So happy to have Carolyn of The Pleasantest Thing writing today for The Golden Gleam. Her blog is filled with fun play ideas that help kids learn. I especially love her Tips for Reading with Baby.
I want to share a favorite activity of our’s that includes both mark making and outdoor fun: making treasure maps!
My 4 1/2 year old son has spent hours over the last month creating treasure maps and then going on a treasure hunt. Depending on his mood, he may raid the dress up box before embarking on his mission, and he invariably carries his toy sword.
Creating the map: First we get a large sheet of paper, and whatever supplies my son wants to use to create his map. This usually includes some combination of markers, pencils, stamps, and crayons. My son gets to work, designing his treasure map. He marks off “dangerous” locations, puts in different types of neighborhoods (Squigglehood makes a frequent appearance).
Finding the treasure: Once his map is complete, we head off to hunt for treasure. We roam around the yard, with him pointing out the landmarks from his map, and fighting off the dangerous beasts guarding the treasure.
Although I would love to take credit for this activity, my son came up with it entirely on his own. I was setting up a different activity, and had some supplies out. As he frequently does, he sat next to me, and I thought he was drawing a picture. When he was done with his first treasure map, I saw how much more fun his activity was, and we ditched my idea for the day and went with his. And now afternoon treasure quests are an almost daily occurrence for us.
Carolyn is a mom to two boys, ages 4 1/2 and 1. She believes play is critical to child development, and her blog, The Pleasantest Thing, focuses on play-based learning, books, nature, and fun.