Step 1: Wall Map
We started with putting up a nice big wall map sticker at my 4 year old’s eye level, so he could draw etc on it with dry erase markers. This answered some questions:
Which country were you born in?
Which country are you from?
Which country do you live in?
Which countries are your class mates and friends from?
Which language is spoken where?
Why do India & Chile has opposite weathers?
Which is that largest country?
What are the names of continents?
Where do penguins live?
Step 2: Globe
After a few months, we got him a globe (oops, that was Santa, sorry)
Light a torch on the globe and spin in around to know about day & night.
Why we have opposite weathers in different hemispheres?
Why is earth inhabitable while the other planets aren’t?
Why does Earth take 1 year while Jupiter takes 12 years to circle the Sun?
Why do we need to recycle?
Why should we save energy?
What is Global Warming?
That’s the beauty of what Maria Montessori calls The Absorbent Mind. While I was taught these “complicated" concepts when I was perhaps 13, my 4 year old gets it quickly.
Step 3: Map Puzzle
Then we got him a puzzle for “biggest countries in the world” and as soon as he opened it excitedly, he promptly put Russia, Canada, India, Peru and Argentina in place (a proud mama moment!). I got this pack from India for only $4 (which is what I miss about my country the most, you could get awesome stuff at reasonable prices!).
|After putting together the map, he put number stickers on each country on the basis of size ranking.|
Step 4: Monuments, Birds, Animals & Houses
Then we got him 4 Map Activities by Imagimake: Construction sets of 13 Monuments, 13 Birds, 13 Animals & 13 Houses (Clicking will take you to the Amazon.com link - I am an affiliate) First make each of them and then place em where they're found on the map!
The best part is making them! Each bird/animal/monument/house comes in a little packet with foam parts & an instruction slip. We do it together, since he's just 4 ( I think it a 5+ year old will have the fine motor skills be able to do it independently)
I am usually big on "open ended" stuff, but this was great from engineering point of view (The E in STEM!). He isn't a big fan of legos, so to actually put together parts by following pictorial instructions was actually fantastic.
We have a 3 item rule, i.e. making only 3 a day, so 52 items shall take a good 2-3 weeks.
|A map puzzle + Tiny bags of construction sets + Glue|
|The Taj Mahal- India|
|Christ The Redeemer- Brazil|
|Polar Bears- Greenland|
|Octopus- Pacific Ocean|
|Boat House- Thailand|
|Māori House- New Zealand|
Step 5: Tying Map Activities to Books
If I ever come across a city, country, monument etc anywhere, esp books, I make him spot in on the globe. I mean is there really a point teaching little children *anything* unless it has some relevance to the fascinating things they encounter in the world around them?
I got him a book from the I Wonder Why series (Which is wonderful I must say!) "Why were Pyramids Built" and he knows where’s Egypt, why were tombs built and why were the dead bodies of pharaohs wrapped into mummies. We read "A Lion in Paris" and he now knows where Paris & The Eiffel Tower is.
If we read about mountains, there's a map showing where are the world's highest mountains. If we read about Sharks, there's a map showing where are shark attacks common.
He met someone from the States a few days back, who spoke fluent English. So he asked her where she's from. I said, can you guess?
He: Are you from an English Speaking country?
Her: Yes! Which countries speak English?
Him: hmm... Australia, Canada, UK...and ...
Me: Which one is below Canada on the map?
Him: US! Are you from the US?