Every time someone asks me where I am from and their eyes glaze over like I just spoke in Martian, I vow to always teach my kids about world geography. I once got asked if Peru was in Africa. It was a face-palm moment for sure.
My oldest daughter is 17 and she is pretty well educated in terms of geography. Her school is quite worldly but I am sure there is something from her childhood that affected her learning about the size and wonder of the world.
A Memory I Cherish
Our world geography activity came about partly by chance. Once in a while the National Geographic magazine comes with a folded world map inside. We were lucky to find one of these when my first daughter was two years old. We were living in Cusco, Peru surrounded by travelers from all over the world. She was learning to speak Andean Spanglish and loved looking at that map that we hung up on the wall of our room.
We didn’t usually receive any post or anything in the mail except some presents from my mom once in a while, but then things started to get interesting.
The first postcard came from Australia, from an auntie that lived there. I had the idea to put up the postcard next to the map, right next to Australia. Friends that came around saw the idea and asked their family members and friends to send us postcards from all over the world. Little by little more postcards came and we hung them up around the map, connecting them with red string.
A year later, that wall was our favorite of the entire house. It felt like we knew someone in every part of the world and my daughter loved it to no end. She always asked where each postcard was from and for me to read what was written on them. She learned about koalas, and European castles and Central American beaches.
This world geography activity was the best learning activity we ever did when my daughter was little. I always remember it fondly and am considering doing it again for the new little ones.
World Geography Activity
What do you need?
-One large political world map with well-defined countries and cities. The National Geographic World map is really good.
-Postcards from all over the world. You can ask family members that live in places far away, or ask on expat or multicultural Facebook groups to help you teach your kids geography by sending postcards.
-String and tacks
How to Make It Even Better
Have Skype calls with some of the people that have sent postcards. Get them to show the kids some things from that place in the world through the camera.
Send postcards back! Inspire other families to do this world geography activity as well. Send them photos of your map wall and ask for photos of theirs.
Have an atlas to look at each country map separately and learn about capitals, cities and other geographical points like rivers and mountain ranges.
Solve world map puzzles to learn the location of the countries. We don’t want our kids thinking that Peru is in Africa!
More resources to learn about World Geography
Mommy Maleta does blog posts about different countries in the world, giving lot of information, ideas for activities and has a great disposition for teaching.
Google Maps game Geoguessr: This game is a great way to learn about other places in the world. You click play and the pin drops in a random spot in Google maps. You have to guess where you have landed, the closer the guess the higher the score.
Here is a cute world geography activity for little ones to learn about animal habitats with a favorite picture book.
Geography apps are another fun way for kids to learn about other countries with real world tools.
What is your favorite world geography activity?by
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