Hi, I’m Andrea from No Doubt Learning and I’m so excited to be a part of the Playful Learning Book Study! Having just moved this past month, I found Chapter 6 to be extremely applicable to my kids in getting to know our new surroundings. Kids of all ages will enjoy discovering their surroundings in a new way and making global connections.
My girls were both born with an interest in maps: trail maps, park maps, country maps – you name it. We have a city park map up in the garage and a country map up in our school room, and for fun, each of my girls has a map placemat, which are the highlight conversation of many mealtimes.
Author Mariah Bruehl says it’s natural for kids to be interested in the world! As in the other chapters, she outlines the three stages of learning. My oldest is a kindergartener, so we did two of the first exercises from the book focusing on the home environment (Stage I).
In the first activity, my five-year-old made a three dimensional map of her bedroom. She absolutely loves working with blocks and very much enjoyed adding fabric, doll furniture, and pictures to help map her room.
I took Mariah’s advice and had my daughter build with the blocks inside her room so she could continually check her work. It was really interesting to see her work from the inside out, starting with the bed and bookcase before the room perimeter. She enjoyed adding her stuffed animals (and herself!) to the bed. Taking a picture at the end of the exercise was very satisfying. She was incredibly happy to document her creation.
Second, Mariah outlined a treasure hunt game that both my girls thoroughly enjoyed. My kindergartener created a map for her sister and me to use to find three quarters hidden somewhere in the house. It was so much fun following her map and listening to her give me “warmer” and “colder” verbal cues as I looked for her treasures!
You can see that her first map has three bedrooms from left to right, connected by hallways. Her treasures were hidden in the third bedroom down the hall.
Afterwards, I modeled the map activity by creating a map of the backyard and hid three quarters for my daughter to find. She loved using the map to locate where I had hidden my treasures! In fact, I ended up hiding the treasures multiple times and indicating them on the map with different colored X's!
When we were done, she wanted to create a second treasure hunt in the house for her sister and me, so you can see that her map improved to show bedrooms off of the main hallway and a few pieces of specific furniture in the living room.
For children at more advanced stages, Mariah has a variety of exercises to extend mapping and global awareness. A few of the exercises include creating a map for a neighborhood puzzle, creating flags for countries and using them for games, creating felt continents from a globe, and reinforcing cardinal directions with longitude and latitude (and checking work with Google Earth).
This chapter holds something for a wide-variety of learning levels to be used in both the home or in a school group. I highly suggest checking the book out to “playfully learn” with your children!