My mother scored a gorgeous vintage school map of the state of New York. Last week she hung it up in her barn's downstairs bedroom, where my children sleep when they stay over. We were all so excited, and it got me thinking about the role maps have played in my life.
My sense of the world, and even the United States, was fuzzy until I met my husband, a map aficionado. I had always been a good student, but without the constant visual of maps, my sense of location wasn't my strength. He changed all that when he handed my a Rand McNalley Road Atlas and invited me to be the navigator on what turned out to be many trips across the country... up and down the coasts, and even a wild trek from Montreal to BC. Nothing beats traveling, with map in hand (a GPS is not same!,) to really get a sense of place. I believe the next best thing is to have maps, globes, and atlases handy. Having them accessible is an invitation for exploration. Children have an innate fascination with maps, globes and other children around the world. Maybe this is why geography is one of the oldest sciences. It asks the most basic question "where am I and what's over there?". This morning I gathered a little list of things we've enjoyed in our home. This is by no means a comprehensive list, just what I put together from doing a quick stroll around the house glancing at walls, checking bookshelves and looking in the game cabinet. We get lots of our resources used, so they may not be perfectly up to date but are accurate and do the trick.
-Peters Projection World MapPeters - Laminated Ours hangs in our art corner where the children spend tons of time.
"All the countries of the world are represented at true size and true proportion. This is one of the few commercially available maps that is fair to all peoples. Most maps drastically enlarge the size of the Northern hemisphere countries and diminish the size of the Southern hemisphere countries. This traditional bias leads most people to overestimate the importance of the developed nations based on their inflated appearance"
-Melissa & Doug's License Plate Game 2098
-Floor puzzles of the world and our country are always popular... we have several.
-Map placemats- we love educational placemats at snack time.
-GEOGRAPHY: This is a favorite road trip game once a child has a general knowledge of reading and geography. Start with any place in the world-- "Camaroon", for example. The next person has to think of a place that begins with the last letter of "Camaroon," such as "New York." Whoever goes next needs a place that starts with an K. You may not use the same place twice in a game--and it has to be a real place.
A few book suggestions:
- Bread, Bread, Bread any and all of Anne Morris' series Around the World
- Children Just Like Me
- My World- From the Seven Continents to The Seven Seas, From Katmandu to Kalamazoo
- Me on the Map
- Mapping Penny's World
- DK First Atlas
- National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers