Sunday, August 25, 2013

Amazing Maps

This is a repost from my old blog.  It gets a lot of traffic over there still, so I thought I'd bring it over here.  Enjoy!

Lego has been very interested in maps for quite a while.  He started with a US map puzzle, and quickly learned all the states and capitals.  From there, he took on the world map.  For his fourth birthday, he requested a map party, and he received wall maps.  We have had so much fun with these maps that I wanted to share with you some of the map-related things we've been up to.  

Where We've Been Stickers

Using a different colored star sticker for each member of our family, we've marked where each of us has traveled to.  We have a goal to take our kids to all 50 states before they leave home.  We're not doing too badly, but a trip out West is definitely in order!  It is fun to see how excited the kids are to add stickers after our camping trips.  

Amazing Places

I found a wonderful set of printable cards that show 50 amazing places around the globe.  You can purchase a set for a few dollars at Montessori for Learning.  We slowly worked our way through the cards, numbering each card and then writing the number on the corresponding location on the map.  If you look closely in the pictures, you can see the little numbers.  After visiting Mammoth Cave, we decided that it, too, was an amazing place, so we made a card of our own for it.  We hope to add more places as we discover them.

To find the places on the map and learn a bit about them, we used two wonderful books:
Childrens Amazing Places Encyclopedia

National Geographic Kids World Atlas
We looked up each amazing place in these two books.  If we couldn't find one in either book, we turned to trusty old Google on the iPad.

Amazing Places Games and Connections

It is amazing how many times we've come across reference to one of our amazing places.  It gives me such joy to see him making these connections.  For example, we just saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and there is a line about the Pyramids and the Pharoah, Rameses.  Lego excitedly told me that they were the Pyramids of GIZA, and that Rameses built the Ramesseum. I would be lying if I said that I knew all or even most of these places before we started- I have learned a ton of history and geography. It is so fun to learn alongside Lego (and humbling...his memory for this type of information astounds me).

We keep our two reference books and our amazing place cards in a basket next to our maps. To keep these places fresh in our minds, we like to play games with them.  We'll do amazing place riddles, run and touch this amazing place, or practice our writing skills playing amazing place Jeopardy or hangman (have I mentioned that I have a unique little guy?  I realize that a game of geography Jeopardy is not every 4 year old's idea of a good time- nor should it be.  These activities might be better suited for an older child if your kid doesn't happen to have the same passion for maps. Don't force it- learning is supposed to be fun and interest-driven.)

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