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?