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Check out this adorable Letter X preschool lesson … X Marks the Spot … complete with pirates, princesses, an island and a treasure hunt! Free printables for you to use or go ahead and create your own.
Letter X is one of the more challenging letters of the alphabet for preschool teachers to find themes. X is for Xylophone is the logical choice, or perhaps X is for Xray (especially if you add the superpower “Xray Vision” to it.) But, those possibilities seemed a little lack-luster to me. So, when I came up with X marks the Spot I was thrilled! It opened the door to an imaginative pirate theme complete with a real treasure hunt. Awesome!
Children love to play dressup and my young crew is no exception. Thirteen 3, 4 and 5 year olds in pirate – and princess – costumes is their dream come true! One little boy came with a handlebar mustache and black eye painted on his face(probably eye brow pencil) plus a Jack Sparrowesque bandana with hanging beads and dred locks! Talk about imagination! His mom tells me that when he came home from school he said “Mama, my costume was the best!” Yep, it was!
What I really loved was being able to incorporate very simple map reading skills and letter writing practice as they wrote the letter “X” on their maps! Additionally, with the help of the team leader (a teacher) they learned how to follow directions from clue to clue. Here is how we did it…
X Marks The Spot Preschool Treasure Hunt
Crayons – 1 each
Color-coded numbered clues
DIY Treasure Chest (wrapped gift box)
Print clues on colored paper –each team has a different color.
Write the number of the clue on the back.
Tape the clues in the correct locations according to the maps along the route you will have them follow.
Prepare a location to be the “island” with the treasure.*How to make it? → below
Set up your CD player at the island loaded with a CD for the hula dance.
Print a treasure map for each child and adult.
Secure the map to a clip board →so that they can mark an X through each clue as it is completed.
Have lots of fun.
Our class meets in a traditional school classroom. The hall has 8 doorways with a big open foyer at the end. The treasure maps are designed for two teams to play – pink team and green team.
We taped the clues to the wall (high enough for an adult to reach) in several locations as the maps directed. Each clue had the clue number on one side and the clue on the other side. Pink paper clues for Pink Team and green paper clues for Green Team.
Since most preschoolers do not read yet, the adult team leader did the reading for them.
In order to keep the teams from crowding in the same area, I made two maps with different directions keeping the teams away from each other. i.e. pink clue number 1 was taped next to green number 5, pink clue 2 was near green number 1, etc.
Starting with number 1, the teams would find the clue number with their team color and the team leader would read it aloud. As they followed the instructions, completing the task, each one would mark an X through that number on their treasure map.
Free Treasure Hunt Printables
This game has 6 clues. Each clue requires that the team do a simple challenge. For instance, clue #1 says “jump three times and turn around one time” Another clue says “whisper the ABC song.” The clues are written in rhyme to make them a little more mysterious. Every time a task is completed, players must put an X through the number of the clue on their map. This
a Letter X theme, afterall!
Clue #6 congratulates the players for making it all the way through…giving them final instructions to meet at the “island” back in the classroom to do the hula and find the treasure! (Prior to treasure hunt time, I had set up the island motif.)
How to make an “island” in a classroom: put 2 grass skirts on the floor near the wall where you will dance, kind of like the floor of a hut or a beach. On the wall, tape a long plastic decorative banner or tablecloth with parrots on it.
I purchased some very inexpensive plastic Hawaiian leis and had them on the floor. Each child picked one to wear. Our classroom Kids Praise CD has a song on it that sounds a little bit “tropical” so we danced the hula to it. (Cut #5 “Blessed Be Your Name”)
The treasure chest consisted of a glittery red box filled with bottles of bubbles . I put it inside a larger box and wrapped it in foil wrapping paper, placing a big letter X on the top. When it was time, my little kiddos ripped into it with glee!
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