It can be a lot for kids who are not interested in Geography to be expected to suddenly start memorizing country names on a map. Start by piquing their curiosity about the great big world out there and really bringing geography lessons to life. Worksheets can get really boring and quell interest. Make it fun! It is more beneficial for kids to learn when you set up engaging activities that they can do for fun. These activities are great for young ones in the class and even for parents to do with their kids over vacation.
Make Discovery Boxes
Here’s a great way to put all of those old shoe boxes we all seem to have around to good use. Turn them into Cultural Discovery Boxes, filled with artifacts from a specific place the child wants to explore. Kids will learn a lot when putting the boxes together, and even more, as they sift through and share their findings with friends and family. Get the kids to gather cutting and create objects to fill the box. A printed map of the area like onestopmap.com/pacific-ocean/pacific-ocean-720/ is an excellent thing to include in the box. A few things that they could include in the box are things such as a country’s flag, national anthem, traditional clothing, key phrases in the local language, art, exports and imports, a few key historical and contemporary figures, the climate, important discoveries, size of the population or other interesting statistics, the currency and landmarks.
The box can be filled with printed-out pictures, clay sculptures, collages, clip articles, etc. Kids can swap them in class, or present them in an oral fashion to share what they learned.
Create Your Own Country
Looking over maps and dreaming of faraway places can be as much fun for you as it can be for kids and they absorb so much doing it. They will notice landmarks, the names of places, topography, cities, and all the things that make exploring the world on a map so interesting. Why not get them to make their own? Let the kids create a map of their own country, from start to finish, as a way to learn about geography and the importance of the aforementioned.
Get them to name it, decide its size and location on the map, whether it’s an island, and which countries does it border? Let them decide what language is spoken there and the capital city, some towns, landmarks, natural features, i.e. Are it mountainous or a desert, etc.
For older kids get them to think about what resources it exports and to whom, what, if anything, is grown and produced there, what is its government structure like, what currency is used, what holidays people celebrate there and why, and what traditional dishes are served.
There are limitless ways this creative activity can be reformulated for different age groups from pre-schoolers to high schoolers.
Set Out On A Food Finding Mission
So much of a country’s culture is reflected in the dishes they eat. Sitting down for a meal is something everyone enjoys. Why not turn your next meal into a geographic exploration. Trace its ingredients back to the source.
After you’ve traced them back to the source, pull out a map to see just how international your meal is. Mark each food hot spot with a sticker and marvel at the interconnectedness of our global food chain!
Observe National Holidays
This one is all about national holidays. Looking at colorful celebrations from around the world is a great way to get kids interested in learning about different cultures. They’ll find out how different countries celebrate New Year and that some even celebrate the New Year at a completely different time of year to them. They can learn about holidays that are unique to their country and holidays that are unique to others. They can even learn about how many countries celebrate Easter, Christmas, and even Father’s Day. It can be very fun to learn about new holidays.
Get them to find at least one holiday for each month of the year, and spread the search across the globe. Be sure to mark sure your finds on a calendar or even on a map and celebrate them for fun.
It is important that kids are familiar with the world around them and that they are aware that not all countries and cultures operate in the same way. Learning about this and instilling these understandings in a fun way from a young age makes it a lot easier for children to adapt to the world around them and are not bound to what they can find in their immediate environment.