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Activity of the Day: Treasure Hunting 10- no-map compass hunting


Who doesn't love a compass! Even if you don't actually need to use one, it definitely makes you feel more like a proper explorer when out hunting.


If you don't have a compass but do have a smartphone or tablet, there are loads of free compass apps that you can download to use instead. They won't be as easy to use to take bearings with, but it's still possible, so you don't have to miss out on this kind of hunt.


Easy to hard house, garden, neighbourhood or park compass treasure hunts


If your hunters aren't used to using a compass, it can be quite confusing for them to get going. The first issue we usually hit is that, on a hiking compass, they'll try to follow the big arrow on the plastic rectangle outside the circle- whether or not it's pointing in a sensible direction. So the first thing to do is to get them lining the needle's North up with North on the compass circle, with the compass on a flat surface like this:




Then you can get finding things, with the hunters learning at first to IGNORE the big arrow on the rectangle- that will only be useful once the directions on the compass circle can be followed reliably.


Start working on a table with lots of items on it, for example finding "the cup that is to the East of the plate", "the furthest North book". Once your hunters can reliably manage North, South, East and West for objects on a table...


Use a compass to find, for example, "the furthest North point in the garden" or "the furthest West chair in the kitchen".


Once your hunters are happy using North, South, East and West, you can introduce the extra 4 directions of North-East, North-West, South-East and South-West. Simply pointing in the correct directions first can be a good way to cement these.


With 8 directions, a full treasure hunt walk around your neighbourhood should be possible (some hunters may need to stick with 4 directions, in which case a little guidance may be needed in some places to ensure they turn the right ways). Since you know where the treasure should be hidden, you can either hide it ahead of time, or (if you have a spare adult or the hunters don't need constant supervision) nip ahead with a couple of clues to go and hide the treasure.



For example:


1. Out of the house, turn South and walk to the end of the road.

2. Turn West then take the second road to the South.

3. At the end of the road, turn East.

4. Cross the pedestrian crossing to your South.

5. Walk South-East across the open space to reach the correct gate.

6. Turn West through the gate and carry on until you get to the very big oak tree.

7. Go through the gate to the North then walk West until you get to the post box.

8. Cross the road carefully then walk North until you reach a crossroads.

9. At the crossroads, turn East.

10. At the next junction, turn North.

You will find the treasure where a brick wall meets a tall green hedge.



Adding challenge:


Hunters who manage to use the 8 directions easily can move on to using degrees instead of named directions- this is also helpful for developing maths skills. For example, North is 0 degrees, East 90 degrees, West 270 degrees and North

Hunters who are coping easily with telling directions can learn to turn the compass bevel so that the arrow on the rectangle points the direction they should be walking.


Hunters who manage to use the 8 directions easily can move on to using degrees instead of named directions- this is also helpful for developing maths skills. For example, North is 0 degrees, East 90 degrees, West 270 degrees and North-East 45 degrees.


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