Rubber ducks and other small items are appropriate treasures.
Creating a pirate treasure map for your little ones is an entertaining way to distract them on rainy days when all you hear is “I’m bored!” A treasure map is an activity you can do with your kiddos or use it as entertainment at a birthday party or other gathering. Since toddlers and preschoolers aren’t able to read yet, you must create a map without words. This makes them feel as if they are hunting for the treasure all on their own.
1Wrap each shoebox – without the lid – using the gold wrapping paper, scissors and tape.
2Write a child’s name on each box using the colored markers. This represents the treasure chests.
3Snap photographs of the locations you want to use on the pirate’s treasure map and print them out. If the treasure hunt is indoors, these pictures might include the bathroom wastebasket, a kitchen chair, a toy box in the bedroom or a loveseat in the den. Pick places that are low enough in height so that even small toddlers can spot the items. If the treasure hunt is outdoors, take pictures of a planter, patio chair, flowerbed or other obvious areas around the yard. Another option is to cut pictures out of a magazine and glue them on the map. This is appropriate if the kids can determine that a picture of a bathroom means the hidden object is in your home bathroom.
4Crinkle up a large piece of tan or brown butcher paper that is approximately 3-feet long by 3-feet wide. Do this by wadding it up into a loose ball.
5Smooth out the butcher paper so that it resembles an old pirate’s map.
6Glue the pictures to the map in the order you want the children to find the items. If the children are preschoolers and know their numbers, draw a big number one next to the first picture, a number two next to the second and so on. Do this with the colored markers.
7Place pirate and parrot stickers randomly all over the map. This helps create a mysterious allure to the hidden treasure.
8Place the map on a low coffee table or even on the floor -- and designate this as the starting area. Place the treasure boxes in this area as well.
9Wrap each gift item in gold wrapping paper. Some age-appropriate treasures are miniature stuffed animals, rubber ducks, little round balls and toy blocks.
10Place the items wherever the pictures indicate before the children start the "hunt."
11Instruct the kids to find their treasures in each location according to the pictures. Toddlers might need assistance from older siblings or their parents in finding the hidden treasures. Once a child finds a hidden treasure, she should return to the starting point and place it in her box. Then she needs to look at the map to see where the next treasure is located.
- Have a special gift for the child who finds all the treasures and places them in her box first. Make sure it is an age-appropriate gift. According to the National Food Service Management Institute, it is important for toddlers to have 30 minutes and for preschoolers to have an hour of structured physical activity each day. Finding the treasures on the map is an enjoyable and exciting way for young children to participate in this type of activity.
Things You'll Need
- Shoeboxes or other small boxes – one for each child
- Gold wrapping paper
- Cellophane tape
- Colored markers
- Camera or assorted magazines
- Brown butcher paper
- Bottle of glue or glue stick
- Pirate and parrot stickers
- Miniature stuffed animals, rubber ducks, round balls and toy blocks