Latticed Learning - Geography

Learn while playing with Latticed Learning!  This week's theme has plenty of activities to go along with it - keep reading to find out more!

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Welcome back to Latticed Learning!  This year, we're continuing to learn while we play - repeating many of our favorites from the past while adding in all sorts of new activities as well.

This day's post is devoted to our weekly themes - some weeks have more activities than others, but each lesson will be fun for you to explore with your little one!

Plus, today I'm over at Pam Barnhill's blog sharing just how to Make Geography Fun for Your Preschoolers. Be sure to click on over and check that out, in addition to all the fun activities here!

Read All About It

There are some great children's books out there that get kids excited about geographical concepts, including:

The Scrambled States of America is one that we read over.  And over.  And over.  Between it and the video, Gv pretty much learned all 50 of the states.

Me on the Map is a popular choice, but for good reason.  It really helps personalize maps for kids.

Usborne Children's Picture Atlas not only has typical great Usborne illustrations and kid-sized facts, but provides a seek-and-find aspect, as well.  

M is for Majestic highlights the National Parks - so many great places to explore in the great outdoors!

National Geographic Kids Beginner's World Atlas is an over-sized book which introduces the different types of maps in addition to sharing factual tidbits from all over the world.

Most of these next books are some of my favorites from my classroom, but they didn't make the top five because they're just a bit too overwhelming for Gv at this age.  We still enjoyed flipping through them, though, and I know they'll be loads of fun when she gets a bit older: 

S is for Sunshine (There's a book for every state in this Discover America State by State series!)

Go, Go America

Follow That Map This was a very Where's Waldo-type book.

Ms. Frizzle's Adventures Imperial China

A Visit to Mexico

A Walk in Paris & A Walk in London

Maps & Globes Loads of information, but not too overwhelming for a little one to digest.


My Map Book I wasn't a huge fan of the illustration style of this one, but I loved all the creative map ideas it presented.

America the Beautiful

National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas

DK Travel Guides Kids' London

Lonely Planet's Not-For-Parents London

Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America (Even the illustrations were too overwhelming for Gv at this stage, but the kids in my classroom loved to just sit with this book and soak everything in.  I love the concept of this book, with its imaginary family trip to all the states!)

Sing Some Songs

We actually had a ton of great music to choose from this week, but these were our favorites:

Our entire collection of Putumayo music, many of which I highlighted in this post as well as this one.

This entire CD.

Alphabet of Nations from the albums I share here.

Name the Oceans from this disc.

The People in Your Neighborhood from this.

Alabama, Mississippi from this guy.

Watch Some Videos

You could easily choose any movie related to another country, like one of the ones we've shared on our Passport to Fun trips, but here are the main things we watched this week:

I've always loved the Globe Trekker series, as well as Rick Steves, Rudy Maxa and Samantha Brown. I'll Have What Phil's Having is a fun show to watch, too!

Little Big World looks interesting, as does Travelust and Travel Man.

This short movie goes along with the fun book. (& we watched it over & over & over...)

I sang this song to Gv all week long (& would usually point out each state as I said it).  If you don't know it, this short video will help you out.

Play and Create

We did several things to correspond to our topic this week:

We made our own map (I got the idea from here) to go along with this must-have book.  Gv had fun "reading" through the story and following the path of the map on her own the rest of the week:

We put together all our U.S.A. puzzles.  Many.  Many.  Many times:  

As if all of these weren't enough, Gv discovered this one at our library and we had to put it together, as well.  Each trip.  And we went there three times this week...

I took an old AAA map of the Southeastern States that we had lying around and used a highlighter to trace over all the major routes we've driven since Gv has been born.

She spent loads of time tracing the lines with her finger and exploring the map:

Yes, the floor totally looks this messy. All. The. Time.
You feel better about your own floor now, don't you?

I printed out this adorable U.S.A. passport, which could be used in so many different ways.  

I'd planned to just stick everything on a ring so Gv could flip through the colorful pages and get familiar with the outlines of each state, but then I decided to create a more permanent book for her.  I put them in one of our dollar-store photo albums and then wrote the dates of Gv's first visit to each state - this way, we can add each new state she visits in the future, which I think is really cool:

did stick these pages on a ring.  There were several countries G or I have visited that weren't included in the set, so I'm thinking about making up my own version of this, someday.

Gv and I colored in the pages for any country G or I have visited and then I wrote "Mommy" or "Daddy" to show which one of us has been there.

I figured it would help Gv make a connection to the different countries, if she knew one of us had seen it:

I colored in the country names in rainbow colors (of course), which led to a fun, impromptu game of "what color is the letter "t" followed by "what letter is blue."

I had this plan to draw a grid on the driveway with chalk, then have Gv follow my directions to move from one corner of the grid to the other.  We had several days of rain, so I moved the plan inside and we just used our kitchen tiles as our grid (I had to stick post-its on each one, though, because she wasn't quite getting the concept of standing in the "box" of each tile).

Instead of telling her to "take two steps east" (which I'll do when she's older), I just asked her to take one or two steps forward, backward, to the left, or to the right.

We had fun laughing through this game and I DID take a photo, but for some reason, I just can't find it, so you'll have to picture it all in your mind until I do.

Geez, Louise, now I can't find my photo of the next activity...I am losing my mind, apparently.

We made a poster of our neighborhood.  I'd printed photos of places like our church, the library, the grocery store and G's school.  Gv glue them all down in their general locations, then we drew in things like friends' houses, stop signs and lights, our car, and even Gv.

She used a toy car to travel around town and "visit" all her usual haunts, which was lots of fun.

The remains of her poster, which she continues to play with, but has since ripped off all the photos and stuck them someplace "special" that I am not privy to at the moment...

I gave Gv all sorts of other maps to play with this week:  AAA state maps (which we marked special locations on using stickers), Google Earth maps for her to color and mark up, maps for parks and attractions (like Sea World) for her to look at, as well as a globe.

We also had a Passport to Fun "trip," so that worked out perfectly for this week, as well.

Finally, we did one of my favorite activities that I'd used in my classroom.  After reading Me on the Map, we created this:

I measured our paper plate, then drew circles with decreasing diameters (an inch smaller at a time) on construction paper (in rainbow colors, of course).

Gv cut them all out, we hole-punched everything to line up at the top and then threaded it all onto a ring.

I printed out a photo of Gv for her to cut and glue onto the "Me" page, then printed a zoomed-in photo of our house from Google Earth for her to cut and add to the "My House" page:

For the "My City" page, I printed a cute graphic for the state of FL (whoops, forgot a photo of that page) and stuck a star sticker on our city's location.

This graphic (there's one for all the states) went on the "My State" page:

We used this for the "My Country" page:

This went on our "My Continent" page:

And this cute graphic (page 9 of the "Continent Kids" pack) went on the "My Planet" page:

Hmmm...she colored in Africa as "hers" on this picture...clearly we have some work still to do!
I also printed out page 7 of this pack and this map to frame and hang in Gv's room.  I just love how colorful and fun each one is!

Looking for all the great posts associated with this concept in one place?  Check out my Latticed Learning page here!

What's your favorite thing that we did this week?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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