The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything sent my boys into a never-ending pirates phase:"RRRR! It's a fine day at sea, Mom!" So I thought I'd pass around yesterday's successful game at our house. Bonus: It also gives them beginning map-reading, direction-following, problem-solving, and spatial skills.
1) Choose and hide a treasure. I'm sure you can surprise older kids, but my two preschoolers might be looking all day and taking a lot of things that they considered treasure as their own (it can be something new, or just a toy they like, or a piece of candy).
2) Draw a simple map. I drew a dotted line for the path to take since they're preschoolers...and since Dora does it.
3) If they're into it, encourage costumes. Nothing like looking the part of a treasure hunter, pirate, explorer, etc. Baden and Will like to look like all three.
4) After round 1, consider switching sides: You're the explorer! Baden drew a pretty good map for me (we're always looking for a chance to get a pencil in his hand...boys and fine motor skills). Just wish the treasure was the cell phone I've been missing for a week.
Have fun, mateys.