Monday, 16 February 2015

Introducing Maps to Early Learners

Over the past few weeks, my daughter (5years old) has taken an interest in maps. A lot of her interest has come from watching her older brother learning about the continents of the world, world landmarks as well as latitude and longitude. There has also been lots of talk in our home about road trips and maps too.  I have been watching my daughter draw little maps of her bedroom and of our neighbourhood on her clip board and I have been helping her find answers to her questions about maps. As her interest has developed, I have supported her learning using a number of books and resources that have led to different learning activities.

Interest Shelf
Together with my daughter, we looked through our books and through our resources as well as our local library, to find everything we could on maps. We created an interest shelf with the resources so that my daughter had a place to keep her learning materials and access them whenever she wanted to.

Our Home, Street and Town Maps
My daughter found some rolled up contact paper in our art cupboard that she thought looked like a pirate map and drew a map of our street on it. This was one of the first maps she drew. We also used the book, Follow That Map! to look at street and town maps as well as have a look at how a compass is used.

On our interest shelf I placed a range of different types of paper such as grid, plain, lined and large scrap paper. My youngest daughter (3yrs old) liked the big scrap paper for her map drawing and liked using a range of tools such as oil pastels, textures and crayons to draw her map of our street.

State and Territory Maps
My son has previously learnt about the different states and territories of Australia  and use our FREE printable Australia Map so I already had some resources ready to go. On our interest shelf we put our wooden Australia puzzle together with the Australia state and territory three part cards from Our Worldwide Classroom. These resources have been used a lot since putting them on the shelf. These resources have led to converstaions about what state we live in and where our relatives live.

Country Maps
We got out our Australia map as another type of map we could learn about. This map was a great way to look at the different features of the maps such as oceans, state boarders, airports, rivers and deserts, and see what they tell us. My youngest daughter (3yrs) was also interested in this map and decided to draw her own map of Australia.

World Maps
When my son was learning about the continents of the world, my daughter picked up on The Seven Continents Song and played many of the hands-on continent learning activities we did. One of the best resources we have for learning about the world is our felt world map and it is great for hands-on learning about the world continents, world landmarks as well as different countries and cultures.

Other resources we have been using to learn about world maps include a world globe and world puzzle. You can find FREE printable World and Continent Maps by clicking on the link.
Books about Maps
We love reading books to discovery more about our area of interest. We have been using a Picture Atlas to look at maps but we have been reading some great picture books about maps such as: 

Zoo Maps, Park Maps and Train Maps
After reading Follow That Map! we started looking for other maps that we could print from on line. We found some zoo maps from Taronga Zoo and Australia Zoo. There is so much visual (picture) information on these maps that is easy for early learners to find. We also printed maps from our local national park and some train maps too. My daughters have been busy using these maps in their play and have spent sometime "reading" them together.

Maps with Grids
Using a little story board and figurines, my daughter and I explore grid maps through play. We labelled the left side of our story mat with letters and the bottom of the mat with numbers so we could find the figurines and houses on our "map". It was a lot of fun!

You can find more geography and map ideas on my Geography - Maps pinterest board.

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This blog post has been linked up with:
Living Montessori Now - Montessori Monday  
Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop


  1. Sounds like a wonderful introduction to maps and geography. Thanks for linking to me. I'm not sure if she is too young but your daughter might like a small sampling of the continent/oceans work also

  2. I love this idea! My son has shown an interest in maps & we have the book "Me on the Map". I should really get some more resources. Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! We hope you'll join us again next week!