Friday, February 7, 2014

Fun Ways to Learn Geography

Are you excited that the Winter Olympics have started? We are! The Winter Olympics are probably my all time favorite of something to watch on TV. I do enjoy the Summer Olympics too so basically every two years you can find me watching TV. :-)

 The Olympics and other recent events have made me think about our family's love of geography and maps and how we encourage the learning in those areas at our house. Here are some of the things that we do:

  • We have maps hanging up and easily accessible for looking at. We refer to them regularly. The boys have them in their room and have spent many hours (at nap time) just gazing at them. The boys especially love maps.
  • At some times in our lives we have had a large map on the dining room table covered with a clear tablecloth. That is SO MUCH FUN! We talked about different places all the time. I want to do this again but need to get both a new map and a good table cloth.
  • We support various missionaries and get their newsletters which I read aloud to the kids. We also have them visit church every so often where we then get to hear about the work that they are doing. The missionaries that we help to support in the Ukraine are personal friends of ours so we keep in touch via Facebook and yesterday we arranged for Aaron to visit with their son via Skype. That was fun and hopefully we can do it again. It was great for thinking about time differences.
  • We have map puzzles that we enjoy putting together occasionally.
  • We read stories about people from different places. We just finished reading about a missionary that went to China. True stories are always good but well researched fiction can be helpful too.
  • Travel as much as you can. We haven't really taken our kids out of country (the oldest 3 did visit Canada very briefly , just over the border and back before passports were required) but we have tried to travel a fair amount in the US.
  • Get to know people from other countries. This has really enriched our lives! One of the biggest ways we have been able to do this has been through getting to know international students that come to the University in our town.
  • This week we just finished a series of reading about first all the 50 states and then all of the countries of the world. We would check out books on the country/state from the library and then would spend about a week learning that country/state. We would sometimes eat meals or do activities to go along with that place. This project has gone on for quite a few years, year around. It was fun!
  • Yesterday we had fun learning about countries and missionaries at our homeschool group. Each child did a report on a certain country/missionary and then we had a potluck meal with foods from the countries that had been talked about. It was quite fun.
  • Then of course the Olympics! I printed out maps of all the continents and then tonight as the athletes from the different countries came marching in we would find that country on the map and color it in. Other years we have found them on the globe. Just watching the Opening ceremony was  a neat education about Russia. Watching the competitions again makes us think about and seek to learn more about various athletes and the country that they came from. I love it!
How does your family making learning geography fun?
Do you like to watch the Olympics?


Kallie said...

I think the Ticket to Ride board games are great for learning geography - for kids and adults!

Abbi said...

I have heard of that game but never played it. I will have to look into it more as our family does really enjoy both games and geography we would probably enjoy it.


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