Hands-On Geography Activities appeal to all ages from tots to teens!!
We often start off with geography activities, whether that’s at the beginning of the year or when we are starting new history units.
Geography activities can be fun & hands-on and provide the framework for understanding history.
I thought I would share age-by-age what kinds of geography activities we have done along the way. Way back when my kids were younger, I assumed that pin-maps and dough maps were just for the little ones. But even this year, with a middle schooler and two high schoolers we’ll be starting with geography activities and pin maps!
Just a little while ago, I just finished printing out a packet of geography materials on the Middle East and Central Asia (see the top portion of the picture below) for the kids. We will be studying Ancient History this year. We’ll also be doing modern literature (using novels set in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India, etc. so I really want to be sure the kids know where these countries are located). I hope to make our Middle East pin map later today or tomorrow! 😊
Geography Activities Age-by-Age
- Montessori World Map: When my kids were little, we spent a lot of time making sure they knew the 7 continents and the major oceans. [More details here Montessori World Map Activities or down below.]
We would sing the seven continent song as they put the pins in place. Many years ago, someone asked me how the tune went and many years ago, the kids made this video showing how we used the Montessori pin map. 🙂
World Animal Activities: Once they knew the continents, our family spent time learning about the animals of each continent. As you can see, my daughter was looking at the animals and placing them on the correct continent. She also matched the words and pictures with the World Animal Montessori 3-part cards.
We then branched out and learned about some of the biomes (such as the rain forest and the desert)… again, spent time learning about the animals (and insects) in those biomes. 🙂 [More details here World Animal Activities or down below.]
- Where I Live Activity: To give my kids some perspective about sizes, we talked about places from big to small… My galaxy, solar system, planet, continent, country, state, town, right down to my home! [More details here: Where I Live or down below.]
The kids used nesting boxes to show the sizes as well as doing a number of other activities to learn about where we live in the universe… and in our own towns. (With the help of homeschoolers from around the world, there are Where I Live booklet options for the US, Canada, the UK, Australia & New Zealand.)
- Hands-On Geography Activities By early elementary we were doing a lot of hands-on geography projects. For example, when the kids were in early elementary, we made our own paper mâché globe:
- Hands-On Geography: Dough or Cookie Maps As we studied various history units, we often were creative in our geography studies. Over the years we made salt-dough maps, clay maps (so we could add water), and lots of different cookie maps! We used both our homemade graham cracker recipe as well as Christmas cookie dough. Both worked pretty well. 🙂
- See a quick video I made on How to Make Your Own Pin Map here.
- Geography Projects: World Landmarks – The kids have done a number of hands-on geography projects from re-creating the flooding of the Nile to building their own world landmarks such as the Great Wall of China, the (printable paper) Parthenon, Machu Picchu and more!
- Geography Songs: These catchy songs have made a HUGE impact on our homeschool. The kids *still* know most of the capitals and countries of South America and we did this world music class nine years ago! Every now and then (when it’s relevant), I search up the video again and we drum and laugh our way through this song.
USA States and Capitals Song: Last year when we were going over all the U.S. States and Capitals, we incorporated this song into our day again. This was something we learned many years ago when the kids were in elementary!
Geography Materials: Ages 10 on up
- World Facts: One of the units we’ve started the year with was the World Facts Packet. We learned some of the basic geography facts including the largest countries, countries with the most people, the biggest cities in the world, longest rivers, tallest mountains, deserts of the world, etc. [World Facts Packet] This was general knowledge I wanted the kids to have, but we started with it since this type of material wouldn’t necessarily fit into our history units.
- Geographical Features: We also spent time learning some of the tricky geography words from peninsula and archipelago, atoll, cape and others. When the kids were younger, we used clay to model some of these… and later we did some quick worksheets to review the more complicated terms. [Geographical Features materials are included in the World Facts Packet]
- U.S. States and Capitals: Last year when we did American history, we actually spent time learning all of the U.S. states and capitals. My kids *wanted* to learn the capitals last year. Guess there’s a reason to wait, right?! They were pretty motivated! We learned them by region (which made sense since we started with colonial America last year.) They practiced finding the location of each state with region pin maps that I made. [US States and Capitals Packet]
- Pin Maps: So earlier in the post I talked about how we used a Montessori World Pin Map when the kids were little. We have continued to use pin maps throughout our homeschool journey!
Below, you’ll see the pin map of southeast Asia (which we used last spring as we studied the Vietnam War). And my middle schooler will be doing a big Ocean Unit this fall. She’ll be learning many of the seas of the world with the oceans/seas/strait pin map. (currently free) We also also have a pin map of the deserts of the world, which we’ll be reviewing as we start off the year.
- Geography Practice Worksheets: You can see from all the examples above that I’m a strong believer in hands-on activities! I think the kids learn a lot by using pin maps and creating their own geography projects. But, there has also been a place for worksheets in our homeschool. Some of our geography worksheets like the China Geography Packet (currently free) include a lot of pictures
Our Britain Geography and Landmarks packet (currently free) also includes a lot of pictures. We used this when we were studying British history (especially from 1500-1700 or so… talking about Henry VIII and so forth)
This fall, the kids will be working on the location of the countries of the Middle East and Central Asia… plus learning about some of the topographic features like the mountains & rivers. Then, once we’re studying Mesopotamia, they’ll use some of the blank maps (lower right below) to find the location of some of the ancient cities like Ur, Kish, Uruk and so forth.
- Geography Games: We have also played a number of board games pretty regularly. In fact, this summer we’ve been playing 10 Days in Europe and 10 Days in Africa at least once a week! This particular version is currently unavailable, but you’ll find 10 Days in Beautiful Africa and 10 Days in the Americas (North & South American countries) over at Amazon. (affiliate links)
I hope that gives you a flavor of how we use geography activities in our homeschool!
Geography Activity Packets
If you are interested, here are some of the packets mentioned above. You can also visit Our Store to find out more. The links below will take you to the individual posts:
Montessori World Map Activities (This packet includes the Where I Live Activities mentioned below.)
Where I Live Activities (This packet includes the Montessori World Map Activities mentioned above.)
World Facts Packet: (This packet includes the geographical features & materials mentioned below.)
Geographical Features – Deserts – Landforms – World Landmarks (This packet includes the World Facts materials mentioned above.)
I’ll be sharing our Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia geography materials soon! 🙂 Feel free to email me if you would like access now and I’ll try to polish that up and get it shared! ~Liesl
Here is more about the prices of the packets above. See Our Store or the links above for more details!
Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!
$4.99 Montessori World Map Activities and Where I Live Packet Quick Preview My galaxy, solar system, planet, continent, country, state, town, and home! Visit Post or View Image Note: This packet has versions for students living in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand. This is offered in Earth Science Bundle Option 2 in the science area of Our Store.
$4.99 World Animals Unit (60+ pages) Animals of the 7 Continents: Montessori 3-part cards and Activity Pages, best for ages 3-7 or so. Also in the World Animals Unit is the mini-unit on Animals of the African Savanna Quick Preview or view image 1, view image 2, view image 3 (African Animals)
The World Animals Unit above is sold separately but if you are interested they is included in our Big Animal BUNDLE!
$6.99 World Facts Packet & Geographic Features – (70+ pages) Do your kids know the 4 largest countries? Which countries have the most people? The longest river? the largest cities? the most well-known world landmarks? This packet covers basic world and U.S. facts. We often started out the semester with a review of this material. 🙂 View image 1, image 2, image 3, image 4, image 5, image 6 Geographic Features image 1, image 2, image 3, image 4
$7.99 U.S. States and Capitals Packet This 100+ page packet helps students learn the U.S. states and capitals. It includes US geography worksheets, a states & capitals booklet, 13 colonies maps and more! Visit Post or View image
Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!
That’s about it! If you have any geography activities that you’d like to share, be sure to leave a comment below or drop me an email and I’ll add it to the list! ~Liesl
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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
P.S. If you like hands-on activities, be sure to browse through this page with dozens of the hands-on activities we’ve done through the years!
There are so many different types of hands-on activities you can do to supplement just about any subject you are studying! Hands-on activities can be done with most any subject and with some creativity and planning… with almost any topic! The Hands-On Homeschool Activities Page includes
- Hands-On Engineering Activities
- Hands-On Science Activities
- Hands-On Activities Outdoors in Nature
- Hands-On Activities for History
- Hands-On Fun with Games
- Hands-On Activities in the Wider World!
I wanted to share some fun pictures just to get your juices flowing on the kinds of hands-on activities YOU can bring into your homeschool!