Image from Disney.
Pirate parties are great fun. And now Disney has a show called Jake and the Neverland Pirates that adds a fun twist on the tried-and-true theme. As a result, we here at Sophie’s Stress-Free Soirées have been doing a bunch of “pirate and pixie” parties. They’re a fun mixture of pirate booty and fairy dust!
Now, the perfect craft for any pirate party is a treasure chest. Once the kids have decorated their boxes, you can send them on an amazing treasure hunt to fill their box with booty. It’s a great activity -- in theory.
The problem is this: kids see an empty box, and what do they want to do? They want to fill it! But what that means is that all of the supplies I use for decorating the boxes (shells, sparkly jewels, coins, stickers) end up inside the box instead of on the box. It’s a conundrum because no matter how many times you say, “Use the materials for decoration, leave your box empty for finding treasure later!” -- the kids just don’t get it. Instead, they load up their boxes with all the craft supplies. It’s an issue for us because we offer so many different items at our crafts tables, but only charge a fraction of what they cost. With our normal craft projects this works out, because kids use a small portion of what we supply, and not everyone uses the same stuff, so it’s amortized. That’s not the case when kids are piling booty into their boxes. I’ve come back from a ten-person pirate party totally wiped out of supplies. It’s terrifying... like a plague of glitter-hungry locusts.
Basically I had to come up with a way to solve this problem or I’d go broke.
The solution was actually pretty simple. I created a folded cardboard insert that slipped into the empty cavern of the treasure box. It’s amazing how the desire to fill the box goes away when there’s no space to do so. Instead the boxes end up looking beautiful, because everything now goes on the outside! The great thing is that the insert is removable, so when we’re actually ready for the treasure hunt, I simply pop it out and the kids can fill to their hearts content with the pirate loot they were meant to gather. (And yes, I always make sure the supplies have been tucked away before I remove the inserts.)
If you are planning on doing this craft at your next event, it’s something you might consider. It doesn’t take long to do, and it really will save your supplies. Here’s a more detailed look at how we do it!
First, measure the interior of your treasure chest.
Take the paper back out and make sure your folds are crisp. Then cut a small tab out of the side that faces up. This will allow the kids to pull the insert out easily when it’s time to fill it with treasure!