Rainy Day World-Building

Geek Culture

This past weekend, it rained nearly non-stop in our area on both
Saturday and Sunday.  To pass some time, a couple of the kids and I worked on making our own pirate treasure maps (but how we did it is a post for later this Pirate Week).  In the process, we each started building the worlds that our treasure maps belonged to and had a ton of fun along the way.

I’ve really enjoyed Michael Harrison’s “How to Build a World”
series on GeekDad (Part
, Part
, and Part
), so I used some of those suggestions as we worked on our maps.
We started with the outside-in approach.  Each of us drew the major land areas, lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests, and then started filling in some of the details around these areas.

My map had grasslands that eventually turned to more arid places so I didn’t color the map green from a certain imaginary line across a couple of land areas.  That sparked some questions, “why didn’t you color there Dad?”  So I explained, and more questions flowed.  I turned the questions around and asked why they were doing things and what different areas on their maps meant.

Now their creative juices were going. The stories of the River of
Death or areas where lots of ships had been lost in a whirlpool kept coming.  Each child built their stories off of ideas sparked by something someone else had said, so they would pause and change their map a bit to add a little more detail.  I guess in some ways, it could be related to Spore and how your world-building influences the world-building of other players.

In the end, the kids had some wonderful maps and several good stories about their worlds.  The map-making took maybe an hour, but then relating the stories to GeekMom and re-telling them took another half-hour.  When the GeekTeen woke up (just in time for lunch) they showed the maps and retold some of the stories.

The stories and map-making gave them the idea of going on a treasure hunt (since they had treasure maps). Then some blankets, pillows, boxes, baskets, and stuffed animals (along with an occasional
“Arrrr!”) helped bring to the 3-D world of our living room the hidden caverns and dangerous caves they had imagined with paper and marker earlier that morning.

So, if you’ve ever got a rainy Saturday morning and a couple hours,
I’ve got an idea for you…

Image from Wikimedia Commons

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