My son has been interested in pyramids for a few months now so I knew that once we were settled in from our big move across the country, we would drive right into geography. Here are a few ideas that we have explore world continents with my son.
1. World Map
When we were setting up Our NEW Learning Space, I wanted our space to have a geography focus so I hung up our World Felt Map at the end of our dinning room table. The map outlines the continents (except for Antarctica) in colour coded sections so it is easy to identify them. This naturally developed a curiosity in my son as he wanted to know more. So we hung up the 7 continent labels (I had to make the Antarctica label) and many discussions followed. I would also mix up the continent labels, at different times, to encourage my son to identify the continents and label them.
2. Montessori Continent Cards
I found these printable Montessori Continent cards which I laminated and my son used to explore and expand his understand of the continent names and shapes.
3. Play dough Continents
We used the Montessori continent cards from above as a guide in forming different continents with play dough. Being able to recognise the shape of the continent and the name was reinforced with this activity.
4. Continental Hop
To engage the kinesthetic learner in my son, I found this printable Continent Hop Game from Spell Outloud. Because I did not have a inflatable world globe, I made a dice/cube to use for our game. Whatever continent the dice landed on, we would jump quickly onto the matching continent mat on the floor. My son absolutely loved it.
5. Ipad App - World Continents and Oceans
The application, World Continents and Oceans - A Montessori Approach to Geography is not a free ipad app however I think it is well worth the $0.99 that I spent on it. All three of my children have enjoyed playing with this app and it's a wonderful hands-on way to continue learning about continents.
6. World Puzzle
We love puzzles and there are so many different things that you learn with puzzles. Our Map Of The World puzzle is another hands-on activity that supports the learning of world geography.
To help my son to understand the difference between continents and countries, I made some simple continents outlines to fit onto his world puzzle. This way he was able to the match the continents to the puzzle and see how many countries are included in each continent.
8. Child friendly AtlasTo inspire and encourage geography, I have our Picture Atlas readily available for my children to look through. There have been a number of documentaries that we have watched over the past few weeks and each one has been about a different country. We have used our picture Atlas to locate these countries.
Geography Board GamesWe have been playing the DK board game Around the World which has been really good for learning simple facts about the world as well as the world continents. The game is aimed for ages five to eight years old however my four year old has enjoyed playing the game with us and is also learning about the continents.
We have also read the book Around the World in 80 Days and followed the journey of Phileas Fogg as he travelled around the world. You can download this as a free eBook (PDF file) from here. We extended the reading of this book by mapping where Phileas travelled and watching Around the World in 80 Days (1956 film) as well as the 2004 movie.
Update: Since this blog post, I have found another amazing interactive geography game that I had to share. Brain Box The World helps improve observation and memory skills while working on knowledge of world geography. Each country has a card that features capital cities, flags, borders, icons and cultures.
If you would like to see some more hands-on geography learning ideas, visit my pinterest board.
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