Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Treasure Chest

This was a little something special I made for my daughter shortly after we started introducing sensory play. I'll go through everything I used and then include a cheaper and easier way!
(Click on any picture to see a bigger version)

My daughter LOVES the ocean and anything that has to do with sea animals. This project seemed perfect for her especially because she loves small pebbles. I decided to make her a treasure chest using small aquarium rocks and small sea animals. This exact project isn't great for every age - please use supervision if your child loves to stick toys in their mouth.

I waited until Michael's had a 50% off one item coupon. They sell a few different size wooden unfinished chests, so pick out a size that works for you. I believe I paid $10 after the coupon. I also picked up a few pre-painted decorations for the outside. At the time, Michael's had these little erasers in the shape of sea animals. You can usually find these also at dollar stores or discount stores. They might still have them at Michaels. Another alternative is Squinkies - they are a small, squishy toy that is sold at any toy store. You can pretty much use any type of sea toy you want! You'll want to pick up some paint or stain too. My daughter is rough with her toys so we used a sealer for the paint so she didn't chip it.

The last thing we needed was aquarium rocks. We bought the little rocks since she prefers them over the bigger ones. I bought two 5lb bags of the small colored aquarium rocks. You could easily get away with one bag. You could even buy the bigger stones if you are worried about the choking hazard. Or you could take a trip to the park and have your child collect rocks to put inside. I added a few aquarium decorations that we already had to make it feel more real. Get creative and add whatever you want! You could do sand, but I'm not sure how well the chest would hold it. If you decide to try it, seal all the cracks with hot glue first so the sand doesn't pour out.

The end result of supplies will look something like this -
Treasure Chest - $10-$20 (depending on size & coupon)
Aquarium Rocks - $10-15
Sea Animals - $5-10
Decorations - $5-10
Paint/Stain - $5-10 (We had ours at home already)

Our treasure chest came to about $40. This was a lot more than we would have spent normally on a project, so we tried to incorporate a lot of what we had at home. We had the paint and some of the decorations already. We waited until we had coupons to keep the cost low.

A cheaper way of doing this would be using a small storage container with a lid so you can easily store it away for next time. This would eliminate the cost of the treasure chest, paint, and the outside decorations. If you do it this way, you could use rocks or sand without making a huge mess. This would also make a great activity for a sensory bucket or a sensory table!


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