If your kids are into pirates (or just digging in sand!), this sensory activity from Rachel is a great way to squeeze in some counting practice!
Currently, my kiddos are obsessed with pirates, fairies, and superheroes. Hannah is also really interested in numbers right now, so I wanted to come up with a fun activity mashing some of her interests together.
I used cornmeal because we did this inside and it is SO much easier to clean up than real sand. If you are super brave or playing outside, by all means, go for it and use the real thing!
I had a bag of play gold coins (affiliate link) left from another activity, so I buried those in the cornmeal. If your child no longer puts everything in their mouths, you could just use real coins, too! I also added some rocks for variation in texture.
Check out these other ideas for counting activities for preschoolers!
We used an empty baby wipe container for our treasure chest. To extend the activity for older kids, they could make or decorate their own treasure chest beforehand. I grabbed a sand shovel and rake and we were almost ready to play.
When I told Hannah that we were going to play pirates, she insisted on dressing up in her pirate costume first. Once she was dressed, it was time to hunt for treasure!
The digging tools were a necessity for us because she was not a big fan of the texture of the cornmeal. I made sure she explored it some if only to grab coins that she dug up!
She kept digging until she found all the coins. Each time she found one, she put it in the treasure chest, like a good pirate!
Besides making the activity more fun, the treasure chest also added a fine motor element as she had to maneuver the coin into the slot each time. Once she had collected all of the coins, we dumped them onto the floor and had more counting practice as she put them back in the treasure chest.
She wanted to do it again, but I only hid 10 coins the second time. She dug them all up again, counted out her treasure and then wanted to do it again. I was ready to bury them again, but she just wanted to dump out the treasure chest and count them.
So she dumped, counted and put them back in over and over and over. Lots of counting practice and she just thought she was playing pirates! I call that a win – especially when her big sisters begged to play when they got home from school!