Sometimes I veer off the old way theme here on the blog and this is one of them. A couple of years ago, we threw our son a Buried Treasure Sand pile party with the main event being a sand pile containing buried toys, treasures and an Easter egg with a $5 bill in it. It seems off topic here, but it is still a little bit “the way it used to be” before you could buy all things party themed at the big box party stores. You make something up at home.
When you have a birthday in October, you don’t get to do a party at the lake, pool or splash pad so after seeing the sand pile idea at a local festival, we decided to do this for a different spin on a birthday party activity. In the invitation, I made sure to let parents know to plan for kids to get dirty and to bring a change of clothes if they desired.
To make the treasure pile, we started with an area we wanted to level off anyway for our outdoor Thanksgiving table and brought in 3 loads of nice, clean dirt. The loads were $20 each and were what fit into the 5 foot bed of my Toyota pick up truck. Looking at the pile, it sure seemed like a lot less than 3 loads of dirt, but it was.
As I shoveled each load out, I tossed in the treasures so that they were dispersed all the way throughout the pile. We used Matchbox cars and large plastic dinosaurs from the dollar store, superhero necklaces placed in snack size ziploc bags, a few rings in the round bubble shaped plastic containers from the 25 cent gumball machines for the three girls that would be there and the grand prize of the egg with a $5 bill inside. All total I spent right at $100 for the dirt, treasures, plates, cups and tablecloth. The bonus was, that for the cost, the dirt would serve a second purpose later.
On the day of the party before we turned the kids loose, we went over a few sand pile “rules”; no throwing dirt at anyone else, no grabbing, and if two people uncover the same toy at once, rock/paper/scissors settles it.
We dug treasure first, then washed up in a basin of water, had cake, opened presents, then went BACK again to the dirt. It was definitely a hit!
When the kids were done digging, strewing sand behind them and kicking it around, we had a nice disbursed area of * mostly* level dirt to work with for our table.