Learning Geography Along the Way

I’ve seen the idea around for years – place a map on your table and cover it with a clear plastic tablecloth.  Then when you are eating you can look at the map and discuss different places.  I always liked the thought but never followed through on the idea until my sister implemented it.  Ha!  You thought you were the only one who needed inspiration, sis?  We all do from time to time.

My sister has her atlas on the table with a clear protective cover over it.  She then places pictures of missionaries who live in the country/continent they are studying onto the map and during the week the children pray for them.

I approached the map idea a little differently.  Next to our dining table we have a wall big enough for me to tack up a map of the world.  We do a great deal of entertaining and have had guests from all over the world.  So, I’ve started to print out the pictures of those who come to visit from other countries and tape them next to their homeland.

Do you see Trinidad & Tobago there in the center of the picture?  We recently had some visitors from there.  I had never heard of Tobago and although Trinidad was very familiar to me I had no idea where it was located.  Because our map was right at hand when eating with our guests or visiting with them, they were able to show us right where they lived and how they sometimes travelled down to Venezuela in South America.  Their picture is now on our wall right next to Trinidad & Tobago.

Many times we’ve had visitors over who would discuss a location that they were quite familiar with but was not as clear in my children’s minds (mine too, but I wasn’t the one talking to them at the time 🙂 ) so they would walk over to the map and show them just where they were referring to.

Other times it has been useful is during dinner discussions.  We’re not sure where a certain place is and so the kids will go to the map and we’ll have a quick race to see who can find it first.  At one time the map was in the boys’ bedroom but now it’s much handier being located in our dining room.  When reading aloud to the children we’re usually in the living room so I’ll send them to the map to find the country, river, sea, etc. that  I’m reading about. 

Overall, it has been a great learning tool for our family.  There’s one problem though.  I just wish I could figure out how to keep those tacks that hold the map up from falling out.  😦

What do you do for geography?  Are your studies more formal than our approach?



Filed under Geography

3 responses to “Learning Geography Along the Way

  1. What a great idea! That might even work for us since my husband is the Geography Genius and could point out places to us. Hmmmm….

    We do some online (http://www.kidsgeo.com/geography-games/europe-map-game.php) and we have ye olde trusty globe that we use. As we read about different places, we find it on the globe and see where it is in relation to us.

  2. Some of the children did a formal geography course, but I don’t think they got as much out of it as they could have. I have been pondering the geography dilemma since the next one is due to “take” that course next year.

    I have thought of incorporating the Henty and Ballentyne books. This is a great idea. Just have to find the wall space 😉


  3. Thanks for asking about the co-op class, I’ve just posted the first follow-up entry.

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