Finding Buried Treasure

A play invitation from my therapy gym — as part of the child-led exploration of stations in my room during OT time, or for the children who use the therapy gym for other reasons than dedicated OT time.

I left a sensory bin filled with coffee grounds. Earlier this year, I had plastic flowers placed in the coffee grounds that can be mixed and matched in different configurations. Then, I switched it out and made a “buried treasure” activity. It’s filled with plastic tokens that are green, gold, or silver. There is a small rake and a small shovel out to the side of it that can be used to search around in it.

I made containers by stapling two paper bowls together in one spot, like a hinge. Then I cut a slot in each of the containers, so that tokens can be poked in through them. I made three of these containers and labeled them “green”, “gold”, and “silver”.

I wrote some ideas on a piece of paper next to the setup. These ideas are usually left as an invitation to the adults, if anything. Kids don’t always need help coming up with creative ideas of how to play, but sometimes they get stuck in one idea of how to play, or adults can’t figure out how to be creative with it…so I like to give multiple ideas of how to shake it up and add new things to the play.

My note reads,
“Buried pirate treasure!

Some game ideas:
-Find as many as you can in (10, 30) seconds
-Find only green, or only gold, or only silver
-Green is worth 1 point, gold is worth 10 points, silver is worth 5…find in 10 seconds, & then add up your points
-Draw a pirate map”

Above the bin is an example of a pirate map. It’s just a random drawing, with a classic X marking the spot, a palm tree, and a pirate ship. 🙂

Later, once this has been set out for a while, I’m going to add an element to it. There is a blue mat in my room with “sharks” drawn on paper and taped to it, which has a balance beam across it. I’m going to drag the whole mat and balance beam over to the table, so that standing on the balance beam while searching for hidden treasure is an option — i.e., adding the game, “find the hidden treasure while not getting eaten by the sharks!”

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