We often have parents telling us that they’d really like their children to have a better grasp of ‘world geography’. I remember, as a kid, being fascinated by finding where different countries were located on a globe. We started a family tradition a couple of years ago, after finding a ‘SBS World Book’ in a bargain bin at a bookshop: we’d randomly pick one country from the book, every couple of weeks, then talk about things like: the flag, food and customs from that country, over dinner. This is particularly great to tie into a popular event such as the Olympics or Commonwealth Games.
Today we’re sharing 5 activities you can do with your children at home, on the theme of ‘world geography’. We’ll continue next week, with another 5 geography-themed activities.
If you don’t have a world globe or Atlas at home, try borrowing an atlas from the local library or printing off a world map from the Internet, to help with these activities.
One thing that often confuses children is the difference between a ‘country’ and a ‘continent’. Particularly being Australian, as we are both a single continent and a country!
So, to start with, get out a world globe or map if you have one, or simply bring a map up on screen on the Internet. The easiest way to explain a ‘continent’ is that it is a continuous land mass. The seven main continents in our world are: Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia and Antarctica. Print out or photocopy a world map and ask your child to draw a texta line around the edges of the seven continents. This makes it easy to see the continents.
Then, get out 20 post-it notes. On each one, write a different country name. Here’s a suggested list:
United States of America
Put all of the post-its in a pile then ask your child, using the world map, to stick the post-it notes on a wall or table, grouping them according to which continent they belong.
Do you have a big tub of Lego? Get out the largest Lego base plate you have, along with a map of Australia. Ask your child to use Lego bricks to recreate the shape of Australia. Don’t worry if the bricks are different heights – unless you have a child who wants to emulate the topography!
If you have enough space and want to extend the activity, you could use different colours for the states and territories and even include major landforms such as mountain ranges, rivers and Uluru.
You could place Lego people on the spot where you live.
Fly MY flag – good for younger kids
Each country has their own flag. In fact, different states or territories within countries usually have their own flags, too. The colours and graphics on flags represent something particular to each country’s identity. Imagine your home was its own country. What sort of things would be on your flag? Try drawing it and explaining what things you included on your flag.
Fly the flag – good for older kids
From the list of countries in the previous activity, as your child to research the flag for three of the countries – each one from a different continent. You might want to supervise online research at home, or take a trip to the library. Give your child a blank piece of paper so they can draw each flag. Do they know what the elements of the flag represent?
Then, take a look at the Australian flag. Why do we have a Union Jack on our flag? What do the stars represent? Then take a look at the Aboriginal flag. What do the colours represent?
Lucky dip letters
This game can be played by one person for geography practise, or by multiple players for a bit of competitive fun. It is a good one for kids who already have some knowledge of country names. We thought it was time to throw in a few activities for older kids!
Cut up the letters of the alphabet and place them face-down in a pile – make sure you mix them all up, first. Get out a stopwatch or timer of some sort – a mobile phone is fine.
Each person playing has a pen and paper.
Turn over the first letter tile. Set the timer for 1 minute. Everyone has 1 minute to write down country names that begin with that letter. At the end of 1 minute, compare answers and see who got the most correct country names. You might want to consult an Atlas or Google! Continue on for as long as you like!
As an extension activity, you could do cities, as well. Now that’s a test!
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