World Map Activities

It’s good to start early when teaching children about geography. Although an early start to world geography will give children a strong foundation for future world history education, most kids will not jump at the chance to memorize countries, capitals and map outlines. Activities designed to engage students’ attention will make the lessons easier to teach and easier for students to remember.

Labeling Activity

One great way for students to interact with a world map is labeling it. The great thing about this activity is that it can work for students of any age, depending on the difficulty of the labeling task you ask them to complete.

Tape or magnet a large unlabeled world map to a standard white board. Attach paper or plastic tags to magnets with the names of continents, countries or cities. Have students go up and place the magnets on the board.

Alternatively, project a map onto the white board, and students can just label the map with a white board marker.

Finally, you could also just copy maps to hand to each student to label.

Geography Game

There’s a parlour game called Geography in which people take turns naming geographical and named geological locations, such as states, countries, bodies of water and cities. Each player takes turns naming things, and each player must take the last letter from the previous player’s word to be the first letter of the next word. This game can be modified to be more functional as a learning and reinforcement tool by having each student have to point it to on an unlabeled map before it is valid. Students are allowed three mistakes, repeats or passes before they are out of the game.

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Mental Mapping

Before and after teaching students about world geography, ask them to draw a map of the world from memory. Many adults would be hard-pressed to create an accurate reproduction of the world map, leaving off whole peninsulas and chunks of countries. But this activity will help students truly understand what’s there and what isn’t.