Are you looking for some fun new ways to teach your kids about geography and maps? Here are seven of our favorite hands-on cartography activities!
1.) Experiment with drawing different map styles
What if you didn’t draw a rectangular map? What might it look like? Experiment by looking at and drawing cylindrical maps, conical maps, azimuthal maps, and more! Compare and discuss how various map styles differ from looking at a globe.
2.) Explore like an explorer
Encourage your kids to plot a course on a map of a local park or nature preserve. Bring a trowel or shovel and something to take notes on so that they can document interesting things along the way. Compare the plants and soil as you go and talk about why it varies from place to place. Examine what types of plants grow in different environments and learn about the animals in the area.
3.) Map the paths of Famous Travelers
Measure the distance between points on a map. How long would explorers’ treks have taken them on foot or by horse? How long would it take you by car? Discuss the differences of speeds and routes. Talk about the resources available in those areas and how the explorers used them to survive.
4.) Mark Historical events on a map
Timeline cards can be stuck to a large wall map to add geographical context. Where and when did iconic people live? Could they have known each other?
5.) Model famous structures
Turn your geography study into an art lesson to exercise creativity and memory! Recreate famous structures using Play-Doh®, Legos®, or any other medium you like. Talk about how the builders crafted the original structures and what they used to make them.
6.) Geographically shade a map
Identify mountains plains and rivers. Use a reference and color in the regions.
7.) Involve your kids in making dinner
Talk about where your menu’s foods grow and where they are eaten. Identify the differences between authentic and inspired foods. What foods might your ancestors have eaten in their native regions? Learn and eat together!
Looking to enhance your studies of geography and maps even more? Check out our book, Exploring the World Through Cartography!