Pirate Treasure Chest Counting / Simple Mathematics Activity

As part of our Jamaica Unit Study I wanted to incorporate a Pirate themed activity as Port Royal, Jamaica was once a major pirate port centuries ago. I recognize that the romanced version of Pirates is very different than reality, but it is still a fun theme to lightly learn about with my kiddos.

Part of this activity was a pirate chest to hold the “treasure” – you can purchase one at your local craft shop for a few dollars, but I’m cheap and thought creating my own would be fun!

I cut out a simple design out of cardboard and hot glued it together.

Since I wanted a rounded top, I used cardboard for the ends and secured them with skewer sticks left over from our Taino Hut we made a few weeks ago.

I then used plastic needlepoint mesh I had in my craft supplies to create secure base for my next step – craft sticks!

Please note that working with hot glue requires an adult and should not be an unsupervised activity for you children. 😉

I next glued on wide craft sticks to give my box a wooden look.

I criss-crossed them on the top (this will be hidden by my “metal” later)

I used wood stain to make my box look weathered. Allow it to dry completely.

Next step is to all the “metal” detail which I did with aluminum foil.

I folded strips of foil and glued them around the edges and across the top to hide the wooden edges.

Tada! How cute it this? As you can see I also added a faux lock to the front – you can get as creative as you want, or just buy a treasure chest like a normal person, haha.

Now comes the fun part – I gave each girl a set of foam dice I bought on AMAZON. My oldest picked pink (duh, haha) and my youngest wanted green. I had all the “Pirate Treasure” in the treasure chest, which was just acrylic scatter for aquariums. You can buy it at any pet shop or here on AMAZON. I like manipulatives when teaching numbers because as a highly visual person, you can visualize the numbers instead of learning them abstractly.

I had my oldest toss her dice and count out the appropriate “treasure” to match the numbers.

Great for learning visual representation for each number. We also practiced basic addition and subtraction by adding the two dice numbers together to form a sum or removing one dice number.

My youngest can only count to three (19 months), but she liked finding matching gems to her dice and lining them up. I counted them out 1-10 for her and she followed along.

I really liked this activity because it works for a variety of age groups, and both my girls enjoyed playing with the dice and colors.

Who says numbers can’t be fun?!

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