Make a Treasure Map
Edited by Kate Supino, Eng
How to Make a Treasure Map
This treasure map provides a fun way for your kids to entertain themselves in the backyard. Whether you want to give your only child an exciting afternoon, or give your child a little extra excitement on their birthday, this homemade treasure map is the perfect solution.
Planning the Treasure Journey
Of course, the most important part of this project is to have something great at the end of the treasure hunt. It can be a birthday gift, or just something special that your child will love to find. Ideas include:
A box of candy - Gold and silver foil-wrapped chocolates are ideal
A bag of old pennies - Your parents may have an old roll of pennies they've been saving
A box of old costume jewelry - You can often find these at yard sales
Plan the area. The map should be based loosely on a real location, such as your backyard, a public park or a nearby field. If you're using a public area, be sure you hide the treasure sufficiently so that no one but the treasure map holder will be able to find it.
Browse other treasure maps. When was the last time you saw a treasure map? Browse online images of treasure maps so you can get a general sense of what your map should look like.
Make a draft treasure map.
On a scrap piece of paper, draw out a draft treasure map. This will serve as a guideline for your actual treasure map, and help ensure you don't make mistakes on the final version. Be sure to discard the draft, or shred it after you've transferred the marks to the actual map, so little ones don't find it and see what you're up to.
Gather your materials.
You'll need parchment paper, scissors, lemon juice, cotton swabs, toothpicks, and a small round glass (for tracing).
Prepare the parchment paper.
Cut the parchment paper to size. Remember that treasure maps can be any size, and the bigger yours is, the easier it will be to draw details, and the easier it will be for your child to read. Conversely, the larger your map, the more details you'll need to fill in. Lay the paper out on a baking sheet and flatten the corners so you can draw your map details.
Make the compass.
Choose a corner on the parchment paper to make your compass. Place the glass down and trace a circle onto the paper lightly with a pencil. Mark the directions and fill in the compass with some decorative freehand scrolling, using a brown magic marker.
Write with lemon juice.
Pour some lemon juice into a small bowl. Use either the cotton swabs or toothpicks and dip the tips into the bowl of lemon juice. The lemon juice serves as the "ink." Transfer your marks from the draft map onto the parchment paper. The marks will be invisible now, but they'll turn up later.
Bake the paper.
Bake the parchment paper in an oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the marks appear on the paper. The paper should be sufficiently brown now, so it looks old. Tear the corners to achieve an even better effect.
Roll up and tie.
Roll the paper up and secure with twine or a ribbon for presentation to the young treasure hunter in your family!
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Recent edits by: Kate Supino