Kiwi Co terms this their Treasure Hunt crate, based around a treasure chest and search for pirate booty. The projects are an excellent jumping off point to teach kids all about the science of cartography, a.k.a. map making. Thanks to the treasure chest and gold pieces, this one is sure to appeal to kids of pretty much any age!
First up was making the treasure, Embossed Coins. Travis pondered very seriously how best to design each of the 3 provided gold coins, popping out templates of Steve the Kiwi and numbers.
He didn’t quite understand how these could become coins until we covered his design with a gold sticker. Press down and – voila! – the design underneath appears!
This had definite wow factor, even more so once running over the design with a q-tip for better embossing.
Next, he traded coin minting for carpentry, and put together the Treasure Chest. He was a bit distracted looking ahead (a key! a lock!) but I guided his attention back to building the chest first. This involved slotting together pieces for the base and lid, and lining up letters to make sure each piece was in the right slot. I appreciated how intuitive Kiwi Co made this step!
A wooden dowel is then inserted to hold the lid to the base.
To add a swashbuckling touch, use a pipe cleaner to thread the provided rope through the chest’s latch. Add the silver lock. Travis loved practicing with the key over and over!
We securely locked away our gold coins and it was time to Make a Treasure Map. This activity was absolutely fantastic for getting Travis to think about how objects look from above. (I had him imagine he was a bird; in what shape would the bird perceive our couch, our coffee table, etc.).
There was a marked difference between his first effort (mapping our living room)…
…and his second attempt (mapping the hallway).
The provided pen is one of those fun ones with 3 colors of ink. We added a red X on each map for the treasure and a blue star for the start. He loved then hiding the treasure chest and sending me on a hunt.
Then we flipped roles; I made a map of the kitchen and he had to puzzle it through.
The booklet had a great explanation for kids about how they’re using math in this activity, everything from transferring 3D objects (solids) into 2D pictures, to the ideas of estimation and measurements.
As a bonus, we made Silver Pirate Coins for extra booty. Cut circles from thin cardboard (like a cereal box), then add other pieces of cut cardboard or patterns in glue on top.
Let dry, then cover with foil and use a q-tip again to make your design stand out. We decided this worked way better on the cut cardboard version rather than the glue version.
As always, Explore magazine had loads more information and activities to try, including another map to draw according to a provided legend.
For some fun reading to compliment this crate, check out Mapping & Navigation by Cynthia Light Brown or Small World: Maps and Mapmaking by Karen Romano Young.