Geography is a living, breathing subject, constantly adapting itself to change … For me, geography is a great adventure with a purpose. — Michael Palin
Give your children a great adventure this summer. Plan to give them a well-rounded education with fun. Give them an awareness of physical features of Earth and knowledge of political boundaries and people. Give them a fascination with different countries and different people. Help them to know the difference between a continent and a country, even the names and features of states. If you are planning a family vacation, explore the area on the computer before you go so they know the natural formations that make that state or locale unique.
www.wehavekids.com/education/6-Fun-ways-to-Teach-Geography-to-Kids-at-Home offers the following ideas for parents. Use songs to acquaint children with geography. Some suggestions are on the Kids Learning Tube Channel on YouTube: The Solar System, the 7 Continents Song, the Fifty States and Capitals Song, and the Fifty Nifty United States.
Using puzzles of the United States showing states in different colors and shapes helps children to recognize their own state as part of our country. With a world map puzzle, your children can find continents and far away countries.
You can hang a large map of the world in your children’s rooms. Then post pictures on the sides of the map of the landmarks, physical features, people, and food that your children find in magazines and newspapers. Reading children’s books set in different countries may interest your children in finding those countries on a map or globe.
A worthwhile purchase might be a desktop globe so children can find their place on Earth. A game they might play is closing their eyes and placing their finger lightly on the globe while a sibling spins the globe. When the globe stops spinning and where their finger is might be where there is an imaginary earthquake or flood or someplace they will “find their love.” Your children might use a tape measure to figure out distance, deciding ahead of time how to use the lines on the tape to show measurement when they place the tape against the globe, such as one inch to be one hundred or one thousand miles.
How about a game of indoor soccer or volleyball using a blow-up or beach ball globe? If the kids miss hitting the ball, they might be asked to name the spot on the globe where the ball lands.
Children can create their own maps of their surroundings, including how many blocks to school or to the park. They can create a map of your house showing different rooms in distinct colors. They might even make up imaginary towns or areas in which they or their play figures would like to live.
Children are often curious about where places are. It costs so little to help your children learn geography in these ways and can provide a summer of fun learning.
John F. Kennedy has said history makes us friends, and geography makes us neighbors. Help your children be good neighbors this Memorial Day weekend, the beginning of summer.
Southern Arizona resident Bette Mroz is a former teacher, reading specialist and principal. As a mother and grandmother, she continues to help her family learn. She can be contacted at email@example.com