if you’re a regular reader here, then you know just how much R (4 yrs) loves treasure hunts. We’ve enjoyed a garden treasure hunt with painted rocks, and an alphabet treasure hunt with objects from around our home to name just a few. I thought it would be fun switch things up a little and add some map reading to our treasure hunt games. Map reading is an important skill for kids to learn. It fosters spatial awareness, encourages problem-solving skills, creative thinking and reasoning.
To introduce R to basic map reading, I drew a simple plan of our living room. This was just a simple rectangle frame with the windows marked on the sides. I then wrote the names of “landmarks” within the room on pieces of cardboard. These landmarks were the furniture in our room – bookshelves, sofas, coffee tables etc. I colour coded the cardboard landmarks so that sofas and chairs were all one colour, tables and bookshelves were another, and the TV was a third colour.
I talked to R about orientation, and explained that the map was a representation of the room in which we were standing.
He then placed the landmarks in their appropriate positions on the map and glued them in place.
Let the treasure hunt begin! When the map was complete, I hid five Lego mini figures around the room and placed blue dot stickers on the map to show where they were hidden.
R then used the map to navigate himself around the room and find the Lego mini figures.
This was a huge hit and when he had found all five Lego figures, R hid the figures for me to find. He moved the blue dot stickers to the appropriate parts of the map to show me where he had hidden the figures, so he was using the map in a new way as we reversed our roles in the game. I’m not sure if it was the fact that we were playing a treasure hunt game, or that it involved Lego or that he was excited to learn something new (map reading) but whatever it was, R loved this game!
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