Treasure Map Story


This activity involves making your own pirate treasure map and using this to help write a story.

How it works

Draw a map of an island on a sheet of plain paper. Do it in pencil first, then when you’re happy with it go over the pencil with a black felt-tip pen.

  • Think of different landmarks such as an old shipwreck, a tall pile of stones, a pit of skeletons etc.
  • Include various terrains such as a forest, beach and mountain
  • Give you places and landmarks interesting or scary sounding names like ‘The pit of bones’ or ‘The lake of despair’
  • Think about where you want each of them to be on the map – which ones will be close together and which will be on opposite sides of the island? And most importantly – where is the treasure?
  • When you’ve finished, use a wet tea bag to stain it and tear the edges to make the map look really old

As you plan and draw your map, think of instructions you could write involving these different landmarks and terrains, such as ‘walk ten paces’, ‘head north west’, ‘cross the rapids’ etc.

This is a good chance to develop skills in sequential instructions and time-connectives such as: then, first, when, after that, finally.

It could be helpful for an adult to write some of these words out and you can work together to choose which ones to use then construct some instructions, without making the task about a checklist of words that need to be used. The main point is to have fun and be creative!

Creative writing activity

Use your map to make a story of finding treasure.

  • The different places on the map will help you create settings and dangers to face. For example, on your map you might have a thick jungle crawling with dangerous creatures, a swamp or river to navigate, a mountain or volcano to pass, hot rocks/lava, palm trees, caves etc.
  • The map and all its exciting features are a great basis for the plot of a story as the pirates go from place to place. Imagine the pirates walking through each part.
  • For your characters, think about your pirates:
    • What are they like: happy, grumpy, nervous, brave, silly, scary?
    • What dangers do they face?
    • What arguments might they have?
    • How will they work together to survive?
    • What will they have to do to find the treasure?
    • Will some bits be easy and others provide setbacks?

You now have the setting, characters and the plot line. Write a treasure-seeking adventure using these ideas. It can be as short as a few lines or as long as a few pages!