Outdoor Fun Activity: Sifting for Treasure

I love it when my kids play outdoors.  The problem is that there are 5 of them, and one is bound to come back inside at least every 15 minutes needing something.  This wouldn't be a problem if our front sliding door wasn't so heavy; it has me out of my seat at least every 5 minutes opening and shutting if for someone!

This summer, my goal was to come up with an activity that would keep the kids OUTSIDE and BUSY for at least a solid 30-40 minutes, so I could actually get some work done.

Here is our Treasure Hunt Activity -- it was such a success!

First, you will need the following items:

  • a sandbox (or a shallow wading pool) - We purchased this one 2 years ago and still love it!
  • 2+ bags of play sand
  • a dozen or more small trinkets, toys, or treasures to hide in the sand
  • shovel, pail, and sifter for the sand
We bought all but the play sand at our local Walmart (they ran out), and headed home to start our project!  First, we removed some of the sticks, rocks, and other strange things from the sandbox.

Then we filled it with the clean, new sand.

Next, we buried our treasures!  I chose a bag of little plastic Army guys, because the boys love them, and I thought that they could have a good time "rescuing soldiers."  If you have a little girl, you might try burying fake crystals and gems from the craft section of your local Walmart.  (Be sure that you do with this kids ages 3 and up or that won't put things that are small into their mouth. If you do have little guys at home, choose larger treasures.)

After we were done, we showed the kids how to scoop up the sand with their shovels and sift the sand to find the men.  They thought it was fun searching for treasures, and this activity lasted for almost an hour!  All of the boys participated!

What would you bury and have your kids find?  You could do so many things to make it interesting, including burying clues for a puzzle or pieces to a larger toy.  Anything that can withstand the gritty sand and moisture would be a great thing to try!