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.
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.
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.