Have you been looking for some fun and unique ways to incorporate geography for kids into your learning?
(PSSST! You don’t need an expensive curriculum!)
You can have geography fun for kids of all ages using different tools!
(Yes, even preschool geography!)
And, it has little to do with just learning about maps and locations in a textbook.
But, before we go any further…
What Is Geography?
Geography isn’t just about maps (although, those are LOTS of fun!).
The National Geographic Society defines geography as, “The study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth’s surface and the human societies spread across it.”
“The relationships between people…”
I think that’s one that we forget when learning geography, right?
But, it’s one of the best (and most fun!) things about geography for kids!
What Are the Five Themes of Geography?
So, what other aspects of geography are important?
The National Council for Geographic Education defined something called The 5 Themes of Geography.
Because geography can be difficult to present, the themes “were developed by the National Council for Geographic Education to provide an organizing framework for the presentation of geographic materials.”
The Five Themes of Geography are:
- Location: Position on the Earth’s Surface (Absolute/Relative).
- Place: Physical and Human Characteristics.
- Human/Environment Interactions: Shaping the Landscape.
- Movement: Humans Interacting on the Earth.
- Regions: How They Form and Change.
Using the themes can help you better organize your learning about geography.
(Because, it’s also about human interaction and not just forms of land! How fun, right?)
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How to Teach Geography in a Fun Way
Geography for Kids #1: Learn Geography With Maps
I’ve yet to meet a kid that can’t have fun with maps during geography (or, an adult that doesn’t have fun with them, for that matter).
One of the first things you need to do in your geography studies is to grab some maps.
You can use them while listening to the Around the World stories (#2) or studying specific areas.
First: Get a world map!
This Scratch-Off World Map is SO different from a regular ole world map that it will make your kids SQUEAL.
This ain’t your elementary school teacher’s geographical map, y’all…
This is a step up (maybe even a few steps up) from the old-school style wah-wah-wah boring world maps.
This map is so unique and fun because it’s a “scratch-off” world map.
(Uh-huh. FOR REAL.)
Each time that you learn about a new place in the world, you can scratch off that area . . . until you have the whole world revealed and you are full up on geographical knowledge!
SUPER FUN, right?
(PS: This is also a fun map for roadschooling if you’re going to travel and homeschool!)
If scratch off isn’t your thing (OKAAAAAY), this pin board world map is also really cool:
You can use the push pins to mark where you’ve studied!
If you have younger kids, you may want to start with something like this Kids Interactive Talking World Map.
Kids can push the map and hear over 1000 facts, quizzes, and games.
Also, Get a Globe!
This world geography learning globe has a BlueTooth pen that gives audible learning content about continents, cultures, countries, games and more.
(Also, there are games that up to four people can play!)
Globes are another learning tool that spans across all ages and stages.
You’ll find a use for a globe throughout their entire childhood.
If you’re looking for geography activities for maps, check out:
READ THIS NEXT : How to Become Traveling Homeschoolers Without Leaving Your Home
Geography for Kids #2: Bring World Stories to Life
One of the best ways kids can learn geography (or anything) is to bring stories to life!
The Around the World Stories provide an awesome way to bring geography to life for kids.
You get a new story each week and also a parent’s guide, discussion topics, recipes, activities, and printables.
This is a fun and unique way to hear about experiences from around the world!
If you have morning tea time or afternoon circle rug time, these are GREAT audio lesson for those times!
And, they’re cool for all ages and stages.
(READ: It’s something the entire family can do and enjoy together!)
Geography for Kids #3: Learn About Human Geography
Human interaction is an important part of geography that shapes landscapes.
(Remember, The Five Themes of Geography from earlier? Yeah, number three on that list.)
It’s one facet that we don’t really consider when talking about geography, but people have great impact on geography and land (and it’s just really interesting to learn more about different cultures!).
To learn more about human geography, start here:
What is Human Geography? [VIDEO]
Then, move on to watching a video on human geography.
Children’s Books About Human Geography
Lastly, read some books about human geography.
(We have several of the Children Just Like Me books and they’re still some of our favorite go-to books when learning about different cultures and countries!)
Geography for Kids #4: Play Geography Map Games and Other Geography Games
Again, break out of your geography “looking at maps only” bubble and play some geography map games and geography board games.
(Actually, board games in general are great learning tools! Check out our THREE PART series: Homeschool Parents Recommend Best Board Games)
Geography Games for Kids:
“Unique travel game where players circle the globe while testing their knowledge of world cultures. Entertaining questions on people and places, food and drink, world treasures, greetings and gestures, or customs and traditions. Fun way to explore our world while challenging your CQ (Cultural Intelligence).”
“Clever new memory recall game challenges players to memorize as many details as they can in just 10 short seconds.-Turn the timer over, concentrate on the card and try to memorize as many details of the picture as you can.-Roll the die to determine which question will be asked and quiz each other on what they remember.-Four wonderful themes will keep young minds engaged in this fast-paced game of concentration and detail.”
Don’t discount puzzles in your fun geography learning!
This geography puzzle set comes with:
- World GeoPuzzle
- USA/Canada GeoPuzzle
- Europe GeoPuzzle
- Asia GeoPuzzle
- Africa GeoPuzzle
- Latin America GeoPuzzle
All of the pieces are made in the USA from recycled materials.
A new twist on a favorite family game–match the country shapes to get a bingo!
Five different world geography learning games in one!
Each card shows a country on one side and capitals on the other, along with population and land area facts. These are mixed and matched for a variety of different geography card games.
This is a fun way to spice up your states learning. Each card has a different state flag on the front and on the back has facts about the state. Kids can play memory games, flag recognition games, and more!
It also comes with a map of the United States.
From the manufacturer: “This game remains the most comprehensive world geography games that families and classrooms love. The game has been updated to include the latest facts about every country in the world including capitals, major imports and exports, languages and religions. With 6 games in one, it’s possible for players of all abilities to play together providing challenge and a world of fun for everyone.”
Geography for Kids #5: Do Some Geography Crafts
Crafts are another fun way to add some spice to your geography learning.
(And, don’t think that crafts are just for the little ones. There are FANTASTIC topographical map crafts and more you can include!)
Here are some fun geography project ideas:
Geography for Kids #6: Take Virtual Field Trips to Learn More About Geography
Wouldn’t it be great to visit all the places in the world that you study?
Unfortunately, budget constraints prevent most of us from traveling where we want, when we want.
Did you ever think about taking your child on a virtual field trip?
I’ll admit, I never thought about learning this way until contributor Lisa Farrar-Wellman wrote about it in her post, Virtual Field Trip to Plimoth Plantation for First Thanksgiving.
(And then I was all like, DUH! How did I never think of it in this way??)
So, when you can’t travel to the areas you’ve studied, take them on a “virtual field trip”!
The Google Arts and Culture App has a TON of virtual field trip opportunities.
You can virtually visit different areas of the world, as well as museums and landmarks.
In some cases, you even have a 360-degree view where you can move around the area!
13 Interactive Virtual Field Trips to About the World
Scott’s last hut at Cape Evans: virtual tour – Antarctica (*this was one of our FAVORITE virtual field trips so far!)
Geography for Kids #7: Learn a Foreign Language of the Area You’re Studying
While learning about world geography, it’s fun if you can add some of the language to that area to your geography lesson plans.
I know. I know.
Learning a foreign language is intimidating, especially if you don’t already speak the language. How the heck do you teach your kids a language you don’t know?
Our contributor Lisa Yankey has written some great posts to get you started:
How do you spice up your geography lessons and activities? Share your great ideas in the comments so we can share it with the community!