Orienteering Scavenger Hunts Using a Map and Compass

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Orienteering Scavenger Hunts


This past weekend was Father’s Day and my middle son, Gage’s birthday.  What did we do?  We all learned how to use a compass! How? By Orienteering Scavenger Hunts using a map and compass. As you probably have already read, in our Paths of Exploration Columbus Unit: Lesson 1, Part 1 study, we learned about the compass. We did all the worksheets for the compass in our POE student notebook, we printed out a great compass work from Montessori Print Shop. We even made  our own compass… but we didn’t learn how to use one, especially when using bearings and degrees.  That’s where orienteering comes into play. On Father’s Day, my hubby David was busy setting up a scavenger hunt for the boys and their best friend, Austin!  Each received their own packet, which contained, a compass and directions to find a treasure at the end of their individual courses. 

How to use a Compass LessonWe started inside with a quick lesson on how to use a compass.  I found some great instructions here and here.  But, that inside lesson was not as effective as we thought it would be.    

Once outside, they each opened their packets and read through their direction. After studying their packet a minute or two, they all decided they needed another lesson that was practical instead of theoretical … good thing that is our educational philosophy. In our homeschool and on our farm, it’s all about hands-on learning, we learn it while doing it!

Chase was the first to finish!  They all loved this project and each found their treasure Finished Firstsuccessfully. More importantly, they loved learning how to use a compass and hunting for an object … see the smile on Chase’s face! For those curious, here is the compass we got for each of the boys.  They were not expensive and Silva is highly regarded in the orienteering world.  They all worked well and were easy to use and read.  

This was their treasure they found at the end of their scavenger hunt.  You don’t know what mini-figure you are getting and could find a Mr. Gold in their packet. (No Mr. Golds were in these though.)

Orienteering Treasures Found


Did you know Orienteering is considered a competitive sport? Here is a link to one of the Orienteering sites to teach you more about this fun sport. There are many orienteering teams around the US too, but unfortunately, none in TN or MS.  Here is a link to see if they have one in your area.  If you decide to do this with your children, please post a link to your post below!  The boys LOVED the scavenger hunt and my hubby loved setting up the course!  We will be doing this again and soon!  Here are a few more pictures of the boys in action:  

One final note, we learned today that one of the authors of Paths of Exploration, Debbie Strayer passed away over the weekend.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and the good folks at Geography Matters!!! 

Until Next Time…


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Trish Corlew

Founder and Author at Live and Learn Farm
Trish has been married to her best friend, David, for 16 years and they have three sons (aged 13, 12 and 9). Trish is from the coast of North Carolina, but they now live in rural West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. She has been homeschooling since 2009 and her homeschool style leans towards a Montessori approach with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. They also own a small business that Trish runs from home. Trish’s family is Messianic and they love studying the Scriptures, learning Hebrew and growing in their faith and walk daily. In her spare time, Trish loves to write, work in their garden and can regularly be found trying to learn something new, modeling that learning is indeed a life-long endeavor!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful POE ideas! This is going to make the road ahead much easier for me! I have been enjoying your blog and Pinterest boards for weeks now. It’s been fun to learn about your family and homeschool/life projects. We too are believers, have 3 boys, homeschool, and live on a farm. It’s an eventful life that we feel we’re blessed to live!

    • Wow Fran! We sound like we have so much in common!! I am so excited to “meet” you! Please feel free to share your ideas and projects too! I can’t wait to hear how you and your family are using these ideas (and modifying) as you start working through some of them. It will be fun for me to see others using them. You know it’s not much fun when you blog and what you do goes into the never-never-land of cyberspace to never be thought of again. But it is so rewarding to blog and know that somebody is actually not only reading them, but using the ideas with their own children! I really am looking forward to your comments, thoughts and suggestions! Thank you so much for joining us! You have been such a blessing to me this morning! Thank you!!

  2. Hi,
    Great to meet you. I am following you at Hip Homeschool. I love this orienteering blog. Kids and adults must learn how to read a map – how to follow directions. Sounds like a great activity.
    Janis http://www.janiscox.com

    • Hey Janis! It was so much fun! And it’s not as hard as I thought it would be to learn to read a compass. The boys are ready for another, more complicated scavenger hunt to be designed for them! I feel sure we will be doing this regularly! Thank you for commenting and let me know if you guys design a course!

    • PS… I’m Trish 🙂

  3. I actually ended up pinning this under geography because in my mind it’s a bit more of a geography post (you should link up over at All Things Beautiful for her goegraphy/history linkie).
    I need to work with the kids on this skill, because I have to admit, I’m horrid at it. Absolutely horrid. My boys seem to be born with the ability to find where they are.
    Thanks for linking to Science Sunday!

    • Thanks Ticia! I’ll go over and find that linkie! Thank you!! This is a FUN activity to learn how to read a compass. I am the same way… we call it “directionally challenged” around here! My hubby and the boys are the same way…. maybe it’s a girl / guy thing ? 🙂

  4. This is a fantastic post. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

    • Thanks Phyllis! Ticia over at Mommydom suggested I visit your geography and history blog hop! Love it!!! I will be visiting your blog regularly! Thanks for visiting! Trish

  5. Great post! We love Orienteering .. I have a simple course I use with younger kids and we hope to get involved in some local events someday soon. 🙂

  6. thanks! Will check to see if we have one close. My son would love it!

    • My boys did too! Even my hubby loved setting up the course and hiding the “loot” and documenting it all. A win/win when the course creator and the course followers both love it 🙂 We will do this one again (soon)!

  7. What a creative and intelligent way to engage and educate! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Great post! I keep thinking of learning orienteering with my daughters, but have yet to follow through 🙂 A scavenger hunt just might be the way. (hopped over here from history & geography meme)


  1. […] at Live and Learn Farm she shared two posts about compasses, the second one is about orienteering, and it’s a great idea to incorporate into your nature study.  The first is how to make a […]

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