Maps are a fun way to engage pre- and early readers with the concept that printed symbols communicate meaning. The map (whether real or homemade) provides a wonderful, hands-on, motivating context for learning.
Which sort of map would your child most like to play with?
Whether it be pirate play, exploring outer space or birthday surprises, treasure maps are fun for children of all ages. This previous post shares 5 ways with treasure maps suitable for pre-readers through to older children. Or check out these ideas from the Playopedia archives;
Zoo (or other venue) maps
Picking up a venue map can lead to lots of follow up imaginary (and literacy) play once you are home again! Immy made the ‘zoo’ shown above after a recent visit to the Perth Zoo with her Dad. An activity she has enjoyed over and over again, pretty much each time we have visited the zoo.
Heading to a new town or city to explore on your next holiday? Involve your child in the excursion planning by picking up a range of tourist maps and showing them how to use them. Tourist maps often use symbols as well as words for key locations, which is just perfect for pre-readers.
Add a street directory to your child’s imaginary play. Check out this post for ideas on how to introduce a street directory to your child’s play.
Whether it be a wall map, placemat or children’s atlas, world maps have the potential to engage a young child with the wider world in which they live. For ideas for introducing maps to your child, check out Vanessa Rough’s article, Playing with Maps, in the first issue of Play Grow Learn.