Arrrrrrrgh, Matey! A pirate’s life for me! Last night my son and I were reading through High Five magazine. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a lower level Highlights magazine. Remember those when we were kids? At the back, they had an activity in which you create a treasure map.
As you know, we are HUGE proponents of language; you can’ talk enough with your little ones. Talking is the gateway to better readers and elaborate writers. This activity is the perfect way to get positional language into your play. While drawing your maps, talk about all the geographical features you may see. For more experienced map makers, i.e. older kids, you can add in a compass rose, scale measurements, elevation changes.
After my son and I created our maps, we started at the corner of the living room. I let him explain to me what was on his map (volcanoes, forest, lakes, sand dunes, etc.) and then we began the hunt. I started the talking by pointing to various parts of his map and saying, “Oh, we are going around the lake now!”, which ended up being the couch, and he would say, “Now the lake is behind us!” Each step of the map I added in words like above, below, across, quickly, through, between. With my guidance and his map reading skills (once you see his map below you will understand why he was the reader. LOL) we made it to the treasure! Then, we did it all over again. This time, I held back and let him start. He amazingly used the same language I shared and was excited about taking the lead. Next hunt, we mixed it up. I said, “Let’s make an addition.” We added where he would go to brush his teeth, because it was bedtime, after all. Surprisingly, he said, “I have another addition” and he added the bookshelf because the next step of our nightly routine is storytime.
Activities don’t always have to be a one-and-done. Think about all the possibilities a treasure map can hold. It can be a way to get your stubborn three year old to complete his nightly routine or a way to get your seven year old up and active. You can take it outside or inside on a rainy day. The key is to talk, share, and explore together. Happy Hunting!
If you are interested in a magazine subscription, here is the website: https://www.highlights.com/