Do you remember taking geography classes as a kid? What do you remember from those classes? The population of Russia? Who fought on which side on what war? Which country technically holds claim to Santa’s workshop? (I’ve been told it’s Canada…for now)
I remember approximately none of it.
What I do remember is the names of the Great Lakes because we visited each of them in turn and even swam in some. I remember that California is the home to amazing coastlines, huge and old trees, incredible beaches, and some really hot deserts. Because we visited them. We drove through a tree…literally.
I love following my children’s lead but at the same time, there are some areas I’d really like to explore to them. I know I need to make it interesting if I want them to actually learn anything. There must be something that piques their interest, or they won’t actually learn anything. And call me crazy, but I don’t want to waste my time teaching something that they aren’t actually going to learn!
The trick is to make the information meaningful. There are multiple ways to do these and we use three, in particular.
- Living Books
- In person events
The first two are relatively easy, but the last one is all about taking advantage of opportunity. Sometimes you can visit places and sometimes you cannot.
Using Living Books to Enhance Learning
You might be thinking “what are living books?”. It’s a common thought but the idea is really quite solid.
Living books are books that bring a story to life. They’re the books that you just cannot put down. For kids, these books grab their attention and refuse to let go.
I put a lot of time into searching for good books for the boys to delve in to because I know the difference a good book can make. A book that brings the topic to life for them will actually enhance their learning and enjoyment of the subject!
Here are some living books to check out for a map unit study:
Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
This booklet comes in my Hands on Map Unit! Available below!
Using Crafts and Activities to Learn Geography
Bringing a topic to life for kids makes an incredible difference and we often do that through crafts and activities. Through crafts and activities we can focus on meaningful information that they can touch, see, smell, hear, and sometimes even taste.
One of the activities in this set involves comparing a globe to a flat map. What is wrong with flat maps? Well, let’s look and see!
The Hands On Map Unit Study Details
I’ve created a hands on map unit that is meant to engage kids in learning how to read a map, different types of maps, and how maps work in general. My goal is to have kids interested and invested in learning about maps. Why? Because I have a really big, fantastic, and totally fun geography set coming up. But they need to know how to read maps first!!
The unit study includes a booklet with a lot of information about maps for kids about 1st-2nd grade, 4 hands on activities involving maps, and a few extra pages for practice!
Also included in the map pack are some ways to practice identifying map information. Such as the Map Key SuDoKu:
Also a Map Crossword to practice some of the vocabulary from the booklet!
If you’d like to download the entire Hands on Map Unit for free, just sign up for the newsletter! It’ll come to your inbox pretty much immediately!