David collects old road maps. I’ve always loved geography. So I think Caroline probably comes by her interest in maps and places quite honestly. She is always asking us questions about places and has been doing so since she was around four.
Geography is one of those subjects that you barely have to teach if you simply incorporate it into your every day life. We bought Caroline one of these United States placemats a few years ago. She uses it two or three times a day and if I try to give her a different one, she wants this one.
We also have a globe that is referred to pretty much daily.
Between using the placemat and having a globe readily available on the first floor of the house, Caroline probably knows more geography than 90% of the elementary-aged children in this country. It has all come from looking at the placemat and globe throughout the day in response to curiosity, books we are reading, or general conversation.
When she first received the globe (as a gift from my parents), I put it up out of reach so it wouldn’t get broken. Well, that defeats the entire purpose of having a globe if it isn’t readily accessible. I finally put it on the floor in the learning room where Caroline can grab it whenever she wants. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve found her sitting in the glider, studying the globe of her own initiative.
I highly recommend exposing small children to both a US map and a globe. It is an almost effortless way to teach them geography. We will probably add a world map placemat soon. 🙂