When it comes to explorers, capitals, and names of countries, I feel confident helping my sons out, but when it comes to directions, I have my challenges.
I sometimes wish there were some fun geography activities that I could have done in kindergarten that would have prevented me from getting lost on my way home as an adult 🙂
I want my sons to know that we live in a massive world, and there are many other countries than just our own.
I also want them to be able to read a map and travel from point A to B without arriving at a dead-end bridge. (Okay, that’s my issue.)
So I try to integrate simple geography activities into our day-to-day schedule in hopes that my sons will have some more directional sense than I do.
Here are five geography activities for kindergarten that Magellan would have loved.
1. Learn Directions by Playing the Neighborhood Direction Game
Basic directions are crucial to finding your way around. That’s why the Neighborhood Direction Game is one of my favorites to do with my sons.
This activity not only reinforces left and right, but it also teaches kids to reference landmarks when trying to get to their destination.
The activity is quite simple: Tell your child you’re going exploring, and he’s the one in charge – kids love that!
He gets to choose which direction you’re going, but the catch is that he has to lead you back home.
Before venturing out on this expedition, review some directional terms, and if you have a compass, you can integrate that into the mix as well.
Before you explore, talk about landmarks and specific strategies he can use to find his way home. Then start walking.
Your kiddo will love that he’s the leader and in control.
This is one of those geography activities for kindergarten that will make you work up a sweat as your child learns some valuable life skills.
And if you make the exploration long enough, you won’t feel guilty about not going to the gym.
2. Get creative with a map of your neighborhood
Another easy-to-do activity is having your kindergartener design a map of her town.
A lot of us don’t think about our neighborhoods in terms of directions and geographical locations.
But our communities are familiar places that can ease our children into learning about geography.
This activity only requires a piece of paper and some crayons. You can teach your kiddo basic concepts such as how to make a legend and talk about scale.
You can also introduce standard map features like rivers, roads, and elevations.
And then you can explore your map’s purpose.
Does your map lead someone to a particular place? Will it offer an overview of your town? Who should use your map?
These questions alone will promote a healthy geographical discussion.
If you’re feeling very energetic one day, you can always have your child hide something in his neighborhood, and then make a map that leads you to that place.
Want more such articles?
Follow Us to get more articles like these every week – absolutely free!
Our articles contain little-known tips that will help your child become better at Reading, Math, Science, and 21st century skills like Coding, Creativity, Critical Thinking, etc.
You can implement the tips in quick 15-minute sessions with your child - so they are ideal for time-starved parents like you.
Follow us and get more such articles.
3. Have a peaceful car ride by playing license plate checklist
There are a few geography activities I remember that my parents did when I was growing up. One of my favorites was the license plate game.
I now realize that this game was a tactic to occupy my brothers and me and prevent fights in the minivan.
But it also doubled as an engaging learning experience.
Like most parents, I’m all about activities that don’t require a lot of prep. And the license plate game falls into that category.
It’s easy. Your child writes down where each license plate is from. Then if you’ve been there yourself, you can spark a conversation about that particular place.
If you want to get crazy, you can also label all the license plate destinations on a map when you get home.
As my parents discovered, this game leads to peace between siblings in the car.
4. Create a humongous chalk map
How often do you think about the shapes of countries and where they’re located?
If you’re like me, not a lot. That’s why I like activities that encourage my sons to think about other countries other than our own.
And what better way to do this than with art? Since I’m a fan of easy, all this activity requires is a map of the world and chalk.
If you don’t have a map of the world hanging out at your house, then you can use this kid version found here.
Then tell your kid to draw a giant version of the map with chalk on your sidewalk.
You can start off directly with just drawing continents and then expand from there to countries.
Not only will your kindergartener be learning valuable geography skills, but also the local dog walkers will appreciate his art.
5. Learn geography with puzzles
My son loves puzzles; and for brief spans of time, he will quietly put together puzzles of all sorts.
We even have a specific bin dedicated to them (Somehow I still lose the pieces.)
I love these brain busters because not only do they require problem-solving skills, but they also give me some quiet time.
So why not have your kiddo make a geography puzzle with this easy printable template?
There are many geography activities for kindergarten that utilize puzzles, and you can do this one in a few different ways.
You can offer your kiddo a picture of her own country or a map of the world.
All your kiddo has to do is make his version of the map on the puzzle template, then cut the pieces out and put them back together over and over again.
With all of the repetition, your map maker will imprint geography into that brain of hers.
Like I said, puzzles are fantastic and will create an opportunity for you to go to the bathroom – alone.
Your child may not know it yet, but in the future, she will utilize geography in her day-to-day life. So why not start now?
So go ahead and load your kiddo up with a bunch of these geography activities for kindergarten. She will thank you later.