The Cat in the Hat looking at a map with Nick and Sally.

Exploring Space by Hunting for Treasure

Did you know that treasure hunts are a great way to support early math learning? This fun activity helps build foundational math and social skills like following directions!

While You Play

Being able to describe an object’s position in space relative to other nearby objects is a basic math concept that your child will use a lot later in life, especially when learning geometry. You can begin laying the foundation for spatial awareness by helping your child to learn the vocabulary that describes objects’ positions. These are words and phrases like between, under, over, next to, above, inside and outside.

To get started, talk with your child about where things are relative to where they are standing. Ask questions like, “What do you see behind you? What is in front of you? When you look up, what do you see above your head? What is under your feet?”


  • Container, like a box or bag, to be the “treasure chest”
  • Small objects (toys, books, candies, pack of crayons) to be the “treasure”
  • Paper
  • Marker or pen


  1. Ask your child to help you make a “treasure chest” by putting a collection of small objects in a box or bag.
  2. Hide the treasure in your house or backyard. Make sure your child doesn’t see the secret location!
  3. Write a series of clues (about five) that will lead your child to the “treasure.” The first clue will lead to the first location, where the child finds the next clue, and so on. Include position vocabulary in each clue. For example: You’ll find the next clue under the table in the dining room.
  4. Place the clues in their appropriate locations. If your child is not old enough to read, you can read the clues to them.
  5. For older kids, try repeating the activity and have your child write and hide the clues!

This craft comes to you from the creators of The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!

Iowa PBS STEAM Activities and Crafts provided by PBS KIDS Parents.