Geography, maps, continents and countries. This is such a fascinating subject for many kids. We try to include as many activities as we can into the ‘theme work’ sections of our Level 3 to 6 Brilliant Boxes, but we want to give you more!
Firstly, we wanted to remind you that we actually already have two blog posts packed full of ‘world geography’ activity ideas, on our website:
Here are another five activity ideas to help your children explore the world:
Play travel agent! Ask your child to create a brochure for a particular country – or create a few brochures for different countries in a particular continent.
It will, of course, involve some research. You might even want to pick up a few brochures from a travel agent, to show your child what information is often included.
They might look at climate, best time to visit, cultural facts, attractions, currency and transport.
They could draw a map and create special ‘package deals’ for your family.
Create a world globe
Have you tried creating papier maiche over a balloon? This is the basic recipe I make for the paste:
- ¼ cup plain white flour
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon of glue (a white, all-purpose glue like PVA)
- 1 tablespoon of liquid starch (not essential, only if I have it)
Mix the flour with a little water to make a paste, then add to the hot water in a saucepan and cook it until it starts changing from white to kind of transparent – it won’t be completely see-through. I then cool it a little then add the glue. Mix this all up and it should be good to use for the coming half hour or so. However, I do remember my mum making this for me, without the glue. I also know that people just use watered down white glue as the paste.
Tear up strips of newspaper to dip in the paste and layer over the balloon. Kids love popping the balloons with a skewer, at the end. Just leave a little gap at one end, for removing it. Just remember to let the layers dry in between applying more paper.
When it’s all dry, paint on the oceans and stick on each continent, that you have drawn on coloured paper. It can be very basic for younger kids, through to quite detailed with countries and cities, for older kids.
What time is it?
Understanding time zones can be tricky. If you’ve ever travelled across multiple time zones with kids, you’ll know it is even trickier to explain!
This interactive map will help to explain it, in a visual way: https://www.timeanddate.com/time/map/
Then, choose a few different cities in various time zones. Create a clock for each city, with movable hands. You could cut out a circle from cardboard or use a paper plate. Cut out a big and small hand and attach with little press studs or split pins.
You can then put up all of your clocks on the wall and move the time on each, for each city. Of course, this also helps with learning to tell the time on analogue clocks. Bonus!
Track my food
Unless children are actively involved in growing and harvesting their own food, they often have a vague idea of the origin of their food . . . that it’s ‘from the shop’. This activity helps them trace how far some of their food travels to get to them.
So, see if you can print out or purchase a large world map, to put on the wall.
Over the course of a week look at the food that your family consume each day. You might just want to do this for, say, dinnertime. Help your child research where all the ingredients come from (eg, coffee from South America? Oranges from California? Garlic from China?).
If your map is small, place dots on it. If it is very large, you can pin lengths of yarn from your location on the map, out to the location of the food’s origin. At the end of the week, you might be able to add up how many kilometres your food has travelled.
Older children might like to look at what impact all of this ‘travelling food’ has on the environment and what local foods they could substitute for some of those.
We got this idea from National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/idea/fun-geography/ – they have a great collection of activity ideas on geography.
This one helps children understand longitude and latitude. Print out a world map that contains longitude and latitude coordinates (you can find one on the National Geographic website).
Then, use your child’s birthday – month and day – to pinpoint a location on the map. If this location isn’t particularly appealing to your child, use the year, instead.
Plan a birthday party that would be particular to that location. What would the weather be like there, on your birthday? What food would people eat? Where would you go for your party? What would you wear?
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