I’ve kind of been on a geography kick lately. Honestly, if you had asked me 10 years ago (ok, 20 years ago) if I’d ever get excited over geography I would have rolled my eyes at you. Geography was a class I was forced to take in elementary school, I think it was grade 5. We sat at our desks for 43 minutes while the teacher pointed at countries on the pull-down map at the front of the room. BOOOOOOORING. The textbook did nothing to encourage me to seek more information, and let’s be honest, any kind of social studies education in the 1980’s was heavily USA-centric.
I don’t want that for my kids. I don’t want my kids to thin the world is booooring. I don’t want my kids to think the world is wrong unless you’re American. I don’t want my kids to think that white people made all of the history. Mostly, I don’t want my kids to lose their enthusiasm for exploration or the curiosity about the differences between us because they have to sit through a lecture and map pointing. I want my children to understand that geography is an appreciation for the world and the people who live in it, ALL of the people! So how can we make geography fun for our children? Are there any games that teach geography?
How to Make Geography Fun For All Ages!
Workbooks & Books To Learn About Geography
Evan-Moor Daily Geography Practice – This workbook series is specatcular! Now, I’m not the biggest workbook fan but I do get that sometimes they’re wonderful tools, and that’s definitely the case here. One lesson a week, 2 questions a day. These books teach the basics of geography and present it in a child-friendly manner, even those who are reluctant writers.
Get Mapmaking is a wonderful, interactive mapping book for middle school kids! This is especially great for artists and creative thinkers. I won’t go into great depths here because a full review is pending, but this is an amazing book for your kids to play with!
National Geographic World Atlas. A good atlas is a must for any homeschool, but it can be tough to find one that is appropriate for children to use. This particular atlas is one your child can use all the way through high school.
Do you want to WATCH me talk about all of the resources mentioned here? Watch my Broadcast here! (or scroll down to watch)
Games that Teach Geography
Take Off is a great game with a gigantic map! Players take off in a jet and follow various flight paths until they make it across the world, visiting many countries on their journey. This game is out of print and somewhat difficult to find, but I managed to score it for JUST 3 BUCKS at Goodwill a few weeks ago!
Explore the World Game – This is a hilarious game! I know you’ll love playing this game with your kids! This is one of those games that your kids will want to play over and over. Read my review here. If you’re looking for games that teach geography, you can’t beat this one for kids ages 5-10.
Ravensburger’s 3D Puzzleball Globe has become a favorite of some of my kids. They like to time themselves to see if they can assemble it faster each time. They think they’re putting together a challenging puzzle and beating their siblings, I know they’re also getting a good dose of geography 😉 Read my review of the 3D Puzzleball Globe.
Learn About Geography Through Food
Try the World is a bi-monthly subscription box that rocks our world! Each box brings us goodies from around the world, our most recent box was Sweden. You can watch us unbox the Sweden box here! If you like it, you can get a FREE BOX BY CLICKING HERE (just pay S&H*)
Food is something everyone in the universe can relate to. We all eat for sustenance, to celebrate, to mourn…Every month I have my kids go through our Holidays of the World cookbook and pick a meal or two. We augment this by watching videos about the country! We visit the country’s tourism page, we look for videos that show traditional music of the region, fashion through the years…whatever we can find.
*The Try The World referral promotion frequently changes and may have changed to a percent or dollar amount off of a box.
Streaming media is probably the #1 tool we use when we teach geography!
Why? Streaming media allows us to see the country, to hear the words of its people, without having to buy a plane ticket. Sure, going there and seeing the country first-hand is better, but that’s not feasible since we want to know everything about everywhere! 🙂 We’re working on making our wanderlust dreams come true, but until then we are thankful that we can at least watch videos about the country.
Here are 5 of our favorite YouTube channels to learn about geography:
OMGeography – The bad news is that there are only 4 videos but the good new is that they’re adorable and kids, especially younger kids, will really relate to them. I don’t know what happened to the kid in these videos, but I hope he’s off exploring the world right now. This channel is best for the younger elementary crowd and people who love pandas.
World Geography Playlist – This isn’t one video, rather it’s a playlist someone put together but it’s excellent! It starts with why we study geography and ends with baby names of past centuries. It’s a really wonderful resource for middle and high school kids.
Geography Now – This is my favorite geography channel on YouTube! The videos are funny, interesting, and just fast enough to keep my ADHD brain reading. The host covers history, geographical features, traditions…it’s all there. There is the occasional mild swear word (very occasional), and the interest level is high school and adult.
GeographyHub – Is a neat channel that answers those questions we all have at one time or another, like “Why are some flags so similar?” and “Where, exactly, are the Hunger Game districts?” And if you haven’t asked questions like that before, you will once you start watching these videos. GeographyHub presents geography in a way that will be especially interesting to middle and high school-aged students.
Travel with Kids – This is a well-produced show about a family that, well, travels with their kids! This show is on YouTube and Amazon Prime (get a free 30 day trial!) My kids really enjoy this show, especially when they were younger. This show is perfect for preschool and elementary-aged kids.
Meg Grooms is a decades-long secular homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle, currently calling Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.