I think most homeschooling parents love the idea of teaching geography and exploring the world with their kids. I know that’s the case for me, but I also know the difficulty of squeezing one more thing into our homeschool day.
And when young kids are involved? Well, homeschool life often involves survival mode and a subject like geography can easily shift to our list of things we never got around to doing.
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I’m not against projects, activities, and fussy geography from time to time. I just know that I need less fuss in my day-to-day routine in order to stay consistent and make geography a regular part of our homeschooling. Can you relate?
That’s why I’m sharing some no-fuss ways to teach geography today. These are easy and practical ways to explore new places and meet new people with your young kids without the overwhelm that comes with planning activities and complicated projects.
Ready to get started with these no-fuss ways to approach geography with your young ones? The best place to start is by getting a map or globe that you can regularly display in your space. By simply having the world in plain view, you have an easy and familiar reference tool available to use and you’ll be ready to implement these no-fuss ideas each day.
Ideas for Exploring Geography with Young Children
1. Read Your Way Around the World
Picture books are a fantastic way to explore the world with young kids and are one of my favorite no-fuss approaches to geography! In fact, some of my favorite homeschooling memories involve curling up on the couch and visiting new places through the pages of a book!
We’ve visited Paris through Madeline, Spain with Ferdinand, Venice with Papa Piccolo, Russia through Another Celebrated Dancing Bear, China through Ping, and Japan through Grandfather’s Journey, just to name a few of our favorites.
Not sure where to start with picture books? You can look through free book lists like these two on France and Italy or use a specific resource to guide you as you work around the world in books. Give Your Child the World is an example of one such resource. It contains categorized book suggestions by ages and continents and is a perfect one-stop resource for reading suggestions.
2. Embrace Repetition
Whether you’re reading with younger children, traveling, or discussing both familiar and new places, take every opportunity to look at a map together. Start by helping your child locate where you live and put a sticker or pushpin there to serve as a quick reference point. From then on, you can do the same pinpointing process each time you visit or learn about a new place.
Each time you go to the map, point out the new location and previous locations you’ve marked. Don’t merely focus on one specific place, but add it to what you’ve already covered. For example, each time we read one of the picture books I referenced earlier, my daughter headed to the map and located the focal country.
She learned to identify Italy on a world map before any other country. Then came China, France, Japan, and more. Instead of locating each new country alone each time we read a new book, I showed her our new country and then let her identify the others. That allowed her to review previous countries we covered without overwhelming her as she learned to locate a new one.
3. Focus on Culture
Children are naturally interested in learning about life in other parts of the world, so that makes this a great no-fuss way to explore geography with young kids.
Look for special events happening in your community to bring these other cultures to life. If your community is small or doesn’t have anything like this happening too often, look into events hosted by a local university or community college, or even libraries outside of your community.
Beyond special events, you can also check your local library for books to help you explore what life is like in different parts of the world. Books with great pictures or illustrations will help young kids connect with those cultures and better understand that life for them doesn’t necessarily resemble life across the world, but that we all have things in common.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Looking for more help with homeschool geography? Here are few of my favorites:
- Teaching Geography in Your Homeschool – This list includes my favorite homeschool geography resources, but isn’t limited no-fuss or young kids.
- Hands On Geography – This book has tons of hands-on activities and ideas for teaching geography in a variety of ways. Full disclosure: it contains no-fuss ideas and fussy ideas, but you can use what you like and leave the rest behind. Regardless, it’s one we turn to frequently in our homeschool.
- Little Passports – If you prefer a geography option that’s no-fuss in the sense that you don’t have to plan or make extra shopping trips, Little Passports might be a great fit for you. After all, what’s easier than receiving all you need for a new geography adventure in the mail each month? Also worth noting, even if you’re not interested in a monthly subscription, the Little Passports blog has tons of great resources like this feasts around the world article to help you explore other cultures with young kids.
- Games like Flag Frenzy and Scrambled States can also be fun ways to help kids to learn elements of geography. Better yet, everyone benefits when you can sneak learning into family game night!
What about you? Do you have easy suggestions for helping kids learn geography? Share them in the comments below so that we can all take note!