A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Helping Your Child Learn Geography - October 1996


Geography is a way of thinking, of asking questions, of observing and appreciating the Earth. Geography gives us the tools we need to move about in the world, to make wise decisions about our environment, and to relate more meaningfully to people from other lands and cultures. You can help your children learn by offering them interesting activities and by encouraging them to ask questions about their surroundings.

How you talk about and relate to the world is important to your children. Help your children build correct mental images by using the right geographic terms. For instance, say, "We're going north to Maine to visit Grandma," or "west to California to see Uncle John," rather than "up to Maine," or "out to California." Use words such as desert, peninsula, boundaries, and continent and talk about what these terms mean. Many words used in geography are everyday words. But, like any other field of learning, geography has a vocabulary of its own. (See the glossary.)

Turn to maps in the course of your life--as you plan outings and trips, watch television shows, read stories together, or discuss the news. Children who grow up around maps and atlases are more likely to get the "map habit" than those who don't. So, get a good atlas, as well as a dictionary. Check at public library used- book sales or at yard sales for good buys. You can often get maps at little or no cost. (See the list of Free and Inexpensive Materials in the back of this booklet.)

The activities suggested are only a few examples of the many ways you can bring geographic thinking into your child's early experiences. We hope your family has fun doing them and develops many more activities of its own. Such simple, enjoyable activities can stimulate children's interest in geography and give them a basic understanding that lays the foundation for study in school.

[Regions: How They Form and Change] [Table of Contents] [3 Different Maps of Salt Lake City]