Hide and seek

A treasure hunt game can help children solve the mystery of maps

Emily Richardson

This is a great introduction to early orienteering skills, encouraging children to locate and find places on a map of their school. To make it more interesting, we did a treasure hunt. It's aimed at Year 1, but can easily be adapted. Start with a story, such as Spot's Treasure Hunt by Eric Hill or Treasure Hunt by Allan Ahlberg.

After the story, explain to the children that they are going to hunt for some treasure around the school, but to find it, they will need a special map. On the map (how detailed you make this will depend on the abilities of the pupils in your class), you will have marked the areas where the chosen treasure will be.

This activity works best when carried out in small groups, with adult supervision. It's up to you what you want the treasure to be, it can be toys, coins, objects for art and craft work, or missing items from the classroom that you can ask the children to put away in their correct places. Back in school, the children can draw the treasure they found at the appropriate locations on the map.

Pupils really enjoy any treasure hunt, but it does need to be well managed. Consider whether you want to use the word "treasure", as children may be disappointed to find out that it is a giant foam letter or large coin. Through this lesson, pupils become practised at using 2-D drawings in 3-D situations, and begin to understand direction, scale and location of places in relation to each other.

Emily Richardson is a senior lecturer in geography education at Roehampton University.

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Emily Richardson

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