Friday, February 13, 2009

Geography at the Dinner Table

Exploring geography with your child can be a world of fun.  When introducing geography to your toddler start by identifying one or two continents. Repeat those continents a few times before introducing a new one. If you choose to use a geography place mat (we found ours at Laugh 'N' Learn) you can personify animal crackers or goldfish crackers and "help" them travel or "swim" to a named continent. Children love this. The more imagination sprinkled in the better- so be creative! When you are confident that you've overheard your child correctly identifying the continents on his own initiative then you can begin to ask him to identify or locate the continents.  I like to ask something like "can you help the goldfish swim to Africa?"

Here are some helpful tips for teaching geography to your young child:

1-Make it fun- don't turn home learning into homework
2-keep it brief- this keeps interest for the next session
3-if your child is not interested don't worry. Put it away and try again later.
4-Help your child associate fun with learning from a young age -avoid this activity if either of you are not in a good mood or is overtired. At this age children learn best from loosely structured hands on exploring.
5-It is natural to want to show others your child's abilities and new skills -you're a proud parent and you should be -just remember that some children don't want the extra attention and may feel pressured to perform.
6-Don't test. Testing just puts more expectations on your child. Instead wait to overhear your child correctly identifying on his own time line.

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