Following a blog post in "Childhood 101", we've created an Adventure Box in the sitting room. It currently contains: walkie-talkies, pretend phones, a compass, torches, small fishing nets, bug viewers, binoculars, leaf/flower/mushroom/butterfly identification swatches, and other similar bits and pieces.
After a few days I realised that it really needed a map or two. I have plans to cut down an out-of-date superfluous OS map to use, but I thought that some hand-made maps were required too.
This week while Bug was napping I set to work with C to make our "Treasure Map". We'd been talking about it for a few days, so he had some ideas that he wanted to work on. I started out by getting him to draw the outline of an island, and then we talked about things that we could include. I drew a couple of items in (the volcano, river and swamp) and then he got the idea and started drawing things on as well. He drew in a play park and a rain-forest. Between us we filled in the spaces on the map and then coloured it in together.
I then talked about how we could make the map look old. He nodded, but was still horrified when I screwed it up. After I flattened it out and then screwed it up and flattened it out again a couple of times he got the idea that this was part of the effect, not because I was throwing it away!
Next he insisted that I go and make a cup of tea. Earlier in the week I had mentioned the use of a cold, damp tea-bag to make the map look older, and since the screwing up effect had worked so well, he was keen to see how this one would work.
Making this map took under an hour, and it was a really lovely collaborative hour - definitely time well spent. He also came away from it with new ideas about how to make things look old, ideas about drawing different things, a little geographical and map-work knowledge, and of course a treasure map that he is delighted with. Later that afternoon we took a trip out in the car to visit a museum and park that we hadn't been to before (Calendar House and Park in Falkirk for anybody who lives in central Scotland, well worth a visit), and C took his map with him in the car, so that he could give me directions.