Pirate treasure in the sand

Until the summer holidays I’m covering  the leading of an under 5s group which meets once a week and has a strong faith base. As well as the usual activities there is a Bible story and craft at the end.

So I’m using it as an opportunity to try out new ideas; develop my thinking around under 5s spirituality a little; create a space which is good practice in terms of under 5s work; and devise a framework for this; and immerse my self in the world of under 5s! A lot has happened over the past few sessions so I’ll try and capture some of it here. Starting with sand!!


Sand is a tactile and kinaesthetic experience. Yet sand is so often just a simple sand pit and a few buckets and spades – the potential is there for so much more. With a few added play things it can become a wonderful setting for imaginative play. The list of things to add to a sand pit could include;

Buckets and spades (of course!); Shells and pebbles; Bricks; artificial flowers; small world people; cars; toy animals; sieves and colanders; the list is endless.

But for today we were treasure seekers hunting for treasure in the sand. I dragged out the sand tray and filled it with pirate treasure, toy jewellery and a few treasure chests. Around the side were spoons and shovels to encourage exploring!


It was a huge hit – the delight on the children’s faces as they found treasure – and then their excitement as they hid the treasure for someone else to find. They extended their play further by taking the treasure and hiding it in one of the pirate ships they were playing with. Some pirates were soon adorned in pirate jewels! And of course when we started talking about a man hunting for treasure they got it – simply because they had been doing the same thing.


Next week’s story is the wise and foolish builder so more sand play is coming!

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