Oh my gosh, you guys. Sometimes, the most simple ideas end up spreading the most joy. Isn’t this so true of parenting in general? Just think about Christmas and birthdays. Your kids get heaps of gifts and end up playing with boxes and wrapping paper scraps.
Well, today I’m going to tell you about a super-simple activity that resulted in hours of play one recent rainy morning.
Make Your Own Map and Treasure Hunt
I’ve mentioned that my children are currently a wee bit map-obsessed. They are absolutely head-over-heels in love with this book in particular:
The Once Upon a Time Map Book: Take a Tour of Six Enchanted Lands by B. G. Hennessy is amazing. The book includes maps of some of your children’s most favorite places: Oz, Neverland, and Wonderland, among others.
We have the BIG book – you know the type that classroom teachers use? My kids will spread it out and pour over it…without bickering! What better way to learn early map skills than by looking at, and reading about, maps of beloved places from childhood? I’m telling you, folks… this book has become an instant classic in our home.
Not only was the book an instant classic, but it has inspired creativity and learning. My children have been making map after map after map. They copy the maps in the book, they have been making maps based on their favorite books and movies (Let it gooooo!), and they have been making maps of familiar places in their life, including our neighborhood, home, and the pool that we frequent.
And then, on one particular rainy morning, the children made up their very own map game based on this book. On their own. I had not yet had enough caffeine to be that creative, folks! Today, I’m going to share the activity that my little poppies created so that you can try it with your little friends!
Make Your Own Map
After reading The Once Upon a Time Map Book and The Scary Places Map Book for the gazillionth time, the children decided that this time they would make a map of their bedrooms. They had grand plans to hide a treasure in each room and so they needed to be secretive about this endeavor. Each child retreated to his or her own space, armed with paper and crayons.
Once the mini cartographers were finished with their creations, they took turns heading upstairs to their bedrooms to hide treasure. Once downstairs, they would mark the treasure’s location with an X.
Make Your Own Treasure Hunt
Then, they dressed up because you can’t hunt treasure in regular clothing. Seuss was a pirate, T a princess, and Leo a hunter.
They handed me their maps and asked me to mix them up. I gave each child a new map and they took turns searching for treasure, in the dark, with flashlights. Because everything is better with flashlights.
Folks, they played this game all morning for hours. I was able to get some major home organization and homeschool planning done –without a single interruption- on a rainy day. It was glorious. When they had finished with their fun, and I had finished with my organizing, we had lunch and then played a fun game that tied it all together.
Take it one step further with this super-fun game
It’s no secret that we are game obsessed. I love to use games to build upon and reinforce learning. I couldn’t resist playing Enchanted Forest with my little poppies because it incorporates our favorite fairy tales, it looks like a map, and it’s a treasure hunt.
Want to explore even further? Check out these pirate books:
Now, it’s your turn… what creative fun have you had lately? Share here!
Making a Treasure Map – Umbrella Tree Cafe
Salt dough pirate treasure – the gingerbread house
DIY Pirate Vest & Patch – Play Dough & Popsicles
Toilet paper roll pirates – Just Another Mom
Set Sail with this DIY Pirate Boat- The Resourceful Mama
It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me – Study at Home Mama
Pirates Love Underpants Sensory Bin – Adventures of Adam
Free Pirate Play Dough Mats Numbers 1-10 – Life Over C’s
Pirate Science: Fool’s Gold, Parrots and Shipwrecks! – Share it! Science News
Pirate Colouring Pages – In The Playroom
Pirate Books for Kids of All Ages – Superheroes and Teacups
Treasure Chest Craft – Messy Little Monster
How Did Pirates Navigate? How to Read a Map – Schooling a Monkey
Pirate Sensory Bin – Life with Moore Babies
Pirate Preschool Printable – Living Life and Learning
How to Make Some Great Pirate Flags – Witty Hoots
Perfect Parrot Masks for Pirate Day Fun – Peakle Pie
Pirate Perler Bead Patterns – Brain Power Boy
DIY pirate gold – P is for Preschooler
Going on a Pirate Treasure Hunt – Play & Learn Everyday
Pirate boats from a cardboard box and movie night – CraftCreateCalm
Pirate Treasure Math Printables – Kidz Activities
Treasure Alphabet Match – The Kindergarten Connection
Make Your Own Pirate Map – My Little Poppies
Treasure Map Grid Activity – My Little Poppies
Make Your Own Map and Treasure Hunt – My Little Poppies
Create a FLOATING Pirate Ship! – Milk and Cuddles
Pirate Puppet Craft -Sugar Aunts
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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