Monday, October 19, 2009

Learning about Geography and Maps

The kids had a great time learning the basics of geography and maps at preschool. Circle time was much quieter this time and the kids were immediately enamored with our two books:

"Me on the Map" --which is a very cute, simplistic story about a little girl and where she is in the world. Starting with her in her room and a map of her room, to her room inside her house with a map of her house, then her house in her neighborhood with a map of her neighborhood, on and on until it is her on the planet Earth in the solar system.

The next book we read is one of my very favorite preschool books of all time, "What Is Your Language?" It came with a little cassette tape (yeah I'm old) with a reenactment of the book, the book in song, then some other fun songs from around the world. My kids have all LOVED that book!

Anyway it is about a little boy who goes on a trip around the world and asks the children he meets, "What is your language?" The children answer, "My language is English and this is the way it sounds, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes." Then it goes on for several other languages each saying essentially the same thing on each page except for the language of all the "yeses". The kids loved the repetition and the bright colorful illustrations showing the children in native surroundings of different areas of the world. They were so cute as they repeated all the yeses along with me, proud that they were speaking another language. I think the book is out of print, but if you ever see it on ebay or book sale I highly recommend buying it on the spot!

After that we had some special visitors come to our preschool. These little dolls and puppets had names and came from various parts of the world. They would tell a little bit about where they came from then show us where their country was on the map. I think the kids were fascinated with the fact that the places on the map are more than just illustrations, but actual places where people live and have families.

Then they headed to the table where they played with our earth colored play dough while I blew up our globe balls. I showed them how to make a little globe out of them, but mostly they just rolled it, poked it, and flattened it!

After I caught my breath again we sat down in a circle with our globe balls (thanks for the idea Andrea) and talked again about how the world is round and played a little game where we rolled it back and forth to each other and tried to find the United States on the globe. I don't think they'd recognize it on any other map or globe, since I think they were mainly using color cues for the recognition, but hey they could certainly impress some visiting relatives with their superior geography skills. :)
After all that brain work they just needed to run and jump for a while. They had a great time tossing the balls around and having fun together.

Somewhere in there we also had a little snack of popcorn balls too. I tried to tie the ball shape into the lesson and relate it to the globes, but mostly there were just excited for a tasty treat.

I found this great printable book from Enchanted Learning that fit in perfectly with the book "Me on the Map" that we'd read earlier. It costs $20 a year to be a member and get access to the printables, but I keep renewing my membership year after year because I love their creative, educational ideas!

It was basically the same as the book (except backwards), where it started as the lived on the planet earth, in North America, in the USA, in Virginia, at this address. I wrote in the words and had the kids trace them, which the kids seemed to really enjoy (and didn't really know it was so good to help them in their printing).
I also had found out in advance where each of the kids were born and added a page into the book that showed that. I let each of the kids place a state shaped sticker on their birth state.

And last but not least right before lunch we did a quick group shot with their earth balls.
It was an exciting day of preschool learning all about maps and people around the world. What a great preschool group we have!

We missed you Matthew!


tvmom said...

where did you buy your earth globes? amazon?

tvmom said...

where did you get the globes?

Lara said...

They came from Oriental Trading Company.