Activity: A Family Treasure Box

In the lead up to ANZAC Day, we have been reading The Treasure Box.

This story is set during a period of war. A young boy keeps a book safe in a treasure box. It is a book about his people. The story demonstrates the power of the human spirit in rising above the pain and sorrow to keep a nationality alive. Read more about The Treasure Box and follow up activities.

After reading The Treasure Box, we spoke about items that symbolise individuals and communities. We decided to create a treasure box for our own family, filled with objects that are important to us at this moment in our lives.

War isn’t necessarily a topic parents want to discuss with  pre-schoolers, but community and history are  two concepts I definitely want Cam to understand and they are also concepts set out in the Australian curriculum for early years and school aged children.

Not only does this activity help children to understand the importance of the book in The Treasure Box, but it is also a fun way for children to understand the significance of objects for communities and how they can help us to create images of groups and communities from the past.

We created a treasure box by decorating a box with gems (we used a cardboard gift box that was given to us when Ike was born):

Activities for The Treasure Box by Maragret Wild

Each family member contributed an object to the box that holds meaning for them:

Activities for The Treasure Box

Cam chose to put  Bunny into the box: This is Cam’s special friend. She relies on it to help her get to sleep. Bunny also comforts her when she is feeling sad. Cam enjoys telling Bunny about her day.

Mummy chose to put her iPhone in the box: The iPhone is important to me at the moment. While I’m a stay-at-home Mum, it connects me with the world outside my home. I can text friends and make new ones via social media. I also love the built-in camera that allows me to take photos of my children all day. I don’t miss a moment (unless my storage is full).

Daddy chose to put his Melbourne Marathon Medal into the box. The medal most definitely recognises his achievement, but it also symbolises his personality: determined, disciplined and health-conscious.

Cam chose an object for Ike. She chose his dummy: Ike spent his first four weeks in hospital attached to leads and all sorts of devices. At times we were unable to pick him up for a cuddle so he became very reliant on a dummy for comfort.

We wrapped and protected our items in a rich red cloth:

Activities for The Treasure Box

And closed the lid:

We each drew a map of our backyard in preparation for a treasure hunt:

Classroom activities for The Treasure Box

Then we took turns to hide the treasure box in the backyard:

Activities for The Treasure Box

Finding the treasure box was made easier by using X to mark the spot:

Activities for The Treasure Box

We needed our objects back at the end of the day,  but we  wondered what people would say about our family if they were to find our treasure box in another 30 years?

Learning Outcomes:

  • Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities (Early Years Framework-Outcome 2)
  • Discuss personal and family histories (History)
  • Recognise personal qualities and achievements (Personal and Social)
  • Make decisions (Personal and Social)
  • Organise and process information (Critical and Creative Thinking)
  • Interpret maps and diagrams (Numeracy)

You can read more about The Treasure Box in our review, and also find a list of other activities for the classroom and home.

Activity: A Family Treasure Box


  1. this one looks lovely too. We’ve been reading My Grandad Marches on ANZAC Day lately. I am having a little bit of difficultly explaining war and why people kill each other. I think it is important for our family but it is difficult to put into words, isn’t it?

  2. What a beautiful and moving books you describe this to be. I absolutely loved reading about the treasure box you made. What a great mother you are to teach your little ones such great values.

  3. That is SUCH a great idea! I just LOVE it! Georgia would put her dummy in the box too! Gosh I don’t know what the rest of us would put in – that is a TOUGH one. I agree on the iphone with small babies…that thing was/is a lifeline!

  4. What a beautiful story and I love the activity that you did along with it. I would love to make a treasure box with my son and husband. I’m adding it to my list of awesome projects to try :-). Appreciate you stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet comment about my hungry caterpillar rocks. Looking forward to seeing more book & activity recommendations from you.

  5. Jode said: On April 23, 2013

    This is just an absolutely beautiful activity Jackie…I was mesmerised and will tuck this idea away for the future!

  6. The box is so pretty! I love that you put your iPhone in the box! That made me smile. :)

  7. Oh, this is a gorgeous idea!! I especially love the sparkly box idea!

  8. Debs said: On April 30, 2013

    A lovely family idea. I shared it last week. :)

  9. What a wonderful activity to explore and appreciate the messages from the book. A very thoughtful activity :-)

  10. Renèe said: On May 2, 2013

    Lovely, what a beautiful treasure box.
    I remember doing this as a kid. I will be doing it with my 2 when bubs gets a little older, thanks for sharing such a neat family idea

  11. What a pretty place to store treasures. I have shared this post on Pinterest.

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Activity: A Family Treasure Box

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