Immy has been learning about the seven continents of the world at school recently and as a topic it has really captured her imagination. And even very young children will often show interest in looking at maps and learning about the world – in fact, my just-turned-three year old loves our children’s atlas (I have included details for it below). The following collection of resources is perfect for use by parents and teachers to make the world come alive to children, especially when introduced thoughtfully and playfully.
1. Create Your Own World Map Placemat
Having the world at their fingertips at mealtimes is sure to invite discussion! And while older children can label and colour the free printable map included below, it doesn’t take long to create one yourself for younger children. Glue the coloured map onto some lightweight card and laminate for durability and then have fun talking about the continents or countries of the world.
Your child can find places they have personally visited, or those visited by (or home to interstate or overseas) family and friends. They can also locate the countries favourite story book characters call home – like Madeline in France and Handa in Kenya. Once your placemat is laminated, your child can also circle countries or draw lines representing travel routes between countries.
2. Match it with a set of Safari’s Around the World Landmarks Toob
This set of landmarks from Safari’s Toob sets are perfect for matching countries with famous landmarks. These small replicas can also be added to block and small world play for additional exploration and fun.
3. Hang a Wall Map
If you have the space in your home, consider hanging a world map. You might like an easily movable paper world map or consider a removable wall sticker or more permanent wallpaper option. Here are four fun options from Etsy;
4. Read a Child Friendly Atlas
As I mentioned earlier, our littlest loves the Usborne Lift-The-Flap World Atlas. It includes lots of interesting facts about the countries of the world and a fabulous series of flaps (the pages and flaps are thick cardboard for extra durability). Alternatively, a student’s atlas or beginner’s version – like this National Geographic Kid’s Beginner World Atlas or the DK First Atlas are great for exploring with kids.
5. Put together a World Map Jigsaw Puzzle
My girls both love puzzles and we have a lot of fun completing them together – whether it be a ten piece peg puzzle with AJ or a 100 piece puzzle with Immy. Working together on a world map puzzle provides a fabulous opportunity to talk about the world and many children’s map puzzles include plenty of visual features to talk about – things like animals and landmarks native to the country.
6. Sing The 7 Continents Song – Youtube
Immy learnt the name of the continents after listening to this song at school just a few times. Now we listen to it often!
7. Learn more about the world with the Barefoot Books World Atlas App
This is a paid app with different modules that you can purchase in-app. We have stuck with the Starter Atlas Pack and it has plenty to explore. The globe spins and zooms and you can tap on any icon or country to bring up information about the place or icon you have chosen. Younger children can have the information read to them. They can also tap to see a photograph of the place, natural feature, man made landmark, animal or machine.
It’s lots of fun to explore!
Printable World Map
To download and print: Click on the map image below. This will open the poster PDF file. Download the PDF to your own computer. Open the PDF and print. When printing, select “Fit to printable area” (or similar) to ensure the page fits with your printer type and local paper size (these have been created at A4 size). I prefer printing onto matte or semi-gloss photo paper. Personal, non commercial use only.
What are your favourite resources for exploring the world and maps with children?