Toddler Treasure Hunt
Arts & Crafts,  Creative Play,  Learning through Play

Ahoy! Number Recognition Pirate Treasure Hunt For Toddlers

Do you want a treasure hunt that your toddler or preschooler can actually take part in?


Do you want some fun play focused on number recognition?

 

This pirate treasure hunt for toddlers is a really fun way to play with numbers and work on your child’s number recognition skills


Recognising numbers is a skill that will lead on to counting and spontaneous number recognition which will develop into early maths skills – you can encourage your child to notice numbers and quantity and help them to develop these skills in lots of different ways, but one of the best ways that children learn is through play!


And so this pirate treasure hunt for toddlers is a fun game for number recognition that is easy to put together and inexpensive too!


Let’s get straight to it!

treasure hunt for kids

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What You'll Need:

If you’re looking at this activity and wondering if you have the time to set it up – I can assure you that it is way simpler than it looks!

This is all you will need:

  • Treasure Map – You can download the free printable below ⇓ and you’ll need a tea bag too!

Free Printable Pirate Treasure Map!

Toddler Treasure Map Free Printable

Download this free printable pirate treasure map for toddlers today and have fun with this number recognition activity that your little ones will absolutely love!

  • Treasure Chest – this is a super easy toddler friendly craft using an egg box, some paint and some ribbon and stick on gems or sequins for decoration!

     

  • Treasure – For this you’ll need 10 pebbles/stones and some paint (or nail varnish)

You can of course swap any of these elements for something similar that you have, for instance if you don’t have an egg box then consider using a wet wipes tub or an ice cream tub, or swap pebbles for ping pong balls etc.


Now let’s go through how to put this very simple activity together step by step:

The Treasure Map

treasure map toddlers will love

There really isn’t much to the treasure map – you’ll find two A5 size maps on your printable so you can either play a couple of times or have siblings play along too!


Screw each of the treasure maps up into a ball and then flatten out again so that there are lots of creases all over the paper – then grab a wet tea bag and squeeze the tea bag over the paper and let it seep into the creases (try not to rub too hard as you may end up ripping the paper)


Once you are happy with your soggy map(!) either leave to dry on a surface or to speed the process up, hang up on a washing line if it’s a sunny day like we did!


Once your map is dry it’s ready to go (If you decide to do a garden treasure hunt then you might consider using an A5 clipboard)

The Treasure Chest

Number Recognition Treasure Hunt for Toddlers

This is of course an optional step but it’s a really fun way to bring the activity together!


Grab yourself an egg box that holds 6 eggs for a smaller treasure chest like ours or a larger one if you want to fit all of the ‘treasure’ neatly inside (or simply only go up to number 6)


Paint the box brown (be careful not to get the box too wet as it tears quite easily)


Once dry (we used a hair dryer to speed up the process!) use two strips of yellow / gold / any colour you want (!) ribbon and glue it across the top as shown and then add any embellishments – we added some brown sequins we had left over from a Christmas project!


And that’s it! You have a treasure map and a treasure chest now all you need is the treasure itself!

The Treasure

Number Recognition Treasure Hunt for Toddlers

This ‘Treasure’ was so much fun to make!


We used some gold paint that we had to paint all of the rocks (and some spare rocks for any mistakes!) and then got the hairdryer to speed up the drying (we wanted to play with it the same day!)



I then painted on the numbers using a fine liner for the outline and my POSCA pens which I highly recommend for rock painting – it allows so much more detail and precision – you can get them here on Amazon:

Pirate Treasure Hunt For Toddlers - Playtime!

Once you’ve put together everything you need, it’s time to start thinking about how you want to play!


There are so many options to choose from – you could make this a sensory-based activity, you could make this an outdoor activity, you could even turn this into a treasure hunt with clues for older children if you wanted, although the focus is really on the number recognition and this may be a little advanced at this stage – so here is a list of ideas for treasure hiding your treasure:


  • Sand – Bury your treasure in a sandpit or just a small tray and invite your little one to dive in with their hands, or use paintbrushes to brush away the sand to uncover the treasure one by one
Number Recognition Treasure Hunt for Toddlers
  • Salt – If you don’t have any play sand then why not try salt as an alternative


  • Rice – We love using rice in sensory bins as it’s so versatile and can be dyed so many pretty colours too!


  • Pasta – We had some coloured pasta already so we decided to use this is as a way to bury the treasure too – you could just use plain pasta that hasn’t been dyed to make the rocks a little harder to spot
Number Recognition Treasure Hunt for Toddlers

What you'll need:

  • Water  – If you spray the pebbles with some sealer then you’ll be able to pop the treasure underwater no problem and you could use sieves as fishing nets to collect the rocks!


  • Garden – And then there’s the good old garden treasure hunt which is always fun!
Number Recognition Treasure Hunt for Toddlers

Once you’ve established how you’re going to hide your pirate treasure, all that’s left to do is play!


Encourage your little one to cross off each number as they find and identify them on the map (we used a red crayon for an X marks the spot!)


And that’s all there is to it! It’s a great activity that will engage little ones from start to finish and is a great opportunity to have a go at recognising some numbers and developing those early maths skills!

Number Recognition Pirate Treasure Hunt Recap:

So for the quick version and takeaways:

  • This treasure Hunt Activity is a great way to learn numbers through play and encourage number recognition for early maths skills

  • You’ll need a Treasure map which you can download below, a Treasure Chest and some Numbered Treasure to put in it!

  • Set up a treasure hunt either around your home, outside or as part of a sensory bin

  • Encourage your little one to cross off each number as they find and identify the numbers

 

Most of all, have fun crafting and playing with this fun Number Recognition Pirate Treasure Hunt for Toddlers!

Free Printable Pirate Treasure Map!

Toddler Treasure Map Free Printable

Download this free printable pirate treasure map for toddlers today and have fun with this number recognition activity that your little ones will absolutely love!

Happy Treasure Hunting!


Louisa | Mum’s Creative Cupboard