Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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Part art, part geography, a sketch map is a fun way to document a day outdoors with a creative touch. In her geography class, my 10-year-old daughter learned to create a sketch map which is the simplest sort of map kids can create. Based on actual observations, she hand drew a map of her school’s neighborhood with key features and a legend. School buildings, fruit store, bus stop – it had everything and was a cool snapshot of a walk she did around the block with her class. Could anyone do it based an an outdoors activity, I asked. Of course, she answered, it’s easy. And she showed me, turning a recent spring walk into a colorful and detailed sketch map.
If you want to turn family outdoor activities into keepsakes, sketch maps are a great way to remember a fun day out on paper. Here are illustrated steps on how to do one with your kids.
Is it a walk in the park with the family?
A treasure hunt for a birthday party?
A snow day?
A day at the beach to build sand castles?
A Sunday bike ride?
As long as there’s a starting point, en ending point and an activity in between, it’s all good.
For her sketch map, my daughter picked a spring walk at Kew Gardens in London that included an Easter egg hunt, lunch, a treetop walk, wild garlic spotting and playing boomerang. You can see the boomerang in flight in this photo. It took us a while to get it right!
Your kids don’t need to sketch map everything. In my daughter’s case, she left some activities out of the sketch map and decided to center her artwork on the largest Victorian greenhouse where she found the first clues for the Easter egg hunt. She could as well have decided to focus on the lawns where she played boomerang with her sister.
I love how sketch maps can tell a story by adding place names, details and their relationship, plus notes of the activities of the day. To draw the sketch maps, follow these steps:
Have fun learning about maps and creating your own!