Our pirate adventures continue at summer camp! The kiddos and I have had a blast so far, and I’m sure we’ll continue to do so. We delved into some PIRATE SCIENCE with Exploding Treasure Chests!! It was a great sensory experience as the solid, freezing cold chests turned to mush and exposed the treasures hidden within.
To make the treasure chests, I used the recipe from our Icy, Fizzing Letters experiment. Engineer and I have perfected the recipe — 3 parts baking soda, 1 part water, and Jell-O powder as desired. This ensures the solution freezes solid and comes out of the ice cube trays in the desired shape. Since I wanted “treasure chests”, I just used plain ol’ rectangular ice cube trays.
After I mixed up a batch of our icy and fizzing solution, I filled the ice cube trays halfway. Once that was done, I added little “treasures” to each cube — pennies, beads, and some googly eyes. Then I filled the ice cube trays the rest of the way and added some silver glitter (’cause everything’s better with glitter). Then into the freezer! I let the treasure chests freeze overnight, and they popped out of the trays easily the next morning.
When it was time for our pirate science fun, I placed some plastic tubs outside. I placed a few frozen treasure chests in each of the bins, then set out spoons and condiment bottles. Some vinegar went into the condiment bottles, and in a few segmented trays. This way, all of the kiddos could access the experiment. I told them it was their job, as pirates, to find the treasures hidden in the frozen chests. Then I let the children go at it!
The condiment bottles were squeezed, and the vinegar was spooned, onto the treasure chests. The kiddos LOVED when the treasure chests “exploded”, and some really got into squeezing the partially thawed cubes with their hands. There were a variety of exclamations throughout this whole process:
- “It’s exploding! They really DO explode!”
- “Hey, smell this, Miss Mary Catherine! It smells yummy! How’d you do that?!”
- “It’s so squishy now, but it’s still cooooold.”
- “Look! I found treasure! I found treasure!”
- “Okay, we need more treasure chests. Really, we need more!”
Most of the children were engaged the entire time we were outside. Honestly, they would have continued on for longer, but we had to get ready to go home! We rinsed the treasure off with some water, and the kids will take it home at the end of the week. I was really happy with how this pirate-themed activity went! The children were having fun, they were engaged, they were being pirate scientists, and many of them asked to do it again.
For more FUN pirate ideas, please check out my “Ahoy, Matey!” Pinterest board. 🙂
Preschool Pirate Lesson Plans
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.