• Kate

Activity of the Day: Treasure hunting 9- sketched map hunt



We're back on the treasure hunting trail and back to a simpler form of hunting.


This is a lovely first kind of map hunt for most people to work with: It doesn't need objects to be drawn to scale or particularly accurately- but if mini hunters are setting hunts, they do need to be able to explain what each part of their drawing represents.

Start out with a simple drawing of your home or garden. A single room is a good start for people who are just learning how to make or follow a map (I'll do another post with a very simple single room supported map hunt too). You can encourage reading by labelling locations with simple words or phrases.


This is a single-clue-single-treasure kind of hunt, so again items like Duplo blocks, dinosaurs or similar are helpful. Given that you have a map, it should be reasonably easy not to lose any treasures... but of course, if you have beginner map makers hiding items to be found using maps which are perhaps a bit confusing, lost things are a possibility- so as ever, don't use anything too precious! We used coloured wooden blocks and dinosaurs to run two hunts at a time.


To make the hunt, draw a sketch map of the hunt area.

  • If your hunters are able to read a bit or you're encouraging using words, written labels are a great idea.

  • Our hunters are convinced that compass roses are necessary for all maps (whoever heard of a pirate map with no compass rose on it?!), so our maps have those too. Mostly pointing in the right directions.

  • Mark where the treasure is going to go on the map: I used stars, another hunter used tiny diagonal lines (a real challenge to spot!); the third shown on this post didn't want to mark the map but did explain where the treasures were using the map to help.

  • Hide the treasures in the locations shown on the map: You can hide treasures then mark their locations on the map- but we've found lost treasures are less likely if the marks go on before the treasures are hidden- for some reason finding a hiding place to mark on the map is harder than finding a map location in real life.

  • Hand a map to a hunter- and off they go- or alternatively, you may need to stay with a hunter to provide regular support if they're just starting to learn.


We've been using this hunt to help our struggling treasure hunter to connect the real world with representations on paper- something she finds very difficult. You can probably see that the map above and the two below are basically of the same thing- it's our garden, which due to lockdown has featured pretty heavily in our treasure hunts recently.


Even though the map directly below doesn't have objects in the same places as the other two maps, it's still usable for treasure hunting as the person who drew it has been able to explain (yes, those of us familiar with it can decode the writing) what each object is- and so where each treasure has been hidden.




We set up these hunts so the treasures don't have to be found in any particular order, and without any large prize: Our hunters are pretty convinced that treasure hunting is just soooo exciting all by itself- so these coloured wooden blocks- sorry, "treasure gemstones" were plenty of treasure all by themselves!

To make this hunt a step closer to orienteering, you can set it up so that the treasures need to be found in a set order. Using numbered locations and hiding paper strips with writing or pictures (in dry weather) to put together a story which has to be stuck on an answer sheet in the order it's found can be a good way to make this style of hunt a bit more challenging- And we'll be looking more at expanding these hunts closer to orienteering over the rest of the week.

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