As part of our study about the world’s oceans and seas, we created this map and used it for a location challenge. Geography was always one of my favorite subjects (and my husband’s too) so of course I’ve been excited to teach my kids all about the world! Mapmaking is a great way to understand geography, plus it’s also a great way to integrate art skills.
To start off, my husband freehanded an outline of a world map on a poster board. My son watched as he described what he was doing and which locations he was outlining. They looked at a map while working, so Z(4.5) was able to follow along and point out anything that might have been missed. (Like Iceland! Don’t forget Iceland!)
Next Z, R(2.5) and I used watercolors to paint the map starting with the oceans. It was a really stunning map with just the blue-green seawater. As we were painting, we talked about which ocean we were working on. We discussed names of the different bodies of water, why two parts are labeled as the Pacific Ocean, and which oceans are near different parts of the world. It was also a perfect way for him to understand how most of the Earth’s surface is water.
We filled in the continents with different colors and made our marble markers. We just used those flat-bottomed marble stones that you can find in craft stores to make the labels. I traced the irregular shape of the stone and wrote in the name. After I cut it out, my son applied the glue and set the marker down on the map. I really liked using these stones like this! It’s great practice for a child to label the map (or whatever the lesson is) over and over again.
My son already knew how to locate all the oceans and continents, so it was time for a challenge. Using the smaller stones, I made numeric markers and wrote out a list of different bodies of water for him to find on the map in a book and then locate on his map.
He enjoyed this so much and asked me to make another list. He loves those search and find books, scavenger hunts, and playing hide and seek. This was a natural way to incorporate those interests into geography. (Treasure maps, too, but more on that later!)
I think our map turned out beautifully. When we aren’t using it for a unit study, it hangs on the wall in the play area. I think there will definitely be more mapmaking plans in the future.
We did several neat activities as part of our ocean unit. I’m planning to post a few of the bigger ones like this separately and then I’ll write up a whole post about the unit.
Do you love geography? I can still remember sitting in my high school class filling in a map with colored pencils. It was so strangely relaxing and satisfying to work on a map, imagining the different locations as I shaded in their boarders. I think geography is a perfect topic to apply art skills and aesthetics, don’t you?