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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Make a matchbox map

Draw out your favourite walk or journey and make this pocket-sized map.

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You’ll need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Coloured pens or pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Rulers
  • A4 card
  • A4 paper
  • Craft materials (for example, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, stickers)
  • Craft matchboxes
  • Felt tips
  • OS Maps or copies of instructions for a local walk (optional)

Before you begin 

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. There's also more guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples.
  • Make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers. 

Planning and setting up this activity 

  • You may want to have some examples for people to use.
  • Always use craft matchboxes in this activity, as they come without any strikers, which is the part normally used to light matches. 

Making the craft 

  1. Gather everyone together and ask them to think of their favourite trip, a journey they want to go on or a walk they like to do. Some people may wish to share theirs with the group.
  2. Tell everyone their going to make a matchbox map to help them to share this trip, walk or journey. 
  3. You could ask people to plot out a walk you’re going on using features from an OS Map and they could then use their maps to try to spot the features while on the route.
  4. Hand out pens and paper, then ask everyone to draw out their journey on paper, so they know what their map will look like.
  5. When they’re ready, everyone needs to take a matchbox and pull out the drawer.
  6. Use a ruler to measure the length of the drawer, so the longest side.
  7. Next, use this measurement to create a strip of paper to fit inside the drawer. You can do this by taking an A4 piece of paper and measuring out the length of the drawer from one edge. Mark a dot, then do this again on the other side of the paper. Use a ruler to connect the two dots together, then cut out the paper strip with scissors. 
  8. Take the paper strip and fold it to make it into a concertina or paper accordion, which each fold being the same width as the matchbox. It should look like a zig-zag. 
  9. On one side of the paper strip, draw out your map. Remmebr to include a start and an end. You can do this however you like. You could draw out the landmarks, then connect them together with a dotted line or footprints. 
  10. Try to add any instructions, such as ‘Turn left at the postbox’.
  11. You may also wish to decorate the back of the paper or add some detailed instructions, such as the location’s postcode.
  12. When you’re ready, glue one end of the strip into the matchbox. 
  13. Finally, decorate the outside of the matchbox, again you can do this however you like. You could say where your matchbox is a map of.
  14. Your matchbox map is ready to use – share it with a friend and show them your journey! 


This activity was all about our favourite journeys and making a map of it. Which journey, walk or route did you choose? Why did you choose this one? 

What did you include on your map? You may have used a map to help you or used landmarks you remembered. Why did you choose these or why are these important on your route?  

Lots of maps use landmarks or features. Why do these features or landmarks help us when using bigger maps or giving directions to others? They help us to know we’re on the right path and to help find our way, as well as tell us where we are on the map. It might help us to work out how much time we have left choose? 

How could a matchbox map help us on an upcoming journey? It might help us plan the route and pick out the key landmarks or features we need to see to know we’re on the right path. Do you think someone could tell where they were going from your map? Did you include a start and end too?  

You may have found it hard to know what to include. What would you change if you made a map again? What do you like about other people’s maps? If you got stuck, or saw someone who got stuck, did you ask for help or choose to help them? Why’s it important to help each other? And why might you want to ask a friend for help when map reading? Asking someone for help can help you to double check where you are and know you’re in the right place. 


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Glue and solvents

Always supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions that could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Rubbish and recycling

All items should be clean and suitable for this activity.

Visits away from your meeting place

Complete a thorough risk assessment and include hazards, such as roads, woodland, plants, animals, and bodies of water (for example, rivers, ponds, lakes, and seas). You’ll probably need more adult helpers than usual. Your risk assessment should include how many adults you need. The young people to adult ratios are a minimum requirement. When you do your risk assessment, you might decide that you need more adults than the ratio specifies. Think about extra equipment that you may need to take with you, such as high visibility clothing, a first aid kit, water, and waterproofs. Throughout the activity, watch out for changes in the weather and do regular headcounts. 

  • To make this craft easier, you may wish to pre-cut the paper strips.  
  • To make this craft harder, get people to draw OS Map symbols to mark out the journey on their map.
  • People could also use stickers. They could also cut out and stick images onto their map, rather than draw them. 

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.