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


Children are playing in the sand. They make roads for cars. One builds a castle where a doll can live. Another scoops out a hole, uses the dirt to make a hill, and pours some water in the hole to make a lake. Sticks become bridges and trees. The children name the streets and may even use a watering can to make rain.

Although they don't know it, these children are learning the principles of geography. They are seeing how people interact with the Earth, manipulating the environment, learning how climate changes the character of a place, and looking at how places relate to each other through the movement of things from one place to another.

With this book, we hope you, as parents, will get ideas for activities that will use your children's play to help them learn more geography--the study of the Earth. Most of the suggestions in this book are geared to children from 5 to 10 years of age. Keep in mind, however, that youngsters vary widely in their development, and others--younger and older--may find the activities appropriate.

The activities and games are organized around five specific themes* that help focus our thinking:

  1. Where are things located?
  2. What characteristics make a place special?
  3. What are relationships among people and places?
  4. What are the patterns of movement of people, products, and information?
  5. How can the Earth be divided into regions for study?
Each chapter begins with some background and examples of questions that geographers use as they strive to understand the Earth. This is followed by activities to help children learn key ideas.

*These five themes were developed by the Committee on Geographic Information of the National Council for Geographic Education and the Association of American Geographers. They are consistent with the standards for teaching geography to students K-12, released in 1994. See References.

[Foreword] [Table of Contents] [Location: Position on the Earth's Surface]