X Marks the spot! A fun way to introduce children to map reading

Ella Meek By Ella Meek

Map reading is a good skill to have in life; being able to find a grid reference, use a compass and read contour lines might even save your life one day. Ella (age 11) shows you how!

Understanding a map can be quite difficult for kids – it can be a bit complicated – and to make kids want to learn how to read a map, we need to make it fun.

I would like to share an idea that I came up with a few years ago that encouraged my friend to map read.

Here’s what I did

I walked around the estate to her house, making a simple, visual map of the area. Then I drew a mini map of what I saw on the back of a picture that I drew and cut it up into pieces (like a home-made jigsaw). I put all the pieces in an envelope and excitedly walked to my friend’s house. I posted it through her door with a little note and ran off before she could see me.

Draw your map, and then cut up into a jigsaw

Draw your map, and then cut up into a jigsaw

Ella with the map ready to deliver

Ella with the map ready to deliver

I had challenged her to piece together the picture, turn it over and look at the map. She then had to navigate to the treasure marked on the map, collect it and then come to our house to play. While she was solving the puzzle, I buried a prize in the ‘X marks the spot’ area and waited until she arrived – I was excited to see if she would manage it! When my friend got to our house she had a big smile on her face as she finished eating the hidden chocolate coins.

This mini map challenge encourages children to look for where they are on a map, find their way round the streets and find the treasure! It is a fun, simple challenge to get children map reading and doing this challenge will make them think of map reading as a fun thing to do.

Ella Meek By Ella Meek

About:

Ella Meek is the youngest of the Meek family. In 2014 the family decided to help Ella and Amy learn in the outdoors instead of a traditional classroom, and they now write and film their adventures. You can find out more about the family on their blog, DoTryThisAtHome.com, or on their #Getoutside page.

Ella wants to be an explorer and adventurer when she grows up.

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