I’ve recently finished reading Treasure Island in the original and unabridged language with my son. In Treasure Island, young Jim Hawkins travels across the ocean to a remote island, where the crew of the ship mutiny and turn out to be pirates! They spent plenty of time on the beaches of Treasure Island, and both my son and I enjoyed the setting, the intrigue, and the final result of their treasure hunt. To celebrate our finishing the book, I wanted to do something fun! Why not have a backyard treasure hunt in our backyard “island”?
Reading Treasure Island
First, I just want to say that I love the Usborne Illustrated Originals because they are 100% true to the original and yet they have plenty of appeal to younger readers. The artwork is perfectly spaced through the book for me and my son to enjoy, and the typeface is not too small. Treasure Island is no exception! Sometimes the format of these public domain works turn readers off from the delightful stories. Not the Usborne Illustrated Originals!
I also want to add that although the language in classics like this is more challenging than more modern read aloud books, I do not think it is expecting to much of our children to expect them to sit through it and enjoy it! These were the first children’s books, after all. We need to hold our young ones to a higher standard than we sometimes give them credit for.
Learning to Use a Compass for a Treasure Hunt
That said, our focus for our Treasure Hunt Day was simply to learn how to use a compass and follow directions. While my son was away at day camp, I made a “map” of our backyard. It is not to scale, and it was simply for fun to pretend it was the treasure map like Jim Hawkins found in the Old Buccaneer’s chest in Treasure Island. Our deck was the ocean, and the steps leading down to the grass was the sandy shore of our island. My son had to stay in the yard, as that was our “island.”
I counted paces in various directions and set up a hunt for my son. I put a treasure (ok, some candy!) in a container and hid it. Because we have wild animals, I did not want to leave it for long, so my son did the treasure hunt right away after I hid the candy. (Plus there was chocolate and I did not want it to melt!)
My son enjoyed learning to use the compass and following the directions. He especially loved finding the treasure and heading to our “stockade” (that is, the playset) to eat it! Strawberry enjoyed running along for the duration of the hunt. She had “helped” me make the treasure hunt.
In the end, our backyard treasure hunt was fun end to reading the book. I think my son will not forget the “landmarks” we created on our own treasure island.