Recent studies have shown that our kids possess a relatively meager understanding of the geography of the country and the world. Naturally this has been made even more difficult by the radical changes occurring in the boundaries of many nations around the world over the past few years. However, there are several things you can do at home to encourage an interest in geography in your child.
First, have a glove prominently situated in the house so that when the name of a city, region, country, river or other geographical feature is mentioned on the news, in a conversation, or in some other way, you and your child can go quickly to the globe and find out when it is.
Second, subscribe to a periodical like National Geographic (or use the on-line feature of National Geographic on Prodigy) and spend time with your child talking about the many different places there are in the world and how the geography of a place affects the way people live (e.g. living in a desert versus living near the water).
Third, play games that stimulate geographic interest like Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? (available on-line through Prodigy), a game that takes kids around the world in a madcap dash to catch this famous high-tech villain.
Finally, use your own trips out of town to investigate geographical features such as rivers, lakes, hills, dams, and valleys. For example, if you’re planning on going on a camping trip, obtain a topological map for that region from the U.S. Geological Survey (available also through many camping stores), and use it to identify significant environmental features.
Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. is an award-winning author and speaker with twenty-eight years of teaching experience from the primary through the doctoral level, and over one million copies of his books in print on issues related to learning and human development. He is the author of nine books including Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Childâs Natural Genius, 7 Kinds of Smart, The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, and Awakening Genius in the Classroom. His books have been translated into sixteen languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Danish, and Russian.