Pirate Treasure Maps for Teaching Mapping Skills

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Do you have a child who loves pirates? Or maybe a child who loves maps? Or possibly a child who loves both pirates and maps? If so, be sure to try out these ideas for using pirate treasure maps for teaching mapping skills! Even if your child isn’t particularly interested in maps, you’ll likely be able to interest him or her in this treasure map activity!

Why should kids learn map skills when we can use a GPS instead?

1. There are many skills your children can learn from map activities! 

  • spatial skills – Spatial skills allow us to understand (literally) where we are in space. They help us understand where other objects are located and where we are in comparison–whether we’re being still or moving. That translates into our ability to understand where cities, states, and countries are in relation to our own city, state, or country.
  • cardinal directions – Drawing and using maps helps children learn and understand the four cardinal directions north, east, south, and west.
  • symbols – Children can learn to understand how symbols are used to represent buildings, bridges, roads, lakes, etc.
  • how to use a compass – Drawing and then using maps is a great way to motivate children to learn to use a compass.

2. There are reasons it’s important to understand how to use paper maps.

  • Paper maps don’t lose wireless signal or power.
  • Paper maps create a map in your head that better allows us to understand where we are and where we are traveling.
  • Paper maps make us an integral part of our travel as we participate in navigation.
  • Using paper maps helps us process information, use thinking skills, and keep our brains working well!


Adjust the requirements for this activity depending on the ages/grade levels of your children.




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