Like most kids, my preschooler loves exploring! It’s just that given her age and size, all she does explore is my kitchen cabinets to find hidden cookies…
And oh, she is an adventurer alright! You should see her when she is on a messy adventure with the Nutella jar. The sight is enough to make me silently promise to myself not to buy that damned chocolatey thing EVER again.
Now like most moms (at least I’m hoping I’m not the only one!), I have lost count of the number of times I’ve shouted ‘What on Earth are you up to?’, so it only makes sense that I tell her ‘what on Earth’ she should be doing that does not involve the kind of exploring and adventures she’s usually involved with.
Enter these 7 exciting preschool geography games, and I’ve got my little explorer hooked for hours on an end…that too without any cookies or Nutella jars in the picture!
And what’s more, she gets to learn some pretty amazing facts about Mother Earth in the process.
1. Map your neighborhood:
This is a fun activity where you and your little one can make a map showing his favorite neighborhood locations. They could be a pet shop, an ice-cream parlor or a nearby park.
Take a big sheet of paper and first make a small house that marks your home. Now begin with the nearest location. Ask him to draw small arrows to show the path that leads to it. If it is a park, you can tell him to draw it and color it green.
In a similar way, let him add his favorite places in the neighborhood. Use different color markers to draw arrows for different locations.
When the neighborhood map is ready, you can consider getting the masterpiece laminated. I got my little one’s laminated and now she takes it along every time she goes out, even if that trip is to the park that is hardly 100 steps away from our home!
2. Stargazing fun:
All you need for this cool game is a preschooler you’ve allowed to stay up past bedtime, an inflatable pool, some pillows and a blanket, and of course, a clear night sky.
I know it’s hard to let your little one stay up till the stars come out (because come on, putting up with her shenanigans during the day is more than enough), but if you really want her to learn a thing or two about those mysterious little lamps in the sky, you gotta give this a try.
So on a clear night, just take out your inflatable pool and set it up in the backyard. Throw in some pillows and a blanket and get ready for an exciting time with your little stargazer!
Once she is literally star-struck, move on and show her different constellations. In my case, this constellation guide proved to be super helpful.
Next morning, help her recall the names of different constellations and their shapes. You can even help her draw them on a paper and that will be her very own constellation guide.
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3. Recreate a beach…in a container:
This exciting outdoor game lets your preschooler have loads of fun, and while it can get a bit messy, his enthusiasm and sunny smile will make up for it.
Take a large aluminum container and place it in your backyard or any other outdoor space where you wouldn’t have to spend an entire evening cleaning up after the activity gets over.
Collect some sand and keep a jar of water with blue food coloring handy. If you have a few miniature boats, mocktail umbrellas and shells, you can use those too. Now get down to the task of creating a beach in the aluminum container.
Let him put all the sand on one side of the container to show land and cover the rest with blue water. Help him in decorating the beach with mocktail umbrellas, shells, tiny dolls or even animals and let the miniature boats sail in the sea.
4. The ‘where do you come from?’ game:
All around us, there are scores of things that tell us where exactly they’ve come from, if only we’re attentive enough! Yes, I am talking about the ‘Made in xyz country’ labels that most of our belongings have.
Who knew these nondescript little tags on the objects around us could actually give excellent geography lessons to our little ones? Well, all you need to do is ask your kiddo to grab some of his favorite things. It could be a t-shirt, a toy car, a pair of shoes or simply a chocolate bar.
Now begins the ‘where do you come from?’ game.
Just take one object at a time and let your little one ask – “Where do you come from?” Now look at the label that tells its country of manufacture and let your child know where it actually came from.
You can also tell him a few interesting facts about each country of manufacture.
5. Introducing landforms:
Explain different landforms to your preschooler using pictures. If you live near a mountain, great; if not, you can show him his pile of Legos and tell him a mountain mostly resembles it in shape.
If you are somewhat like me, your pile of unwashed laundry would do the job too.
And what better way to teach your little one the concept of volcanoes than a choco-lava cake! Just bake a small cup-cake sized one and let your preschooler watch with excitement as the gooey molten chocolate flows out from the brown mound of sheer temptation!
That is, if you don’t gobble it up first like I did.
So anyway, I made another one and explained the concept of lava flowing out of a volcano with it. This time, my little monster devoured it before I could make out what was happening. She has a sweet tooth bigger than mommy’s!
6. Let’s go state hopping:
All preschoolers love to hop, so for once, let’s put all that hopping to some good use.
All you need is a chalk, a little artistic genius to draw a not-so-detailed map of your country roughly divided into different states, and of course a clear area on the floor to draw the map.
Starting with your home state, let your child hop from one to another. Let her know the names of the states she hops through.
This game is an excellent way to make your child memorize the names of different states of your country.
7. Go on a world tour:
This is a super fun game to get your little explorer acquainted with faraway lands. Get a globe and let him spin it for a while because that is exactly what he’s going to do.
Once he’s done with all the spinning, it is your turn! Spin the globe and ask your child to stop it with a finger. Once the globe stops, tell him the name of the continent or ocean where his finger is resting.
Repeat it multiple times till he gets a good enough idea of all the continents and oceans. You can make this activity more interesting by showing him pictures of different animals that are native to different continents.
So have fun with your little explorer with these exciting preschool geography games to give him a new insight into the planet we call home!
And while you are at it, be sure to also download the Atlas Mission so that your child can learn all about the different countries and cultures that our game takes them to!