Fun Parenting Idea for the Beach: How to Make a “Buried Treasure” for Your Child to Discover

Last month our family traveled to Destin, Florida for our summer vacation. The week before we left, I put together a “buried treasure” kit for my son to find.

I started out by driving over to Party City on my lunch break, where for $4, I was able to find a metal lunchbox shaped like a treasure chest. A few aisles down, I picked up a pack of plastic casino chips for $6 that look like gold coins.

Next, headed over to PetCo and for another $6, I found an actual buffalo antler.

Knowing that my 6 and a half year-old son was already preoccupied by the idea of finding a dinosaur bone or a saber tooth tiger’s tooth, I then headed over to PetCo and for another $6, I found an actual buffalo antler.

Lastly, I found a paper bag in the recycle bin at work, and tore part of it into the shape of a sheet of paper.

Now that I had all the supplies, I finalized the items.

I got a hold of some matte black spray paint to cover up the Disney cartoon theme of the metal lunch box. Then I threw it down several times on the concrete, to give it a more rustic look.

Afterwards, I wrote a letter, as a pirate from 1700’s, explaining that my treasure was buried nearby. Using a lighter from a friend, I then singed the edges of the letter, then splashed it in water to help make it look a couple hundred years old.

Fast forward a few days and several hundred miles later: I threw the items in my old Gap backpack from college. As my son played in the sand just about 15 feet away, with his back turned to me, I dug 2 separate holes in the sand, about 6 feet apart; one for the treasure chest filled with gold coins and the pirate’s letter on top of them, and the other one for the “saber tooth”.

As you can imagine, it was quite an adventure!

And that’s how it’s done.

Now, if you found this blog post to be interesting and relevant, I hereby invite you to read another blog post I did, which shows the pictures of the actual event taking place.

Click here to check it out.


Dear Jack: The Pirate’s Treasure and Saber Tooth You Found at Miramar Beach! (“Ride the Lightning” 2017 Toyota Prius Road Trip)

6 and a half years.

Dear Jack,

During the weeks leading up to our recent road trip to Destin, you had been telling me, “Daddy, I think we’re going to find treasure at the beach. Maybe even some bones. Maybe we can find a saber-toothed tiger skull because they’re the hardest to find in the whole world!”

I kept assuring you that if you looked in the right places, we just might find a buried something.

So during our 2nd morning at the beach last week, while your sister was out with Mommy and Grandma and Aunt Rebecca as they took the 2017 Toyota Prius Three to the outlet stores, you and I went out searching on the shore.

Just about 5 minutes into you playing in the sand as the water kept washing up and flooding your feet, I called you over to me, as I was just about 15 feet behind you.

“Jack, come over here. I think this would be a good spot to dig! The sand looks sort of different where this spot is.”

You rushed over.

After you dug down about 8 inches deep, there it was… a scratched up treasure chest!

With great excitement, you pulled the black metal box out of the sand. Fortunately, there was no lock, so you were able to open it right away.

Amazingly, there was a letter right there on top. We read it together:                                                                                          

July 1, 1733

To the Person Who Finds My Treasure,

If you are reading this, it is too late for me. This means my ship sank on the sea. I was keeping my gold safe in the sand, but now it is all yours. And one more thing, watch out for the dinosaurs and saber-toothed tigers…

Henry the Pirate

But you were more impressed by the gold coins inside the treasure chest. You counted them all: “Daddy, there’s 73 gold coins!”

This immediately inspired you to continue searching, as now you were becoming preoccupied with finding some bones in the sand. Just a few minutes later, a few feet away from where the treasure chest was buried, I started digging.

“Here, why don’t you take a turn now?” I suggested to you..

It couldn’t have been a minute later that you shouted, “Daddy, I found something!”

Without me having to explain anything, you figured it out:

“It’s a saber-toothed tiger’s tooth!”

And that tooth ended up being worth more to you than all that gold.