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how to teach geography to children

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I am excited to share with you our tools for kindergarten geography today.  We use multiple books and hands on items to help my children become aware of our world and where we are located on the map.  I have collected many additional tools that may be of interest to you as you teach your child about geography.  DSC01566-001

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My children are very interested in our physical world and in the cultures that surround us.  It’s important for children to understand that the world is round, there are land masses surrounded by bodies of water, and that people of all different cultures live in various areas of our amazing Earth!

Physical geography involves the physical properties of the earth.

Cultural geography involves human cultures and society.

In teaching geography to children, it is important, even from a young age, for a child to feel and experience the differences in the globe and raised books.  Experiences can also be enhanced through exploring different foods, dress, music, and tradition.  Maria Montessori developed her method of teaching during a tumultuous time in our history, during the World Wars at the beginning of the 21st century.  She felt that if children understand and accept other cultures and embrace geographical properties for those cultures, than children could become productive and peaceful members of society.

We have not formally begun a curriculum for world geography and culture, but rather these materials are always available to my children and we will introduce experiences and draw on interesting concepts and traditions as they naturally come up.  I love that Kane Miller books have picture books from all around the world, so we have already begun to fill our home with stories from many different cultures.

Our culture is the American culture, and we have also chosen to formally introduce the foundation of our country through the Primary American History guide and literature from Beautiful Feet.  You can read more about this and the rest of our Kindergarten curriculum in our recent lengthy homeschooling post.

Ten Geography Tools for Primary Children

1.  Every child should have easy access to a world globe.  Whether your child is formally learns at home or in school, having a world map in the proper shape is vital for children to understand our world, its land masses, and geographic locations.  We often run to get our globe while simply reading picture books or having discussions as a family.  A must-have.


2.  We love the raised felt in the Montessori Map Work book.  The pages are simple and uncluttered and teach the continents of the world.  (We also love the Montessori Letter Book and Montessori Number Book!)

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3.  My absolute favorite geography book for children is the Lift-the-flap Picture Atlas.  I love that it discusses all different cultures in bite size chunks of information.  Children love to lift flaps, and using fine motor skills to make this movement will help children retain the information better.  I highly recommend this for grades Preschool through fifth grade or higher — it’s even fun for adults to read!

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4.  We also love the Children’s Picture Atlas.  There is so much information about differences in land forms and cultures.  There are also suggestions for how you can extend your reading to work at home — for activities such as cooking, dressing, or listening to music.  Each continent is filled with information about cultures and food and animals.

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5.  Map work that allows children to get involved using their visual and tactile senses is perfect for understanding.  We have a map of the United States, picked up from a garage sale — here is a similar one. We also just scored an old Nienhuis pegged United States map which I’m thrilled about.  We also hope to get a puzzle of a world map.  Later I will share how to help children make their own map through tracing and pinning the states on their own.


More geography resources that we love:

6.  Montessori Sandpaper Land and Water Form Cards help children to understand different land and water shapes: bay-cape, strait-isthmus, archipelago-chain of lakes, peninsula-gulf, and island-lake.  The beige sand surface represents the land and blue smooth finish represents the water.


7.  Geography Trivium Tables from Classical Conversations is an amazingly simple way to point and teach various continents, countries, and land masses.  Check out the link to see a detailed video on these tables and maps.  Each laminated table lists the geography terms for the current Foundations cycle (there are three different ones), map keys, and a large black line master for students to trace, color, or copy as they learn.



8.  States & Capitols CD — These catchy songs teach both the geographic location and capital of each state.  Must-have during long car rides that can become learning time!!


9.  Flags Sticker Book contains pictures of 200 flags, the national flag of every country in the world, each one with a sticker to match. Maps of the continents show where each country is located in the world.


10.  Sticker Picture Atlas of the World — this amazing sticker book is such an amazing tool for reinforcing geography work as children use their fine motor skills to place the stickers for each continent, for animals, and many cultural aspects of each country.  Packed with over 350 stickers, children can explore the maps to see the world’s most famous sights, and find out where different people and animals live.


I hope you find time to share our world’s geography and culture with your precious ones today!! Thanks for joining us in looking at Kindergarten Geography tools!!

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One Comment

  1. These are some great suggestions. We are looking to start working with teaching geopgraphy and cultural references to our 3 year old (and by osmosis our 1.5 year old as well, as she likes to learn whatever her brother is working on) as we want to get back to traveling more and would like our son to have a basic understanding of where we are going to and coming from. Thanks for the suggestions!

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