Littles Learn the World

Geography 5I’ve always loved maps.  They are canvases for remembering and scheming and dreaming.  There’s a city-size dot where I met my husband, a small-town dot where we lived in Cambodia for 3 years, and not-even-a-dot-at-all but rather a sweep of the Sahel where I spent a year in rural Burkina Faso.  My love for maps does not stem from a love of facts (I am awful at memorizing things).  No, what I love about examining the globe is the stories stemming from all those little dots.

My little girls are only 1 and 3.  I am not testing them on their geography skills.  But I do love pulling out our maps and telling stories together.  Our first was born in Bangkok, and so we search for the continent and country and capital, and tell the story of mama eating all the spicy pad thai, and all the fresh pineapple from the fruit cart on our street, all of which were supposed to bring this baby out.  (None of these tactics worked.)  We look at pictures of Kathmandu’s Bouddanath Stupa and tell the story of mama doing her homework under its watching eye during my college semester abroad.

Geography 2

Maps tell the stories of people and places.  And this is how I want my little ones to learn about the world.  Americans’ lack of geography knowledge is not an embarrassment because we haven’t memorized our dots.  What I want for my girls (and myself) is to recognize the people and places of this world, as each was created with such inherent value.  I want them to recognize the places of this world so that knowledge drives out fear of what’s foreign.

My little girls are little, but not too little to begin learning.  This morning we pulled out our World Atlas and Cities of the World Memory Game, and began matching landmarks to places.  Places to stories.  Stories to people.  You don’t have to be well-traveled to play along!  Stories come from books or neighbors or the news or even the country on the tag of your t-shirt.

There are so many great puzzles and maps for little ones, but here are three of my very favorites offered by Barefoot.  What I love about these is the emphasis on landmarks.  My 3 year old cannot read, but she knows the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids.

(1) Barefoot World Atlas

(2) Cities of the World Memory Game (the images actually match the pictures in the Atlas so you can do a scavenger hunt to find where they’re located!)

(3) Map of the World Play Scene (comes with 3 sheets of reusable vinyl stickers featuring famous world icons and landmarks and landforms)

{ Keep in mind that if purchase all 3 of these (or any other books/products), you get 1 additional book for FREE with the code NEWYEAR }

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