DIY: Treasure Chest

I love how toddlers develop a new interest every 5 seconds and are so enthusiastic about life! This week it is suddenly ALL about pirates in C’s little world, mainly influenced by some new story books that we have been reading. So I thought that a treasure chest would be a must for some imaginative play and story retelling (and let’s face it, I love an excuse to get creative and put off doing the other jobs!)
I found a small cardboard box with an attached lid and covered it in ordinary paper.
 Then I cut two semi-circular(ish) shapes from cardboard and stuck them to either end of the lid using tape on both sides. They stayed up quite securely.

I then cut out a lid using thinner cardboard from a cereal box, so that it would bend easily to create a rounded top.

I bent it around the semi-circle shapes and stuck both sides on with sellotape, then covered the lid with more paper, ready to paint.

Next I painted it using an emulsion paint tester pot (I use these for SO many craft/ DIY toy projects!) and left it to dry. Then I cut strips from gold card and added the details with UHU. I drew on the bolts with a permanent marker, stuffed the inside of the box with some shiny wrapping paper and then we went on a treasure hunt to find wonderful things to fill it with!

Sainsbury’s sells packets of plastic gold doubloons and silver goblets for about £1 each in the party section. We also added some Euros (always have loads of those left over from holidays!), some jewellery, scrunched up tin foil and gold ribbon.

And this is one of the books that has inspired all of this play in the first place. It’s called “Yo Ho Ho, A-Pirating We’ll Go!” by Umanski and Sharratt, and is set out with a rhyming poem on each page. We absolutely love this treasure box page and C is well on her way to memorising parts of it already.

“Here is the treasure chest
What does it hold?
Rubies and emeralds,
Silver and gold.
Sparkling diamonds,
Spanish doubloons,
Perfect to play with,
On grey afternoons.”

We are playing with this a-plenty and we will be back with lots of ideas and games to share. Pirates are definitely here to stay and I have a feeling this blog will be full of them for the next couple of weeks at least!

This DIY toy is good for:

  • creativity: promoting creative/ imaginative / role-play
  • literacy: using a book/ story/ poem to inspire play experiences
  • language: learning new vocabulary and using it in play
  • knowledge of the world: pirates/ treasure/ chests/ locks/ keys/ boxes
  • pshe: playing co-operatively
  • maths: counting treasures/ sorting by variables


  1. says

    Oh what a brilliant treasure chest/ sensory box. Brilliant. What else can I say? Just brilliant!

    The book sounds really good fun too!

    Thank you for linking to Kids Get Crafty 😉


  2. Anonymous says

    Love this. We are very into pirates after reading the wonderful ‘Troll’ by Julia Donaldson. Love your inspiration to make stuff that is a current craze rather than buying more plastic, too.
    Rachel T

  3. says

    What a beautiful treasure chest! Looks lovely!My daughter loves Sharatt’s books,we haven’t read this one yet. Must take note of it.
    I would love it if you link up to my Book Sharing Monday tomorrow :)

  4. says

    Thank you so much for this inspiration, we have just completed our treasure chest following your instructions. If I knew how to post a picture here I would!

  5. says

    Rachel T I haven’t heard of that and now I *need* it!! Thank you so much for pointing it out to me!

    Alex can you upload it to my Facebook Page wall? I would LOVE to see it please?! Thank you for trying it out and for coming back to tell me. *big grin*