Get to know the Earth with these geo-literacy world map activities for kids with a global perspective.
Geo-literacy world map activities for kids
Our favourite new toy is a big world map. We picked it up in a local bookstore (but you can find one at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (this page contains affiliate links)) and have been using it ever since to play a variety of ‘get to know the world’ map games. My daughter is very interested in the world and maps at the moment. Some activities she has been enjoying are:
:: learning about different biomes, through researching information books, following a Minecraft Homeschool course, watching videos from around the world (such as from the Grand Canyon Park Rangers talks).
:: taking maps with us when we head out on local walks, and being in charge or tracking our route and finding the way: looking for landmarks and locating them on the map and seeing how the cartography displays them.
:: using a UK map to look up co-ordinates: sometimes I give her co-ordinates so she can locate the city, sometimes I ask her to find a city and tell me the co-ordinates. She’s learning how to use the index and read the map by seeing how big cities and rivers are marked, to help her get her bearings and track down specific locations.
:: visiting lots of different places along the course of our nearby river, and then finding the locations on the map when we get home – tracking the course of the river from source to estuary.
:: visiting world biomes by taking a trip to the zoo – to see the animals she has been learning about in books and online, and to experience a little what the habitats might be like. The hot and humid tropical house at the zoo is as close to the rainforest as we can get right now, but does gives a much more ‘real’, sensory experience of what the actual forest might feel like.
Quick fire quiz: who lives where?
Another fun way we are using our map is by playing quick-fire quizzes. We spread our world map out on the floor and I give her a set of post-it notes with questions or clues on. She has to match the post-it note to the correct location in the world. This is really quick and easy to set up, and we can play a different version each time. It’s a fun way to re-cap what she has been learning elsewhere. Using the same map over and over, looking at different aspects of the world each time, is really helping her develop familiarity with the world, making connections and seeing patterns between location, climate, terrain, and who lives where.
Quick Quiz Map Game
You can use the map to:
:: find where members of your family live
:: find all the places you (or your family) have been on holiday
:: find where your favourite book characters live (Pippi Longstocking, Handa, Charlie and Lola, Eloise, Madeline…)
:: find where all your groceries have come from
:: find where you’d eat different meals
:: find where different festivals are celebrated
In addition to playing with post-it notes, you can play with toys too. Take a basket of your play animals and place the out on the map in the places they live.
Printable world map landmarks
You can also play using 3D printables, many of which are available for free online. To start with you could use:
You can find more great ideas for geo-literacy over at Kid World Citizen.
Fizz, Pop, Bang! Playful Science and Math Activities
Fizz, Pop, Bang! Playful Science and Math Activities is designed to bring hands-on fun and enjoyment to math and science. It is packed with powerful learning opportunities in math and science, shared through ideas that incorporate art, play, sensory learning and discovery, for a whole-brain approach.
It includes 40 educational projects and 20 printables including a set of build-your-own 3D shape blocks, engineering challenge cards and a range of math games. If you like our playful map idea, you’ll love the ideas in Fizz, Pop, Bang!
Take a look at the Fizz, Pop, Bang! resources here.