Cartography for Kids
Chances are your kindergartener knows every nook and cranny in your house, but what about her knowledge of the world outside? Expand her geographic awareness with these fun and easy map lessons. Looking at a map for streets and natural landmarks will give her a bird's eye view of the world she lives in, and by making a map of her own, she'll get to know the geography of her own personal world. Here's how to start grooming your little cartographer for greatness.
What You Need:
- Local map (if you're a AAA member, you can get as many maps as you like, free)
- Large sheet of paper
- Markers or crayons
What You Do:
- Start Local: Sit down with your child and look for your city or town. Point out your neighborhood, your house, and the location of a few friends' or relative's homes. Find your child's school and point that out, too. Run your finger across the map and look at areas that are visually different, like parks, lakes, or mountains. Talk about how these features affect your life.
- Draw Your Own: Get out the large piece of paper and give your child a crack at creating her own map. It doesn't need to be complicated—it can be quite simple. She can include local parks, playgrounds, the police or fire station, stores, and other familiar locations. She can also experiment with scale—it's okay to include "big" items, like a friend's house, and also "little" items, like a favorite tree or stop sign.
- Use It: Once she's created the map, take it with you on a walk around the neighborhood. Let her collect interesting leaves, flowers, or other treasures. When you get home, lay out the map and talk about where you found each one.
Not only will mapping her surroundings give her a lesson in geography, but it's an art project that will get her moving, exploring her neighborhood, map in hand.