Wednesday, September 22, 2010

image Mar8_WorldTravel_2

Since my daughter is not even 4 yet, I don’t expect her to have any sort of mastery in geography. Yes, we do look at maps and talk about countries, oceans and continents, but I don’t really expect her to point out any countries on the map and I expect her even less to label blank maps. My goal is just to give her “a taste” of geography, and I intend to revisit places on the map as many times as she wants to. For example, we have already “visited” Germany, Israel and Egypt twice, because she wanted to learn more about these places.

I usually prepare for geography theme in advance, because the books take a while to arrive to our library if they are ordered through our interlibrary Link+ system. Still, it’s awesome that I can find almost any book in California-Nevada libraries. So I go to Amazon.com and search for books with the name of the country in the title. Then I refine my search to select only books for children age 4-8 and try to find something that my daughter might like. In the beginning I tried some books like ABC of country X or Discover the World alphabet, but they all turned out to be too complex to hold Anna’s interest. Now I usually try to find one fiction and one non-fiction book about the country and take it from there.

We also try to literally taste the country by selecting a recipe from its national cuisine. It’s not difficult with our friend Google. Anna likes to say, we need to ask Internet, she knows everything. I was lucky to find German, Indian, Japanese, and Mexican dishes that were easy to make and they were even accepted by my picky eater.

I try to incorporate theme crafts, but since Anna is not particularly interested in the crafts, it is “hit-and-miss”. The best places for country-based crafts I found so far were DLTK Countries and Cultures and Activity Village crafts. Generally, it works best when I give Anna a list of possible crafts together with a picture of a completed craft, but to be honest, I rarely have that kind of time.

In addition to cooking, reading and crafting we play. We play travel, we pretend to be in the country, we pretend living in this country, we talk about famous places of that country. We don’t bother learning the flags, the capitals or even a lot of facts about the country – sometimes these things are mentioned in the books we read, but I don’t think it’s important for a four year old to know trivia facts. I just want her to be aware how big the world is, how many places are there to visit and how much fun it is to learn something new about them.

Come and share your adventures in time and space at History/Geography Exchange hosted by Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.

11 comments:

littlewondersdays said...

I just have to say that I'm impressed with your lessons for geography. We recently had parent night at Little J's school and there wasn't a trace of geography in his classroom. This is so different from his Montessori class. We're going to start doing some things at home to augment what is lacking at school and I'm definitely using your posts as a reference!

Christy said...

I agree and I also just want to give my kids an introduction or taste for geography. I am amazed at how many states they can now point out on maps though. Our approach to geography is very similar to yours and we love to cook state foods.

April said...

I am planning on learning a little bit about Mexico and the States with my daughter and I am sure some people might think its a little crazy because shes 2 but I am definitely going to use an approach similar to the one you take (as well as Christy from Superheroes and Princesses). I am not going to have her memorize anything or quiz her. It will basically be theme based learning (with a geography twist). There is going to be a lot of Day of the Dead in October at our house.

Eva said...

I really like how you plan your geography lessons, I agree that at such a young age children don't need mastery in the subject :)

Elise said...

"We need to ask Internet, she knows everything", made me giggle.

I like the fun ideas and resources you use to foster a desire to learn more about the world. I agree, it really is about piquing their interest in other countires at this age.

Ticia said...

We do finding things on the map as a game, that way they get used to the idea, but it's not any sort of quiz. The kids love it.

Joyful Learner said...

I agree with you 100%. Four years olds should not be required to memorize facts...that is unless the child loves to. JC learned the names of continents through song and can locate them on a map because of Montessori activities. It has helped to hang everything else we do as we have a place to connect many of the books we read. For example, FIAR stories and MTH books. Every time we read one of these books, we locate where the story took place. It's a fun exercise for us both. My geography skills are poor (neglected in school) so I'm learning along with our daughter. So far, she seems most interested in where Jack and Annie travel to and where various animals live. No interest in flags or other facts as of yet so we put off our postcard studies.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Great ideas!! And I love Anna's quote about the internet -- so funny!! I'm bookmarking this gem of a post. Geography is so much fun at your house!!

MaryAnne said...

I love the way you bring so many countries to life for your daughter.

Debbie said...

Great post! I agree with everything you say here. I know I sure don't expect Selena to remember everything we are learning. Thank you for linking this post up this week!

Our Homeschool Fun said...

I love your approach to geography and agree with the way you are going about teaching it to Anna.

I always enjoy your geo posts and get ideas that I would have fun doing her as well.