As we used the term ‘compass’ in our fairy tale earlier this week, today I would like to suggest an orienteering game. Spatial awareness is one of the basic abilities which help develop children’s skills. You can read a great book called ‘Dziecięca matematyka. Edukacja matematyczna dzieci w domu, w przedszkolu i szkole’ (Maths for Kids. Mathematics Education for Children at Home, in Kindergartens and at School) by Edyta Gruszczyk-Walczyńska and Ewa Zielińska, which includes lots of useful tips on the subject. So it’s good to spend some time playing with your child because the game will improve their understanding of the term and its use in practice. So here is the treasure hunt game!
Those of you who have decided to play the game will need a sheet of paper (A4 format will do) and a pen/crayon/marker. The adults need to prepare a treasure map / pirate map / ‘secret-agent’ map – whichever you like. My example is explained below.
It’s important to make the map age-appropriate. For small kids (3-5 years old) make the map clear and simple, and preferably entirely in the form of a drawing, without any descriptive parts or text. Use arrows to illustrate suggested actions (five arrows – five steps). To make the task more attractive, I suggest you add additional instructions to the tasks – ‘make two jumps forward’, ‘roll on the ground to the nearest tree / on the floor to the couch’. You can illustrate these activities with icons / images on the maps, e.g., a jumping rope can depict a jump. In this way, it becomes a great connotation and denotation game – for both children and adults. It’s important to discuss all the terms with children before the game begins and ask what connotations they have. The difficulty level should only be increased gradually, so as not to dishearten your child at the very start.
You can go one step further with children who are still learning to read – while preparing the map, include simple instructions written in capital letters, say, ‘go 5 steps ahead’, ‘make 2 jumps left’, ‘make a whirl’, etc. I trust the power of your imagination here.
Naturally, it’s great to eventually find the treasure – the reward. If you play the game at home, you can hide the treasure under a pile of magazines or pillows; if outside, you can hide it any place you like. Please consider whether or not the difficulty of finding it is age-appropriate for the child you play with.
Have fun. In this post you can find several photos of our game played outdoors.