What's The Point
The purpose of this activity is to help your child develop his/her understanding of direction (which way?), location (where?), and representation (what a drawing stands for). These skills will help your child in the future with map reading and navigation.
From the Virtual Pre-K: Ready For Math toolkit
This Activity Will Help Your Child
- Read a simple map
- Use position words to describe where an object is (e.g., next to, above, below, behind, between, under, over)
- As The Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps
by Gail Hartman
- Secret Birthday Message
by Eric Carle
Pencil or pen
A ‘treasure’ (e.g., a small toy, stuffed animal, a favorite photo, or unbreakable knick knack)
How Do I Do It?
Invite your child to play a hide-and-seek game with a "treasure" of your choosing. Draw a simple map of a room in your house as if you were looking down from the ceiling. Include 2 or 3 important objects in the room that will help guide your child, such as a table, bed, door, or closet. Then hide the "treasure" somewhere in the room. Mark the spot on the map where the treasure is hidden, and ask your child to use the map to find it. As your child looks for the treasure, give him/her clues by using position words. For example: "the treasure is next to the chair," or "between the pillows," or "under the table." When it is your child's turn to hide the treasure, show him/her how to mark its location on the map so you can find it.
Take It Further
Understanding even simple maps can be challenging for a young child. You may first want to try this activity by hiding your treasure and giving hints with only your words. For example: “It’s under something big and red that we sit on to watch TV.” or “It’s behind a door.” Once your child is familiar with the game and the position words you are using, you can then introduce the map.