10 Ways to Teach Geography Naturally
The study of geography is the study of our world, and it is extremely important for all humans to have a good grasp of it. But this is one of those subjects that does not really require formal instruction every year, because it’s such a natural part of everything we do and learn. To illustrate this, I’m sharing 10 Ways to Teach Geography Naturally.
Parents, it’s totally possible to teach your children when you don’t have a college degree or background in education. Maybe you hated school, or didn’t graduate. That’s not important. Because these are simple, real-life ways to learn. My motto is that “anyone can homeschool” and this is just one example of why that’s true.
This was first shared on my Instagram page, but in this post I’m adding details to each bullet point.
- Spin the Globe – This is a very informal game we play. My geography-obsessed son really came up with it, and it works wonders for fun and retention. Who doesn’t like a competition? He will pull out the globe and say, “Give me a country.” So we name a location and he has to find it. Some are easy and some are more difficult, but with repeated practice, the kids have all come to enjoy this game and have gotten pretty proficient in finding the places!
- Keep a children’s atlas handy – Actually, we have several versions of atlases and geography guides for all ages. This makes it easy for my kids at any age to sit and peruse maps. If we’re studying something particular in school, I’ll get them out and have them study that region. But really, if they are left lying around the house, the colorful maps and descriptions really draw the kids in voluntarily!
- Locate animal homes – No matter how young or old the children are, tying animals to a subject just makes it more fun! A trip to the zoo, an animal story, or just talking about how cool tigers are naturally lends to a bit of discussion on where their natural habitat is.
- Write to pen-pals around your country or the world – Receiving mail and writing letters to children in other locations really brings a new place to life. Encourage your child to share tidbits about their home and ask questions of the recipient. Ask for postcards and send some in return. Share photos and fun histories. Make it personal for your child and the one receiving the letters.
- Memorize the oceans and continents – these are easy and fun, and can be accomplished within a week’s time. Knowing the continents and oceans makes it more fun to find countries and cities around the world, with hints such as, “It’s located in the Indian Ocean,” or “Look in South America.” Kids love to memorize, and this is knowledge worth having.
- Eat foreign foods and look up their country of origin – Whether you go out to a Japanese restaurant or try a new Ethiopian dish at home, talk about the country and the region that features that recipe. At restaurants, you may encounter natives from that country. Ask questions! They will be more than happy to share about their home.
- Play the boardgame Risk – This game takes hours, so it’s not for the faint of heart, but for tweens, teens and adults it’s a great way to spend a lot of intimate time with the world map. Considering borders, the size of countries, and oceans in between results in some great hands-on knowledge. (Buy it here)
- Put location pins on a map when you read a book – If you read books aloud, or assign books for school, mark each location on a map with a flag pin. Consider adding the title of the book to the pin, too! You’ll be amazed at how you’ve traveled the world with great literature! Some books even include maps of the story region. Be sure and study those. They really bring the book to life.
- Do a Flat Stanley project – or create a paper person of your own. Have your kids create a paper traveler who will be mailed to people in different states or countries or send the traveler on a trip with family or friends. Ask them to take photos of the traveler in different locations and send them back to you. It’s fun to think about all the exciting locations that ONE piece of paper may travel to!
- Make your own maps on paper — with dough, or with other 3D objects. Check out pizza maps, fruit maps, and salt dough maps for inspiration. Creating a map with rivers, towns, and mountains is a wonderful way to provide hands-on information about any region in the world.
So, while you’re free to use an in-depth geography curriculum at any point, of course, you don’t have to wait until 5th grade or 9th grade or any other time to provide your kids with an ongoing knowledge of their world. Just give them some good books, make globes and maps available, and talk about everything you do!
- Read about missionaries around the world and talk about where it’s safer to be a Christian and where it’s dangerous. Check out the free resources from Voice of the Martyrs.
- Compare ancient and medieval maps to current maps of the world, and notice the changing names and borders.
Check out my other posts on fun ways to learn geography
Around the World in 80 Days – fun for all ages!
Where I Am in the World – perfect for little ones!