Whether you are a parent who wants to get her children up and moving instead of playing video games and watching TV or an educator looking to teach her students valuable observational skills, it's possible to create engaging mapping games and scavenger hunts. Increase or decrease the difficulty by altering the level of support you provide. Another way to alter the difficulty is to increase or decrease the number of items on the scavenger hunt list or the amount of detail on the maps.
Picture Scavenger Hunt
Draw pictures of things you would find outside, such as a stop sign, a yellow flower, a blue car and a brick house. Give each child a sheet of paper displaying the pictures. Talk the children for a walk in the neighborhood and have them call out when they see an item from the list. Take a picture of the item or have the child take the picture. When you get back to your house or the classroom, print each of the pictures for every child and instruct them to create collages with the pictures.
Talk to your children about neighborhood helpers, such as police officers, fire fighters, store clerks, bakers and hairdressers. Discuss how each of these people benefit the neighborhood and talk about where they work. Give your children a list of neighborhood helpers and the places where they work. Take them for a walk around the neighborhood and help them search for all of the helpers on their lists. If possible, introduce your child to the helpers and allow them to ask questions.
Pirate's Treasure Map
Eye patches, bandanas and fake gold hoop earrings help your children get into character when going on a search for a pirate’s treasure. Hide some trinkets, chocolate gold coins or even some real money somewhere in your house or classroom. Draw a map showing where the treasure is hidden. Give the map to your children and help them follow the map to find the treasure. If you are creating the treasure map for more than five children, split the children into groups and give each one a different treasure and map.
Take your children to a large park or playground. Explain that they are going to be new explorers and that they need to map the area for their friends. If you have more than five children, separate them into groups. Give each group of children a paper and pencil and designate a specific area of the park or playground. Instruct each group to draw a map of their area. Remind them to be specific and detailed with their maps.
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