Activities: Make Your Own Treasure Map
Have your pint-sized prize-hunters X mark the spot!
- A treasure for each hunter:A carrot stick, a tennis ball, an empty pretzel bag. One adult's trash is another kid's treasure!
- Several large pieces of paper or poster board:Find it at the art store.
- Markers:Make sure to have a red one to mark the "X."
- Treasure hider/mapmaker:Your kid.
- Treasure hunters:Your mapmaking child's friends or siblings.
- Shovel:For the big dig, ya dig?
- Send your kid out into the yard to bury some "treasures." (Include an instruction that digging in the garden is just as much of a no-no for kids as it is for dogs.)
- Once the treasures are buried, take out the paper and markers and help your kid draw treasure maps to lead others to the treasures. Start the maps at the front door by having your kid draw a picture of the house.
- Have her draw other landmarks (is the treasure buried by a tree or under the picnic table?) as points of reference.
- Encourage her to draw arrows to lead searchers in the right direction. Should they turn right or left when they exit the house? Should they make two loops around the maple tree before heading past the dog house? (It's okay if the arrows don't go directly to the treasures. The hunt is half the fun!)
- Of course, she should make a big red "X" on the spot on each map where the treasures are buried.
- When the maps are finished, have your child lead a friend or sibling through them to hunt down the hidden treasures. Make sure she follows the steps on the map and doesn't just make a beeline for the hidden object.
- Planning and following a map will help your preschooler develop spatial awareness (which might help her realize that "on the floor" isn't the same thing as "in the toy box"). Your older kid will benefit by honing her attention to detail and sequencing skills, which comes in very handy at homework time.
- Multiply the fun by photocopying the maps and sending all the hunters off to find the same treasure at the same time. This will also multiply the time the kids are occupied—as will having your kid hide several treasures and make several maps.