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.
Full disclosure, there were no real explosions (although I’m sure you already knew that). Lots and lots of fizzing, of course. However, the kids insisted on naming this activity “Exploding Treasure Chests,” so I ran with it.
Related: Sunken Treasure Discovery Bottles
Fizzing Treasure Chests for Pirate Science Fun
To make the treasure chests, I used the recipe from our Icy, Fizzing Letters experiment.
Making the treasure chests
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.
Related: Children’s Books About Pirates
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.
How the kids played and explored
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.
Related: Frozen Fairy Tale Science
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!
Related: Gold Slime for Little Pirates
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.
Related: Foaming Name Science
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, the kids wanted our pirate science activity to go on for longer, but we had to get ready to go home!
Related: Pirate Sensory Activities
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.
Preschool Pirate Lesson Plans
Save time and get right to the pirate-y fun with done-for-you lesson plans from Preschool Teacher 101. The preschool pirate-themed lesson plans have printable lesson plans for a week, as well as explanations for the activities (for whole group, small group, and center time), book suggestions, and related printables.
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers