My children have been interested in geography since the time I set the first U.S.A. placemat in front of them at breakfast. One of my girls taught herself the states by placing bits of food on various areas and quizzing me as to where they were located. My youngest recently discovered our North America puzzle and has been on a mission to remember the names of each state and country. I began our “lessons” at a remedial level and, needless to say, I’ve become much better at geography over the last few years while they taught me. Maybe one of these days I’ll come close to their scores on those fun “How well do you know the U.S.A.?” quizzes.
Books and games are a fantastic way to introduce geography and maps to your kiddos, and you’ll discover a huge variety to choose from. Here are some of our family’s favorite geography books and games to get you started. ~ Nikki
For the Younger Set
Me on the Map, by Joan Sweeney
A fun introduction to maps for little ones, this book is a simple story with basic geography and mapping concepts. It begins with a child’s view of her room and home, and continues to a view of her town, state, country, and the world. My young ones were inspired to draw maps of our home and neighborhood after reading this story, and the book is full of concepts to branch off of for more detailed activities and learning.
My Pop-Up World Atlas, by Anita Ganeri
From the author of the Horrible Geography series, this atlas is filled with detailed illustrations and a multitude of facts to answer your young data seekers’ questions. It includes pop-ups, flaps, booklets and pull-out pages with information on the world’s countries, inhabitants, and famous landmarks. This interactive book is an excellent tool for learning about our world.
Maps and Globes, by Jack Knowlton
A comprehensive introduction to maps and globes, this book includes the history of maps and concepts like depth and elevation. It is written for elementary age and is an excellent text for using with a globe or map puzzle. Though it was published in 1985, and some of the facts are a bit dated, it remains a helpful addition to our library.
For the Precocious Young Set and Older
The Scrambled States of America
Scrambled States of America Game, by Lauri Keller
The Scrambled States is a humorous take on geography, enjoyable for parents and kids. The Scrambled States of America Game includes geography, language arts, and just plain silliness that keeps our family entertained.
Basher: States and Capitals, by Simon Basher
In true Basher form, this book charms and amuses while teaching fun facts and obscure details about all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and six territories. This book was on our wish list for a while and did not disappoint.
Geography through Art, by Sharon Jeffus
This is a lovely book for art lovers. Projects are based on twenty-five countries over six continents and use a variety of materials. It is a wonderful supplement to geography, history. social studies, or independent study.
Maphead, by Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings of Jeopardy fame has written an interesting, funny book about maps that is packed with information and history. It includes a section on GPS and geocaching that is particularly interesting for geocaching hobbyists. While written on an adult level, your young geography enthusiast will be entertained by the many stories and map lore, and you may have to negotiate for a chance to read it yourself.
Ticket to Ride, by Days of Wonder
This cross-country train adventure game challenges the players to visit the most North American cities within seven days, by connecting railroads and trying to build the longest continuous railway. Ticket to Ride is a great beginners’ strategy game that the whole family can enjoy.
What are your favorite geography resources? Has your family found a unique way to study geography?
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When she is not stuck in a book, Nicole Linn homeschools two of her three children, and blogs about gifted children and adults at Through a Stronger Lens. She is also Online Merchandise Manager for GHF.