Looking for some fun ways to mix things up in your geography lessons? Here are five fun ways to help the kids learn their way around the world.
- Online games: Play games like Countries in Europe, The USA Map or the Countries of the World Quiz. They're addictive fun and you really pick up a lot of information fast! Our family loves to work together to top our previous scores.
- Globe challenge: Set up a sand timer and get out a globe. Take turns naming a place on the globe and see if the other person can find it before the sand runs out. We give hints for younger players (such as "It's part of North America" or "It's North of the Equator") and when players are struggling.
- Map darts: Here's a fun one for older kids, especially outside in a garage or patio area. Find or make a large corkboard and rotate various large maps on top of it. Challenge the kids to throw darts at a specific state, country, city or other geographic point of interest. The person who comes closest to the mark scores a point. You can decide if you'll allow the kids to go find the point first and then aim, or if they have to guess and throw, and then find it after everyone has thrown to see who was closest. (Note: If kids are too young to safely use darts, you can also play this with spitballs. What child isn't going to love a school game that involves those?!)
- Pin the plane on the country. Put a large world map on the wall and make a small paper plane to attach with a piece of double sided tape, a push pin or a bit of blue-tack. Show the kids a location on the map and then blindfold them, spin them around and have them try to land the plane as close as possible to that spot. For a more advanced version, don't show the kids where the location is beforehand. Measure how far off each child is (be sure to convert to real miles!) and see who lands closest.
- Watch and sing: Countries change often, so there are often changes as soon as someone comes out with a great song or video to help remember all (or lots) of the countries. That said, there are some great ones out there. This song by Tom Chapin is lots of fun for kids to try to sing along to. This video from the Animaniacs series is a hit in our house, and "Zombiedude" updated it and made his own version in 2012, with all the countries listed in the description so you can sing along. Be sure to also check out 6 year-old Brennan's remarkable version! Why not challenge the kids to make their own?