Treasure Map Activity

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Many years ago, we created this simple, but fun treasure map activity where children have the opportunity to develop important skills while creating their own unique treasure maps. All you need for this pirate activity is paper, markers or crayons, and optional decorations like stickers or glitter, for a creative activity that offers numerous benefits (fine motor skills and visual motor skills!)

Not only does using a map utilize spatial skills, there are so many ways to learn through play with this activity!

treasure map activity

Treasure Map Activity

The treasure map activity we describe in this blog post is an old one, but it’s such a fun way to develop skills.

Occupational therapy practitioners often use treasure map activities in therapy sessions, including with sensory motor tasks like obstacle courses. You can move through an OT treasure map to different therapy worlds like a handwriting station, self-regulation area with deep breathing exercises, a gross motor task like a masking tape balance beam, or so many other tasks depending on the child’s specific needs!

Skills Developed with a Treasure Map Activity

Fine Motor- As children draw their treasure maps, they practice and refine their fine motor skills. Holding and controlling the markers or crayons helps strengthen their hand muscles and improve dexterity. The precise movements required for drawing lines, shapes, and symbols contribute to the development of their fine motor control and coordination.

Visual Motor- Creating a treasure map also supports the development of visual motor skills. The process of translating mental images and ideas onto paper involves coordinating hand movements with visual input. Children learn to align their movements with what they envision, improving their hand-eye coordination and visual tracking abilities.

Spatial Awareness- Playing with and drawing a treasure map promotes spatial awareness and understanding. Children need to consider proportions, distances, and scale as they depict landmarks, paths, and the overall layout of their map. This encourages them to think spatially and develop a sense of space and perspective.

Motor Planning- Using a treasure map to move around a given space involves motor planning. Children must plan and execute a sequence of actions to create their map, including deciding on the path, placing symbols, and adding decorative elements. This helps develop their ability to plan, organize, and execute tasks in a logical and sequential manner.

Body Awareness- Using a treasure map activity to navigate in the world around them offers kids the chance to incorporate body awareness into a real world scenario. They must navigate around objects and visualize how their body moves through a space. This is a great tool for building skills in this area.

Scissor Skills- The map activity we made made builds scissor skills, too. This is an open-ended craft that kids can make and work on cutting and snipping paper in a low pressure way.

How to make a treasure map with Preschoolers

This simple treasure map is a fun activity for preschool. Here’s what we did:

 
Today was a day of exploring and treasure map fun!
My kids have been loving Jake and the Never Land Pirates lately and today we decided to make our very own treasure map.
 
This was one my daughter had so much fun planning out what was going to be under each door. 
 
 
We gathered up all the necessary things…
  • card stock
  • different colors of tissue paper
  • scissors
  • markers or a pen
  • some stickers
  • a roll of masking tape
 
 
 

This project included tons of fine motor skills, cutting, tearing paper, pinching, rolling, folding…the list goes on and on.

 
 
We cut the tissue paper into little squares, pulled out some masking tape and made little tape donut circles to tape the tissue paper to the construction paper.
 
 
Pulling and tearing the masking tape worked on her wrist stability.  This is the strength and coordinated effort of the wrist in a neutral position with controlled movements required to keep one part of the body still while another part moves. (the hand and fingers).
 
 
 
The card stock was folded and different shapes cut out.   I helped her cut out windows and doors for the different tissue papers to be hidden behind. Folding the paper and cutting was a great use of bilateral coordination.
 
Bilateral coordination is the efficient use of both hands during
activities.  One hand will manipulate while the other is the ‘helping
hand.’  Bilateral coordination development will lead to hand dominance
(right- or left-handed).
 
 
 
 Each door got a beautiful sticker on it (they needed doorknobs- of course!)
 
 
And last but not least, we needed a treasure!  This nickel was the perfect treasure. 
 
 
 I  finished the map by drawing some lines to connect the windows and doors.  This map will last for many a treasure hunt!  “Yo-Ho-Ho!”
 
 
 

The perfect addition to a treasure map activity would be a pirate puppet or a kid-made pirate telescope craft, perfect for finding treasures!

Working on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, or scissor skills? Our Fine Motor Kits cover all of these areas and more.

Check out the seasonal Fine Motor Kits that kids love:

Or, grab one of our themed Fine Motor Kits to target skills with fun themes:

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