15 Great Geography Lessons for Kids

Teaching geography for kids is something that usually is taught in passing as the core subjects of math and reading are typically the focused subjects.  But, if integration between social studies and reading and/or math happens, a whole bunch of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and map skills with children!

Have you ever watched the late night talk shows where they take a microphone and camera on the street and ask basic geography trivia to the passerbys on the street?  And usually the unsuspecting participants aren’t able to answer simple elementary map questions?

I just hope I’m never asked to be put on the spot like that either because I might crack under the pressure.

But it does make me wonder if geography skills – both on the local and world levels – are being overlooked because of lack of time?

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

Why is geography important for kids?

Obviously, we want our students to grow up as good local, national, and world citizens.  We want them to question current events in places close to home, as well as far from anywhere they may have been.

That starts by learning major bodies of water, earth science (volcanoes, how land masses are formed), and even state capitals.

So much of physical geography and maps are tied into learning how to read a map with math skills.  I distinctly remember measuring out the scales on a map to figure out how many actual miles were from point A to point B within the state of Ohio when I was in elementary school.  Believe it or not, I have been hiking in places with no GPS signals, so that was a skill I was successfully able to translate to the real world as an adult myself.

Now, there are so many more great ways to learn about geography than having a simple lesson plan of measuring map scales.  You can use geography games for kids, quizzes, fun facts, books, trivia, songs, videos, webquests, and other hands-on activities out there.

Geography resources for teaching kids

Need some new activities to spice up your latitude and longitude related lessons?  Here are a few to get your wheels turning.

Quizzes and Games:

While this example is honestly to see if you are “smarter than a 5th grader,” it could be a fun idea to have your students’ parents take the quiz with the children as a pre-assessment.  Then take it again together after your unit or theme has been taught to see the improvement.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this interactive game has students practice finding the various 50 states on a United States map.  {I have to be honest, I struggled with a few myself.}

It also gives up-to-date state unemployment rate data too, which might be useful if you have older students and want to graph it or even discuss why some states would be much higher than others.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

Sticking with the US map trend, I like how this game is an online jigsaw puzzle!  You have to be able to add the pieces onto the map without having any type of lines (in the Hard version anyway).

It is a bit more advanced for those older or gifted students.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

Shaking things up a little bit, there are some quizzes out there with a world focus too.  This one has questions where the student has to choose the right country from a multiple choice list based on the question listed.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

This option was pretty hard for me.  It is only an outline of a country and 4 multiple choice options.  After choosing the right option, it does give the quiz taker some interesting facts about that particular country which I found very interesting.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

Printables:

Would you prefer to have a paper and pencil version of a geography quiz?  This is a good place to start.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

So many teachers participate in postcard exchanges.  And I love, love, love how this involves people who are significant to the students and lets them “see” how many unique places there are just within our own country!

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

I adore webquests.  They are like a mini-mystery Where students will have to put their researching skills in action.   This particular option is fun for searching all around the world!

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

Compass rose, coordinate grid, and some landmarks are a perfect place for the younger students to begin when learning how to read a map.  And this handout will help you to get them started.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

Don’t forget to discuss your own local community when talking about geography.  Having guest speakers, looking at city level maps, and even drawing out the pathways in the school are all great activities.  Try this one too.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

Songs:

Flocabulary has a nice selection of teaching songs and videos.  I love how the page also includes discussion questions and more for this video about the continents.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

This song about latitude and longitude has a track to listen to it – as well as the lyrics to be able to sing along.  Very cute!

I might be biased since I live right along Lake Erie, but this Great Lakes song is adorable!  It includes the sing along version, the lyrics are posted, and for those brave singing souls, there is also an instrumental track to sing to your content.

Need something a little more dramatic?  Here is an entire 35 minute musical play dedicated to geography!  Would be perfect for a parent involvement night or just as a reader’s theater project.  Includes the script, casting list, songs, and more.  For those who really want to take geography lesson plans to a new level.

When subject integration happens, a lot of possibilities open up for being able to share a lot of nonfiction text and geography map skills with children!

This is a cute general geography song lyric page.  It does not include specific music, but maybe the students could partner up to create their own versions and share with the class.

What are your best geography lesson suggestions?  We would love to hear them in the comments below too!

~Charity

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