Teaching kids use and make maps will help them develop critical thinking skills. Map making will teach children about distances, direction and navigation. Having your child make a map will teach him, in a hands-on way, use maps and how important they are. Making a map is a crafting activity you could do together on a rainy afternoon or during a quiet weekend.
Treasure Map Making
Stretch your child’s imagination and help her create a treasure map. When you are done with this craft you’ll have a map that looks like pirates made it hundreds of years ago. When you’re done, she can invite her friends over to find a hidden treasure in your yard or home. Start by using a large sheet of paper. It’s best to use white paper from a roll. Cut an 18 inch sheet from the roll with sharp scissors. Spread your paper out on a table and begin to create your map. Start by drawing a compass rose on the bottom left hand side of the corner. Mark the directions north, south, east and west. Use colored pencils or no run fine tipped markers to do the drawings. Draw an “X” on the map to mark where you two will put the treasure. From there create landmarks on the map. Include large landmarks like the living room couch or the tree in the backyard. Have your child draw the images if he can’t spell yet. When he’s finished making the map, gently tear the edges making the paper look ragged. Moisten a tea bag and gently wipe it on the front and back of the map. Gently crumple it up into a ball then unwrap it. Lay it flat on a cookie sheet and allow it to dry over night. Use some cotton balls dabbed in cooking oil and wipe down the map with it. Dab off any extra oil left behind with paper towels. Let your map soak up the oil for a few minutes.
Mapping Fire Exits
Children should know where the fire exits are in the home. Use map making to teach your child evacuate if there were a fire. Start by giving your child a sheet of paper. With colored pencils your child should draw the exterior and interior walls of the home. Give him a ruler so that he can draw straight lines. If you like, loan him a measuring tape so that he can measure the home. Older children may want to map the home to scale. He should use a blue pencil to draw the exterior walls and a green one to draw the interior ones. Then have the child map the windows onto the picture with a yellow or orange pencil. Discuss with your child which window he should use if fire broke out. Have him draw the exits out of the home with red pencil. When he’s finished he could post his fire evacuation map on to the back of his door.