Create, play, discover, and learn.
We just created an old-looking treasure map with rhyming clues, compass points,
counted footsteps, and landscape map markers. The entire process created a fun learning experience for everyone involved.
1. Get a compass.
Our old compass, unlike Capt’n Jack Sparrows’, worked. In fact, we ordered one for each grand kid at less than three dollars each. A bit of rawhide lacing and a name on the back, it was like we gave them a gold trophy.
“Teach your kids to read a compass, not just look at one on a cell phone.”
Why does the needle point North? Discuss that.
Rotate the compass until the pointer end lines up North. Where does the sun rise? Where does it set?
2. Build your map.
Our map in the photo was made of watercolor paper.
You can use a brown paper bag, or heavy art paper. Once the map is drawn and painted, spill some coffee or tea on it, and wrinkle it up to make it look old. Lay it in the sun or put it in the microwave for a minute or two. I ripped and burned the edges to add to the look.
We picked the starting point, “You are here,” then lined the compass up north, and set a heading out to a landscape marker. We continued this until we got to the place we wanted to hide the treasure.
3. Drop clues along the way.
Along the way at those points on the map, we hid clues that would lead us to the next clue. Here is what one of our clues looked like:
Go North East 251 paces- ok giant steps
It’s a place birds rest and sing
There’s a clue hanging around there somewhere
Don’t get tired your hunt is in full ___________
So they figured the next clue must be in the old tire swing.
Ok, you have to cater it to match your age group hunting.
Make some clues easy and some difficult.
Continue making the map and hiding clues with as many turns and clues as you wish.
There is no right or wrong here.
Use counting, reading, discovering words, and you can even put some history ideas or meaning in your map. Use a team effort. Let someone different hold and read the clue each time.
4. Time for the treasure.
Celebrate with a treasure of your choosing. A cardboard box, a cigar box, or a metal cookie tin works great for the treasure chest. The treasure could be snacks, small toys, ice cream coupons, or coins.
5. Enjoy the hunt.
After the treasure hunt, you will have just created, played, and discovered, and I bet learned something new, all while building a relationship with your child. Now that’s treasure!