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Children love to play dressup and my young crew is no exception. Thirteen 3, 4 and 5 year olds in pirate – and princess – costumes is their dream come true! One little boy came with a handlebar mustache and black eye painted on his face (probably eye brow pencil) plus a Jack Sparrowesque bandana with hanging beads and dred locks! Talk about imagination! His mom tells me that when he came home from school he said “Mama, my costume was the best!” Yep, it was!
X Marks The Spot Preschool Treasure Hunt
Print clues on colored paper –each team has a different color.
Write the number of the clue on the back.
Tape the clues in the correct locations according to the maps along the route you will have them follow.
Prepare a location to be the “island” with the treasure.*How to make it? → below
Set up your CD player at the island loaded with a CD for the hula dance.
Print a treasure map for each child and adult.
Secure the map to a clip board → so that they can mark an X through each clue as it is completed.
Our class meets in a traditional school classroom. The hall has 8 doorways with a big open foyer at the end. The treasure maps are designed for two teams to play – pink team and green team.
We taped the clues to the wall (high enough for an adult to reach) in several locations as the maps directed. Each clue had the clue number on one side and the clue on the other side. Pink paper clues for Pink Team and green paper clues for Green Team.
Since most preschoolers do not read yet, the adult team leader did the reading for them.
In order to keep the teams from crowding in the same area, I made two maps with different directions keeping the teams away from each other. i.e. pink clue number 1 was taped next to green number 5, pink clue 2 was near green number 1, etc.
Starting with number 1, the teams would find the clue number with their team color and the team leader would read it aloud. As they followed the instructions, completing the task, each one would mark an X through that number on their treasure map.
Clue #6 congratulates the players for making it all the way through…giving them final instructions to meet at the “island” back in the classroom to do the hula and find the treasure! (Prior to treasure hunt time, I had set up the island motif.)
How to make an “island” in a classroom: put 2 grass skirts on the floor near the wall where you will dance, kind of like the floor of a hut or a beach. On the wall, tape a long plastic decorative banner or tablecloth with parrots on it.
I purchased some very inexpensive plastic Hawaiian leis and had them on the floor. Each child picked one to wear. Our classroom Kids Praise CD has a song on it that sounds a little bit “tropical” so we danced the hula to it. (Cut #5 “Blessed Be Your Name”)
The treasure chest consisted of a glittery red box filled with bottles of bubbles.* I put it inside a larger box and wrapped it in foil wrapping paper, placing a big letter X on the top. When it was time, my little kiddos ripped into it with glee!
*This year (2022) the weather is supposed to be cold and rainy so I ordered a set of little containers of play-doh to give to my kiddos as their prize instead of bubbles (which they would surely want to use as soon as they get them!) We will have 13 children in our class so each of them can pick three colors for their very own and happily play with them inside!