We had so much fun learning about maps and globes! You might think this topic is a bit advanced for 2-5-year-olds, but it’s amazing what they CAN do and learn when the lessons are developmentally appropriate. Read on for some fun ideas on teaching young children about maps and globes.
Maps and Globes
Letter G is really our focus here. MGT offers the letter pages each month that corresponds to our lessons so in this case, G is for globe. I like the suggestions for using these pages to make them more interactive than just a coloring page. I’ve found that children get bored with coloring pages/busy work in no time. Then it’s just a waste of time and nothing is learned.
Sometimes coloring is fine but I prefer to review the alphabet letters through other process art techniques like painting with balls. I keep a sturdy box that’s just the right size for painting with balls. That way, I always have one. This time we used two colors – green and blue – “earth colors” to paint our page. The process kept each child engaged and enjoying talking about letter G as they worked. My group took turns doing this activity during free play time so I could say, “G says /g/” and “G is for globe and grapes”.
Using simple materials, we explored the colors of the earth as shown in a photo of the earth from a distance. We mainly see blue for water and green for land.
Using blue and green paint along with a little shaving cream (can also add glue) to swirl the colors together on a paper plate to make a earth or globe.
We started with toothpicks but finished with craft sticks. The longer tool was easier to swirl the paint and shaving cream mixture with. The blue is watered down tempera and the green is liquid watercolor.
It doesn’t take long to see the colors mix together! Mixing too much leaves you with one color but that’s okay too.
Everyone from 3-8 enjoyed this activity!
Leave them out to dry overnight and you’ll be left with a foamy texture.
Our swirl world projects look amazing on display!
People on the Map
Maps for children can be tricky to incorporate but kids really do like to look at them! Try getting a United States map at the dollar store. It’s huge and it’s only $1. The kids love looking at it and asking “What’s this?” and noting what they see. MGT has this simplified map that’s fun to explore. See all the different landmarks and animals?
We played a little game called People on the Map. Using the pocket cube, the child rolled and collected the correct number of people. They also identified the color of counters they needed.
Then it was up to the child to place those people on the map. Below you can see some in the airplane, others visiting South America. While I sat with each child who was interested in participating, we talked about various places and what clues we could find of what lives in that part of the world or what it’s like on that continent.
So a little bit of geography and some counting and fun as well!
People on the Map allowed for pretending and other ideas the children came up with as well.
Playing with Globes
We are enjoying the VTech Light and Flight Discovery Globe along with the It’s a Small World theme because it highlights some of the places we’re learning about! It’s an appropriate toy for my 3-5 year olds.
Get an inflatable globe ball or two for hands-on fun!
Maps for Dramatic Play
Cut out maps from an old atlas and laminate them for dramatic play. It’s okay if they’re small because then they’re perfect for little hands and can fit in bags.
We also read this fun book, There’s a Map in My Lap.
More It’s a Small World Ideas