Recently in our homeschool, we spent some time studying the early explorers. We had a lot of fun with this unit, especially with some of the additional hands-on activities we did. Our favorite activity, however, was when we went on our very own treasure hunt.
How to Make a Realistic Treasure Map Using Wondermaps
My girls are still elementary age, so they still really enjoy reenacting events we study in our homeschool. Since children learn best through play, I decided to create a realistic map and set out on a treasure hunt re-enactment.
Find your map using the Wondermaps software
To make our realistic treasure map, I used the Wondermaps software to help me get started. I chose one of our favorite explorers from our recent studies so we could re-enact their journey.
After loading the Wondermaps software, I clicked on “historical maps” since this was the time frame we were studying. For your own treasure hunt, you can click on whichever option works best for you (with Wondermaps, you can make historical, thematic, worldwide and U.S. maps).
Once I found which map I wanted to use, I began to play around with the different settings. These settings helped me add or remove key map features such as colors, city names, rivers and streams, and so much more.
When I had my map selected and ready to go, I saved it to my desktop on my computer so I could easily find it later when I was ready to print.
How to Age Paper
The trick to making your treasure map look as authentic as possible is to use a piece of paper that looks aged. The more aged your paper looks, the more realistic your treasure map will look.
Unfortunately, many of us do not typically have already-aged paper lying around. In this case, you will have to take matters into your own hands.
One of the more realistic looking methods of aging your paper (and also my favorite) is to stain it using coffee or tea and set it out to dry. Some like to bake their paper in the oven for a “crunchier” paper while others simply let it air dry (use extreme caution if using the oven method).
If you don’t want to bother with staining your paper, there are other options that are more time efficient and make less of a mess:
- Scrapbook paper
- Kraft Paper
- Old brown paper grocery bag
- Tan or other light brown colored construction paper
Here are a few more ideas for an authentic looking, antique paper:
Stationary Paper – Old Fashion Aged Classic Vintage Antique Design – Double Sided – 6 Colored Designs – For Arts, Crafts, Maps, Certificates, Invitations – 96 Sheets Total – 100gsm, 8.5Roylco Design Craft Paper AntiqueRoylco R15286 Antique Paper, 8-3/4 x 1150 Old Aged Parchment 60lb Text Weight 8.5 X 11 inches Stationery Paper Colored Sheets Letter Size -Printable Old Parchment Semblance
Once you have chosen which paper you would like to use, cut it down to the proper size for your printer. You are now ready to print the map you created earlier onto your aged paper.
Once the map is printed, you can crumple and uncrumple the paper as many times as necessary to complete its aged look (some papers may not need this extra step).
Set Off to Find Buried Treasure
When all of these steps are completed, your children will have an authentic looking treasure map to accompany them on their hunt. They will feel as if they too are an early explorer traveling the oceans of the world in search of gold and treasure.
Have you tried using the Wondermaps software yet? If so, you know there are other ways to use the software to enhance your geography studies. Share some of your own ideas in a comment below.