I will admit something embarrassing to you right here and now. Are you ready? My five year old son knows more state and country capitals than I do. Let’s just say geography has never been one of my strong points, which is pretty sad coming from someone who loves travel as much as I do!
There are many ways parents can help their children learn geography through simple and fun activities. It’s all about making it a part of their everyday life. You read the classic Blueberries for Sal to your child and point out Maine on the U.S. map. While at the local zoo you and your child spot some giraffes. When you get home you find Africa on the globe. So many topics pop up in our daily conversations that can easily spark a discussion about geography.
What are some other ways you can encourage learning geography?
Books about maps and understanding how they work:
A fun activity to do along with this picture book is to give kids a large piece of paper (large paper bags work great) and have them draw a bird’s eye view of their neighborhood. Perhaps they can show how to get from their home to a friend’s house or the grocery store.
Some great books to help learn the fifty states of America:
The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller
Smart About the Fifty States by Jon Buller
Don’t Know Much About the 50 States by Kenneth C. Davis
Some great board games to help children (and, uhhhh – adults too!) learn geography:
We own the first three of these games and they’re all simple to play and understand.
Keep a world map up somewhere in your house, as well as a U.S. map, (if you live in the U.S. of course) that is easily accessible to your child. Look at it often.
Talk about where one country is in relation to the other using the terms north, south, east, and west. Point out the northern and southern hemispheres. For younger children, ask simple questions such as, “If I live in the United States and I want to visit Australia, can I drive there?” Discuss the different bodies of water – ocean, rivers, lakes, ponds.
You could make your own puzzle by taking an old map, glueing it to a large piece of cardboard, and then cutting out puzzle pieces.
Try to travel as much as you can with your child.
Obviously, we can’t all jump on a plane whenever we’d like and travel to a foreign country (trust me – I’d be first in line). Just getting out in your own community and exposing children to all that there is to see is a great start. I’m a huge fan of road trips. I know, I know – I heard many of you groan at the idea. Road trips can be an economical way to see some sights, not to mention extremely educational.
This post is brought to you by Carissa at Will Travel by Foot!