Here are some great kids activities that will help develop map skills for kids. We’d love for you to tell us at Kids Activities Blog if you’ve tried these map games or if your kids have other map activities that they enjoy.
MAP A ROAD TRIP
A road trip is the perfect opportunity to introduce children to maps and teach them the lost art of following one to get to your destination. As we rely more and more on GPS and navigational systems in our car, we are leaving our paper maps at home. There is something so nostalgic about that crinkled, folded in a gazillion different ways, map that sits in the glove box. Personally, I prefer to see the drive all on one big map, versus scrolling through a list of directions on a computer screen. And I want my kids to know how to use a good, old-fashioned map too.
We don’t leave home without our paper maps & atlas. The kids know how to navigate just as well as we do, thanks to a couple of activities and games we have used throughout the years:
MAP SKILLS FOR KIDS
Photo-Copy Maps: Print out online or photo-copy sets of maps for your travels and allow them to draw, color and map out the path you are taking. Have them cross out or color in each state/county you pass through.
Dry-Erase Maps: Laminated or dry-erase maps bought at a learning store has so many functionalities. We have used ours for learning state capitols, license plate games, and keeping track of where we are.
Predict the Mileage for the Day: When you set out in the morning, give the kids the maps and ask them to “predict” how many miles it is to the destination. You can even break it up into shorter chunks – how far til we stop for lunch? How many more miles til we need gas?
Read it like a Book: There are so many great resources and books that make maps fun for little ones. Ask your children to find interesting city names, facts about the state you are driving through, etc. and learn together as a family.
Map Out Our Day: Let the kids be the navigators. Sit down before you go and have them map out the directions. Allow them to choose where to stop for lunch and let them pick a roadside attraction or two they’d like to see.
Symbol Fun: Teach the kids what the different symbols on a map mean and then ask them to find the nearest roadside park or 2-lane highway. Have them count how many state parks, lakes, etc. there are in a particular area you are in.
Every opportunity I have to use a map, I engage my kids as well. I ask them to tell me how many more miles we have to get to a particular city, what kind of a road we are on (highway versus interstate) and when we need to turn onto a new road. Maybe it comes with my particular obsession with using maps, but I want my kiddos to be able to use and come to love maps like I do.
MORE KIDS ACTIVITIES
It is important to know how to map a road trip even with today’s GPS systems. Teaching map skills for kids will benefit them throughout their life. For more fun kids activities to help kids learn basic maps skills needed to eventually map a road trip, navigate your way through these great ideas: