When it comes to back to school, sometimes the focus might feel like it’s all on work and play gets lost in the mix. But there are fun ways to incorporate both! Our DIY Treasure Chest sensory bin is a great example!
We’ve partnered with Spin Master and Kinetic Sand to share this fun project that combines learning and fun together!
DIY TREASURE BOX SENSORY BIN
We’ve been fans of Kinetic Sand for years now. The kids love getting their hands in it and letting their creativity fly. I love the easy cleanup factor. Recently we put it to the test as we answered the question “What is Kinetic Sand?” and then had a Kinetic Sand throwdown!
Kinetic Sand is the sensory sand we’ll be using in our house! It’s the perfect sand for our treasure hunt themed sensory box too! Read on to learn how you can turn an empty baby wipe container into a gorgeous plastic treasure chest and then use some of our treasure hunt ideas to make learning fun for your younger kids!
HOW TO MAKE A TREASURE CHEST
Making a DIY treasure chest is pretty easy and is a cute idea for birthday party favors if you’re having a pirate themed party!
But back to why we made our own DIY treasure box. I was inspired by the Kinetic Sand Beach Sand Kingdom playset to create our own beach themed sensory box. Kinetic Beach Sand is brand new and made with larger grains of natural sand and feels just like wet beach sand!
I also wanted to have a learning aspect to it since we all have school on our minds right now. A treasure hunt sensory box seemed like the perfect idea! Kinetic Sand is available in a variety of colors, but the three-pound bags of Kinetic Sand Beach Sand are perfect for this sensory project!
HOW TO MAKE A DIY TREASURE CHEST
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own DIY treasure box:
- Empty baby wipes container
- Gold spray paint
- Container with lid (that baby wipes container can also fit in)
- Kinetic Sand Beach Sand
- Craft jewels that are silver on the back
- Black permanent marker
- Magnetic numbers and letters, if desired
- Toy shovels and rakes, if desired
We use the craft jewels because I can write letters and numbers on the back of them using a permanent marker. You could use any kind of jewel toys and magnetic letters and numbers to create a similar type of treasure hunt sensory bin.
Here’s how to make a treasure chest in a few simple steps!
- Remove lid from baby wipes container.
- Spray both the bottom of the container and the lid with gold spray paint. Depending on your container, you may need to sand the exterior slightly before you paint.
- Let the baby wipes container dry completely.
- On the back of the craft jewels, use a permanent marker to write letters of the alphabet. We used uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Fill your larger container with Kinetic Sand Beach Sand.
- Hide the jewels and magnetic numbers in the sand.
- Let your kids hunt to find the treasures and put them in the treasure box!
Free play is still one of the things my kids love to do with Kinetic Sand so once we made this sensory bin, it hung around for a while. That’s why I recommend you get a container with a lid! However it never dries out, so you can build again and again.
The kids love that Kinetic Sand is squishy and soft but still super moldable. The sand holds it shape and it doesn’t dry out. So you won’t find yourself needing to buy more next week for the fun to continue on!
The beach sand feels similar to wet sand at the actual beach but it’s dry! You can build it and shape it or just watch it drip through your hands. I have to admit that even I like playing with the kids when they get out the Kinetic Sand!
It’s 98% sand and 2% magic , not to mention it is so much easier to clean up than the real thing!
TREASURE HUNT SENSORY BIN IDEAS
There are quite a few sensory bin ideas you can do with the treasure hunt idea. We turned this one into an easy way for younger kids to play while practicing letter and number identification.
We play with it a few different ways, including:
- Free play exploring the sand and the DIY treasure chest
- Letter identification:
- Have your child name the letters as they find them and put them in the treasure chest
- Have your child dig for a letter then find the matching uppercase or lowercase letter before putting them in the treasure box
- Have your child hunt for the letters in alphabetical order
- Number identification and counting:
- Have your child name the numbers as they find them and put them in the plastic treasure chest
- Have your child dig for the numbers in order to practice counting skills
Older kids can even play in this sensory bin with the numbers and letters too. It’s great for spelling practice and math practice. Use more jewels to make sure you have all the letters you need. Practice spelling words or just pulling a certain number of letters and trying to spell out words.
For math practice, use the numbers to create math problems. Have your child pull out two numbers and create a math equation. Once they solve it correctly, the numbers can be put in the treasure box!
MORE TREASURE HUNT IDEAS FOR KIDS
While we’ve mostly used our DIY treasure chest sensory bin for free play and educational treasure hunt ideas, there are tons of other ways you can use this same idea.
- Use the accessories from the Kinetic Sand Beach Kingdom Playset to build sand castles! This is fun to do, especially when we’re craving a trip to the beach!
- Add gold coins, jewels, plastic necklaces, and plastic rings to make it feel like a sensory bin full of real treasures.
- Use glass beads in different shades of blue and green to give the feeling of water at the shore.
- Create a “treasure map” that shows all of the items you’ve placed in the sensory bin so your kids actually have to go on a treasure hunt to find them all!
- Add a big wood or felt letter X to your sensory bin to really give it the feel of a treasure map!
When it comes to keeping the kids interested, having fun, and willing to clean up, there is definitely only one Kinetic Sand!
Kinetic Sand is available at Target so it’s convenient! Be sure to stock up on some today! It’s great to have all year round and it’s the perfect complement to our DIY treasure box project so we think it’s a must-have!