- Sophie &Friends
We were recently hired to handle the children's activities at a housewarming party. A big component of the day was beach games and sandcastle building. Super Fun! The challenge was getting to the beach. It was a bit of a hike. Also, because this was an open house, guests would be arriving at all different times, meaning kids would need to come and go to the beach in waves. I needed to find a way to turn the walk into an adventure. So I came up with the idea of creating a “treasure map” that would lead the kids to our beach spot. The final hurdle was the ages range. We were expecting children from 4 to 14 – so how to accommodate all levels of reading and comprehension?
After playing with rhyming clues, numbered locations, and arrows placed at strategic spots, I came up with a simple solution: a map with photographs of items along the way. The photos would serve as landmarks to guide the kids on their expedition. Here’s how the map ended up.
The map worked like a charm, and it got me thinking. This might be a fun idea for a road trip, with images of items you will pass on your way. Or a birthday surprise, leave one dangling from your child’s doorway, so that when they wake up they have to hunt for their family. Or any time that you want the kids to actually walk to a location!
You could even include one in your invitation for getting to a party location that is difficult to find.
To make my map, all I did was scout the location ahead of time and take photos of interesting objects, buildings, and signposts along the way. I made sure to look for large, unique, noticeable items. I then downloaded the photos and arranged them on a treasure map background. Using a fun assortment of arrows and some simple words, I kept the kids on track.
I did this all on my computer using the amazing Adobe Illustrator, however, you don’t have to be tech savvy to do this. Here’s the “down and dirty” method. If you have sticker paper, use that to print the photos and arrows (or use regular paper and a glue stick).
1. Download and print the attached map background on regular paper (or use your own design).
2. Download and resize your photos so they are about 1 to 1.5 inches high – make sure you can tell what they are. All of your photos should fit on half a page (this will allow space for arrows and words). Print and cut out photos.
3. Download my arrow PDF, print, and cut out the arrows you like.
4. Place all the items on the map. Do not secure the items until the whole map is
designed (it’s a bummer when you realize you don’t have enough room for the last
two steps and you’ve already secured everything in place).
5. Once you have a layout you like, secure all the pieces to the map. Hand write any short notes you think necessary.
6. To make multiple copies you can either scan or Xerox your original.
7. For a final touch, roll the map into a scroll and secure with a ribbon.
It’s jobs like this one that keep me on my toes, and make my workdays exciting. As my Pop Yocom always said – “getting there should be half as fun as being there!”