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Magical childhood moments: pirates of the sandbox

Updated: May 15, 2022

In part eight of my series on adding a touch of magic to your children's lives, I share how your children can find pirate's treasure.

Although real-world piracy on the high seas is a wicked occupation, we all love our fictional pirates, especially those jovially portrayed with swagger in our favourite movies like Captain Jack Sparrow and Dread Pirate Roberts, to name a few. A common goal for these pirates–actually all pirates for that matter–is to get treasure and lots of it! Any pirate worth their salt fills their days chasing, stealing, hoarding, or otherwise spending vast riches. The hidden treasure chest brimming with gold coins is part of pirate lore; you can use this trope to create some wonderful magical moments for your children.

Recently, I came across a story online where a young woman explained that when she was a small child, her mother would sometimes tell her that pirates had visited the night before and had buried treasure in the sandbox. The girl would go to her sandbox and find large, deep boot prints in the sand. Then she'd spend hours in the sandbox with her little sieve gathering the coins.

Now an adult, the woman wondered if the pirates' visits were just a ploy by her mother to keep her child preoccupied whenever she wanted a rest.

Even is this is true, this story tugged at my heartstrings. I love the simplicity of it, too.

Pulling this off will be quite easy: all you need is a pair of large shoes, sandbox, and coins.

If you don't have a sandbox, a plastic or wooden one can be bought quite cheaply. Sand can be found at any hardware store. To keep your sandbox dry and free of debris or animal poop, I recommend covering it with a play tent.

As for coins, I have two suggestions: real coins (if your kids love pocket money) or chocolate coins. The great thing about chocolate coins is that they're wrapped in bright gold foil so they look like treasure!

Your kids can use their hands or a sand toy set, which includes a bucket, sieve and spade, to forage for treasure.

I hope you have fun watching your kids enjoy this imaginative play. I promise it will be fun to watch their faces light up as they find each coin!

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