I LOVE geography! I know that makes me weird. But I was a history major in college so a love of geography probably comes along with that.
Now I’m a homeschooling mom. I’ve noticed that my 5 year old also loves geography. I don’t even really have to teach him either. He just somehow absorbs this. I don’t think it’s normal for kindergartners to know almost all the states and over half the capitals of the United States. He often asks me to teach him about a new state and capital.
These games will work perfect in a homeschooling setting, but even if you do not homeschool you can still use these games to help your child review. Or help them learn about a new state you’re visiting this summer on vacation!
It makes me sad that some people view geography as a “Necessary Evil” when it comes to teaching.
I know that children learn best when the teacher enjoys teaching. So today I wanted to pass on some fun ways to teach geography.
1. Nerf Gun Maps
This is a simple, but fun game. It’s great for review.
Arm your child with a loaded nerf gun. Using tape or puddy, attach a map to the wall, or a white/chalk board on the wall. Tell you child to shoot an area on the map, for example the Pacific Ocean. Your child will take aim and shoot. If their aim is off and they miss, they must tell you where their bullet did land. For example, if they were aiming at the Pacific Ocean but missed and hit Australia instead, they would have to tell you that they hit Australia. They can then try again or just point to the Pacific Ocean.
2. Spaghetti Noodle Geography
This one is good for learning and introducing new material. Your child will love playing with the spaghetti noodles! This is so much fun and slimy, but don’t worry it doesn’t make a mess!
Cook a small pot of spaghetti noodles. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cool water to stop the cooking process, and so you child doesn’t burn their fingers.
Let’s pretend we are learning about the state of Nevada. Using the spaghetti noodles your child would try to make the shape of Nevada on a piece of colored construction paper. When your child is satisfied with their work use some glue to attach the noodles to the paper.
You can trace the geography shape onto the paper before using the noodles if you want to make it a little bit easier.
The noodles will not last so prepare your child beforehand. I know my kids would be very upset with me if I threw away their art work. So just make sure it is clear from the beginning that this project will have to be thrown away at the end.
This game can also be played with preschoolers who are learning their shapes.
3. Geography 20 Questions
This is the classic 20 question game. This game might not work very well for younger students and is geared more for middle school age and older. This games also works better for more cultural and people questions, instead of just physical shape or boarders.
You should determine a category before playing, such as States, Countries, Continents, etc.
Here is an example of how this might happen for the category of Countries.
1. Is this country in North America? “No.”
2. Is this country in South America? “No.”
3. Is this country in Africa? “No.”
4. Is this country in Europe? “Yes.”
5. Is this country on mainland Europe? “Yes.”
6. Was this country inside the Holy Roman Empire? “No.”
7. Did this country have a Revolution? “Yes.”
8. Is this country France? “Yes.”
Take turns picking countries to guess. You have to guess in fewer than 20 questions.
This is also a great game to play while you are driving in a car, waiting at a doctor’s office, or standing in line.
4. Play-Doh Geography
Make shapes out of play dough.
Great for learning boarders and shapes of countries or states.
Not just for little kids! If the older kids thinks this is silly, challenge them to do the more difficult shapes–like Russia!!
5. Do Geography Puzzles
I love puzzles! Kids love puzzles! Let them do a puzzle and they won’t even realize they are learning!
You can find puzzles all over the place! But in case you aren’t sure where to begin looking here are some suggestions:
The United States Puzzles:
- Melissa & Doug USA Map 51 pcs Floor Puzzle
- U.S.A Magnetic Map
- GeoPuzzle U.S.A. and Canada – Educational Geography Jigsaw Puzzle (69 pcs)
- USA 500-Piece Puzzle
Scrambled States of America– not a puzzle but a really fun and cute book about the states that decided to switch spots with other states. My children love this book! Also comes with a map and a card game!
And in case your older children think they are too old for puzzles let them try this 3-D puzzle!!
*Bonus* 6. Cell Phone/Tablet Apps
Get on your App store and search for geography games! There are so many free apps out there.
Whatever you want you kids to learn: maps, boarders, capitals, major cities? There’s an app for that! And almost all of them are free!!
Your kids are already probably begging you for more screen time so why not let them have it and they can learn some geography at the same time!
How do you make geography fun?
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