Reading and Writing Adventures: The World We Live In

Reading and Writing Adventures: The World We Live In


By Brenda Hyde

Kid's love to color and draw, so why not take advantage of their interest in being creative to teach them something about the world around them?

Since my youngest son was small he's loved maps of all types and has developed an interest in geography. The following are some fun and easy things we like to do to teach the kids about geography without spending a lot of money and allowing them to be creative!

The most simple activity is to print out black and white maps that can be colored. They have some good quality free printable maps here

Let each child pick a state or country that they would like to know more about and help them research it online. I like using Google.com , but I always recommend that you help them search to make sure the websites they use are appropriate. They might visit the Chamber of Commerce, tourism organizations, or other state websites that give information about the area. Let them compare parks, stores, museums in that state to what you have at home. Does it seem more interesting? How is it different? Check weather forecasts in the state, and things like the state flower, flag and the state animal.

If you have friends or relatives in other states ask the kids to "plot" out a trip there. Give them an atlas or the various state maps-you can get these free from tourism groups or check out atlases from the library. Have them figure the mileage and how long it would take it you were driving a certain speed. Sneak some math in there! Have them type it up on the computer and print out the pages to make a travel book with all the details of the trip.

Ask family and friends to send you travel brochures, pages from their local papers or other things they think would help the kids see what the area is like and how it compares to where you live. My kids have pen pals in another state and we send them items we gather when we go to our museums and zoo.

Lastly, to add a little extra fun to the day make a recipe from a particular state or country and have the kids look it up on an atlas! Here is a simple one:

Mississippi Mud Cake

Ingredients:


1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoon cocoa

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup nuts

1 cup coconut

small jar marshmallow cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and add vanilla. Sift together flour and cocoa. Add dry ingredients, nuts and coconut to the egg mixture and beat well. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and spread marshmallow cream over hot cake. Allow to cool completely and frost.

Frosting

Ingredients:

1/4 stick butter

1 pound confectioners' sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth.

Help your kids to become curious about different parts of the country and the world. It helps them to see that people are different and interesting, yet they are also much the same, no matter where they live!

Recommended Books:

Amazing Pop-up Geography Book by Kate Petty and Jennie Maizels: This truly is an amazing book and one the kids will love! Combine geography with an interactive format and they'll remember what they learn.

Geography Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit: A little pricey, but a great way to help older kids create their own atlas by coloring the pages themselves. Over 200 pages of detailed maps with descriptions. Very hands-on!

Children Just Like Me from DK Publishing, Inc.: A great introduction to different cultures and countries through the eyes of children. Not only is this a wonderful geography themed book, but it helps teach us about other cultures.

About the Author:

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer, editor and owner of Old Fashioned Living.com. She is also a wife and mom to three children who love to read.

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