Treasure maps and invisible ink

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Everyone loves some good pirate play. Little Feet A has a pirate outfit she likes to dress up in and recently we went to Sealife and stocked up on some more pirate related accessorises. You know a couple of swords, a hook, eye patches, compass and a telescope. Everything a pirate might need. These costumes are all lacking in one thing though. Pirates, a far as I can see, spend most of their time looking for treasure. And I be seeing no trrrrreasure map. So, it was time to rectify this. And so ourrr afternoon of pirating began. While Little Feet B slumbered, Blackbeard and One-eyed Skullywag were up to mischief. 

Yer, I did be getting jealous. So yer, I did be making meself arrr pirrrate hat. 

Yer, I did be getting jealous. So yer, I did be making meself arrr pirrrate hat. 

Now, I be One-Eyed Skullyway and I be sharrring a secret with you rrrreaders today. Did ye know that all the best pirrrate trrreasure maps are done with some invisible ink? You didn't? I be thinking as much. It is part of pirrrate treasure map law and I probably be rrrrisking me neck for telling yer. Lean in close and I'll tell yer. If you be using some squeezed lemon on paper, it'll dry invisible. The only way yer can find where the marks arree, arrre if you put heat on the paper. And bobs your peg leg just like mermaid magic, it be appearing before yer very eye! 

Blackbeard Mini Pirate Feet A's trrrreasure map

Blackbeard Mini Pirate Feet A's trrrreasure map

So, firrrst things firrrst. Gather up yer mini pirate feet and together create yer trrreasure map. Blackbeard mini pirate feet A and I had a whale's take of a time. She even drew most of the map. She be wanting to find herrr trrreasure on the Island of Backrocky, where the crocodile rrriver runs. So once she be done drawing and we be done labelling, I be telling her to go jump on the plank for a bit while I be painting an 'X' marks the spot with the ole' lemon juice. She be loving it so much, she let me make her a trrreasure map and then she be drawing a sneaky invisible X marks the spot too. I be havin as much fun as she be...or perrrhaps morrrre!

One-Eye Skullywag Big Feet's trrreasure map.

One-Eye Skullywag Big Feet's trrreasure map.

What you need: 

  • White paper
  • Black pen
  • Lemon juice in a bowl, fresh or in a bottle
  • Paintbrush 
  • Heat tool - hairdryer will do

Instructions:

  1. First things first. With your Mini Pirate Feet, decide on your pirate names. Very important.
  2. Now either together or separately begin to design your treasure map. Have a look on Google to give you some ideas of fun kids treasure maps. Talk about the different areas of your island, what are the different sections called? 
  3. Squeeze some lemon juice into a bowl and with the paintbrush paint an X on your map, indicating where your trrrreasure is buried. Let the lemon juice dry. Though it isn't completely invisible when it dries, it does dry invisible pretty well! 
  4. With the heat tool, (adult may need to do this part depending on capability of your child) start to aim the hot air at the paper. After a few minutes the invisible dried lemon juice will start to turn brown! And there you have the revealed X where you can find your treasure! Magic!
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Science behind it.

Lemon juice mostly dries invisible. Over time, the juice begins to react with the oxygen in the air and will turn brown. The addition of adding hot air to it, simply speeds up the browning process.

Blackbeard Mini Pirate Feet A and Mini Pirate Feet B (who be suspiciously wakin up just in time to be finding the Ice Lolly Loot)

Blackbeard Mini Pirate Feet A and Mini Pirate Feet B (who be suspiciously wakin up just in time to be finding the Ice Lolly Loot)