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A Sea of Mermaids
(and other sea creatures)


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Don't Just Sit There!

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Make a treasure map of your favorite book, an imaginary place, your own kingdom or realm, an underwater world of mermaids, your home, your neighborhood, or somewhere you have lived, visited, or want to travel to someday! The possibilities are endless.

Here's what to do:

1. Tear apart a big, brown paper bag until you have a big, flat piece. (Don't worry about the store name or ads on the outside--we'll be using the blank, back side of the bag.)

2. Now tear off the straight edges of your flat piece of paper so it doesn't look like a paper bag anymore. Tear the outer edges of the paper into bays and coves, peninsulas, etc. to look like a natural terrain. (Look at some real maps to get an idea of how jaggedy and unusual some real shorelines look). Optional: Some treasure map-makers like to scrunch up and smooth out the paper, scrunch and smooth, over and over again at this point, to make the paper feel old, worn, and authentic.

3. Think about what you want to draw.

4. You might want to start with a compass rose to show North, South, East, & West.

5. Think about what land forms and features you want to draw on your map: Rivers, coves, bays, swamps, waterfalls, quick-sand, forests, mountains, trails, etc.

6. You might want to add a key to explain the features on your map.

7. Use wide and thin markers to draw all the details on your map. (If you use permanent markers, you can later use watered-down green, yellow, and blue watercolor paints to add a touch of color wash to your map without worrying about your marker colors smearing).

8. Add fun details like mermaids, dolphins, sea dragons, or pirate ships in the water; and glitter or sparkles to show where any treasure might be.

9. Outline the edges of your map in black or another dark color to highlight the boundary of your map.

10. If you hide some secret treasure around your home, yard, or school, you can draw a map with a certain number of steps in various directions to find "X marks the spot," and let your family or friends use your map to find the treasure!

11. Teachers, if you cover a large bulletin board with blue paper, then display your students' maps atop the blue, they'll look like islands surrounded by the sea.

12. Once you've finished your map, you might want to write or tell a story about it. You can also make paper or wooden characters to inhabit the island or world you've created.

By the way, if you'd like an author visit from Lynn Hazen to your school, library, or writers' group, please check out Lynn's Author Visit Page.

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