used as symbols of wealth, power, and beauty throughout history.

Remember, gemstones are nature's treasures, each with its own unique characteristics and allure, ready to dazzle our eyes and capture our imagination!


Take some time to explore the Excavating Adventures website. We have monthly excavations that get delivered right to your door, Build Your Own excavations, a blog filled with amazing excavation ideas, trivia, tons of free stuff, and much, much, more!



Question 1: Which gemstone is known for its stunning green color? A) Diamond B) Ruby C) Emerald D) Sapphire

Correct answer: C) Emerald

Question 2: Which gemstone is the hardest natural substance on Earth? A) Topaz B) Diamond C) Amethyst D) Garnet

Correct answer: B) Diamond

Question 3: Which gemstone is a variety of quartz and often associated with the color purple? A) Ruby B) Sapphire C) Amethyst D) Garnet

Correct answer: C) Amethyst