Children’s Books and a World Geography Game

Children's Books and a World Geography Game - Mud Hut Mama

I’ve been wanting to start introducing geography to my girls for a while now. We have family in the States and throughout southern Africa and my girls know the names of the countries that they live in but I realized that we had no world maps in the house to show them where these places are. During our recent trip to Botswana I was on the hunt for some resources to help them learn a little bit of geography and I found this great world map puzzle made out of thick foam. It was an instant hit. Boo loves trying to piece it together and Kooks loves to take it apart.

World Map Puzzle-Mat - Mud Hut Mama

One of our favorite Christmas gifts was the Care for Our World Play Set the girls received from their grandparents. It’s a lovely book written by Karen Robbins with beautiful illustrations by Alexandra Ball emphasizing the importance of caring for the earth and all its inhabitants. It includes everything from the grass to the mountains and the insects to the whales. “This Earth is the one place that all of us share, so let’s work together and show how we care.” The sweet rhyme and strong conservation message that all living things are connected would be enough to make me love this book but the ease of turning it into a geography lesson made it even more endearing. While no countries or continents are specifically named, there is a two page spread of animals for every continent, although Europe isn’t highlighted quite as much as the others.
In addition the play set came with cardboard cut outs of many of the animals pictured and was packaged in a “habitat box” that provides a backdrop for play. We read the story through and then grouped our cardboard animals on the continents they live in. There is even a spread for sea animals which gave us the opportunity to talk about the fact that the blue spaces on our world map represented the oceans. It was a really fun way to introduce maps and the contients to the girls. Kooks (2 1/2) had more fun taking the pieces apart but Boo (3 1/2) got really into our world geography game.

Care for Our World Playset - Mud Hut Mama

Since we had so much fun with that book I decided to pull out an old favorite, Charlie’s Superhero Underpants by Paul Bright and Lee Wildish. In this silly story Charlie’s superhero underpants get blown off the washing line and he travels the earth where he finds a variety of animals wearing his family’s laundry while searching for his underpants. He visits one country in each of five different continents. None of the washing ends up in Australia or Antarctica, but we were able to spend some more time on Europe because Charlie, “spied a fine French fox, wearing sister Sophie’s socks” in a two page spread that shows the streets of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. There is also a really nice rhyme and rhythm to this story and my girls love seeing all the silly places that Charlie finds his family’s clothes. They had a lot of fun looking on the map at where those places are and how they fit into the larger continents we had just played with.
Since this first geography lesson about a week ago, Boo has been asking for these three items regularly and has had fun reviewing the continents while working on the puzzle or playing with the animal cut outs. I’m looking forward to playing our geography game with other picture books that travel the world. We have already ordered My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone and Christopher Corr which I recently found out also has a Spanish language edition.

Do you have any favorite children’s books for teaching Geography?

Disclaimer: The books above are linked to my Amazon Affiliate account. If you purchase through this link I will receive a small commission.

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About Jody Tilbury

23 Responses to “Children’s Books and a World Geography Game”

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  1. Frances says:

    What a wonderful post! I love, love the world map! No wonder the girls love it. I think I’m going to look into the Spanish version of My Granny went to market for little one sounds like a great book! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Heather says:

    Love the puzzle map – Montessori also has this. There is a continent song as well which is cool.

  3. We started our geography lessons in a really ‘grand’ way– cosmically. : )
    You might enjoy this post on how we integrated a cosmic education. http://www.teachingstars.com/2011/09/14/cosmic-tower/

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      I love it Kristen – such a cool way to use stacking cups! I think we’ll give it a try!

  4. Yogamama says:

    You are invited to join my new weekly link-up “Say it Two Ways Thursdays”! I would love for you to link up activities like this that teach children about other languages and cultures. Link up at http://toddlefast.blogspot.com/search/label/Say It Two Ways Thursdays.

  5. Amanda says:

    Hi there! So glad to read another post! 🙂 Just a question for you–do you recommend anything in particular for a stay-at-home mama of a 2.5 year old girl who wants to start homeschooling? I’m not really sure if there is anything for her age group or not. Or do you recommend I do any or all of the schooling that you have posted about? 🙂 Look forward to hearing back from you!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thanks Amanda – I started homeschooling last year with my oldest in mind – she had just turned 3 but my youngest has been participating in almost everything we’ve done. She loves it and has picked up more than I imagined she would. She is now 2.5 so yes most of the activities I’ve posted about are appropriate for that age. She especially loves all the sorting activities and her favorite DVD at the moment is the Leap Frog Letter Factory – which I highly recommend for learning letter sounds. Please let me know how it goes if you do try any of the activities you find here – I hope your daughter enjoys them!

  6. Holly says:

    As a former teacher, I loved teaching the continents and traveling the world. I have never heard of the Charlie book. I am excited to read it to my daughter. We love homeschooling and learning about places around the world.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Hi Holly, I hope your daughter enjoys the book as much as my girls do. Thank you for stopping by my blog!

  7. I was just reading this and my son came up and asked me who this little girl is (Adorable pics BTW!). I told him she was our internet friend and she lives in Malawi. He asked if we could go visit her today. I guess it’s time for me to start some geography lessons.

    Oh, now he just asked how long it will take to get to “Malindia.” ; )

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      That would be so much fun – you never know we may just have the opportunity to get together in person one of these days!

  8. Penny says:

    Gosh I so need that for my girls and myself actually. I’m okay with tell you were animals are in the world but not awesome. I could do with a little rehash! Also, a great way to teach the kids about the earth through animals!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      I can always use a refresher with geography and I think I had as much fun with it as the girls.

  9. laura oreamuno says:

    Hi Jody! I am a Preschool Teacher at a private school in San Jose, Costa Rica. Central America. Last three years I have been uncharged of Science and Around the World. I thought that since you want to focus on Geoagraphy you could like to visit my “Around the World” board on Pinterest. Usually following kids interests I do lots about Fauna…(animals), big cities and how kids live by Continents.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you so much Laura – you have some great boards – I’m now following you and looking forward to trying out some of your ideas.

  10. That Care for Our World play set looks so neat!

    I think we need to borrow “My Granny Went to Market” from the library.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      We are having a lot of fun with it. I’ll be interested to know what you think of “My Granny Went to Market” – our copy will arrive in April when my parents come to visit.

  11. Nina says:

    Thanks for sharing great resources. I don’t think we have any set geography books or toys so these come in handy.

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  1. […] Mud Hut Mama shows us how through a selection of wonderful books and games, she takes her girls on a tour of the world opening their eyes to different environments and cultures and how rhymes and word games can help reinforce these new lessons. […]