We started our new homeschool year at the beginning of the month with an emphasis on math, creative writing, and geography. We’ll be focusing on the United States in both history and geography this year, so we decided to get a head start on learning the names of states & their capitals this summer.
When I talk with other homeschooling families about our passions and interests, I always include world geography on the list. I changed schools fairly frequently throughout my childhood, but sadly never found a teacher who shared my love for maps. (Yes, I was the child calculating mileage in the backseat on family vacations.)
Our home is small, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pass my love of geography to our girls. We have a United States map on the wall in our play area, low enough (and laminated) so the girls can explore. We have a GIANT inflatable globe hanging from the ceiling in their room, and a flat world map tacked on the wall above Addie’s bed. (I know that she spends time looking at it during rest time because she recently identified Costa Rica when it came up in a book.)
So, it’s probably completely obvious, but my first tip for cultivating a love of geography for kids in your home is to have a lot of maps available at all times and to use them regularly.
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Making geography for kids fun at home:
- Purchase a great atlas. We bought this awesome atlas from Barefoot Books.
- Add an inflatable globe to your family learning area. We have one similar to this from Lakeshore Learning.
- Use maps in the car. I LOVE paper maps and prefer them to GPS programs. If you’re traveling with your kiddos, offer them their own map (and maybe even highlight the route so they can read off the names of the towns as you go). We pick up FREE state maps at the Welcome Center rest stop, and I frequently make notes on them: the best bathrooms, the rest stops with playgrounds, etc.
- Include geography-related books in your family library. We love this personalized book from Family Stories.
- Utilize apps ! I consistently see Stack the States recommended to homeschooling families, and I completely agree with all the praise! The game is best for children who are reading independently and reinforces state names, their shape and location, capitals, flags, and more. (The free version is fun, but we quickly upgraded to the full version.)
- Keep an eye out for cheap resources. I always purchase inexpensive educational items that we’ll need eventually (like multiplication tables). Sometime in the past year, Target had workbooks and early readers all about the 50 states…and just last month I found pocket chart strips with the states & capitals at Dollar Tree!
We live in a global society now, where world geography is more important than ever! Spend time exploring the world with your children, even if it’s only virtually. Learn about the cultures of different people groups and consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International or another world relief organization.