By: Courtney Newman
Geography Awareness Week began more than 25 years ago and is celebrated every third week of November. By presidential proclamation, it is a time to encourage exploration! National Geographic created Geography Awareness Week when it was becoming increasingly evident that the generations of today need a greater focus on geography for understanding geospatial issues and recognizing their impacts on the globe. Geography education has been deficient among students, and National Geographic wants to help remedy that by exciting students to take an interest in geography. Consider this survey, which showed that only 17% of students in the United States could locate Afghanistan on a map, while 11% couldn’t even locate the U.S. Clearly, geography for kids needs a higher priority in our children’s education.
Our location in the world is significant and affects each of us. It is important to learn about where we live in relation to others and what that means for our daily lives. When it comes to careers involving any level of geography awareness, our students need to be more prepared. A basic understanding of geography determines our ability to travel, drive, and even just visit relatives. Learning more about geography means increasing our grasp on geo-literacy. In a sentence, geo-literacy refers to our general ability to use geography for decision-making. At its core, geography is all about the location of people, cultures, and environments, why they are there, how they affect the world, and how they possibly change over time.
In the end, geography increases our knowledge of the world as a whole, and makes us more aware of how the world we live in affects us and others. Here are a few great ways to incorporate geography into your homeschool!
Fantastic Geography Resources
When looking for homeschool geography resources, we like to look for a few different aspects. First, the resource must not read or feel like a textbook. With homeschooling, we have the opportunity to keep our schoolwork engaging, such as with geography games for kids, and that means avoiding dry, black & white information whenever possible. Second, we prefer resources that add an element of fun. This element could be a video, an activity, or even just an online format so it doesn’t feel too much like schoolwork. Third, if a resource could provide a hands-on opportunity, all the better.
We have picked ten great geography resources to get you started, and while not all of them contain all three elements here, there is a great variety to choose from for your own preferences!
- Online Geography Games. These fun geography games for kids feature various locations and goals, such as matching countries, capitals, a world jigsaw and learning about the flags of the world!
- Article: The Importance of Studying Geography. This informational article is a great refresher as to why we study and teach geography, and how it applies to our daily lives!
- United States Geography Unit Study. What better way to celebrate Geography Awareness Week than with a unit study?
- Printable: Geography of the 50 States. This sample printable has some great worksheets for the geography of the U.S. states!
- World Geography for Kids. Choose from several geography activities, games, and resources in this comprehensive list.
- North America Geography Games. Enjoy an online learning game about North America geography at this link, or navigate to choose from a variety of geography games for each continent.
- Online Geography Homeschool Curriculum. Time4Learning offers an online, well-rounded Social Studies program, including geography, in their curriculum for nearly every grade level. The geography lessons for middle schoolers cover a variety of world civilizations, such as India and China!
10 Fun Geography Activities for Kids
Geography is an exciting subject for many homeschool moms because it lends itself so well to hands-on projects, crafts, and lessons. These opportunities are what breathe life into almost any subject, and take a textbook reading into something kids will enjoy and remember easily. This list of ten activities ranges from ideas requiring your personal direction to printables, crafts, and even a recipe! And yet, the result remains the same: learning more about the world in which we live. Enjoy!
- Geography Bees. Check with your local homeschool support group on whether they offer a geography bee! These contests are a wonderful opportunity to study geography facts with the chance of earning a prize!
- Continents Matching Activity. Help your littles learn the shape of continents and where they belong in the world!
- DIY Treasure Hunt Geography Game. We all love treasure hunts! This is an extra fun way to study geography, and better yet, you can make it yourself at home!
- 4th Grade Geography Crosswords. Choose from a variety of geography-themed crosswords to accompany your lessons! This link is to the 4th-grade crosswords, but you can also navigate to other grade levels for more geography crosswords.
- World Map Geography Activity. Many of us tend to focus on the geography of our own country or state, but world geography is just as important!
- Free Printable: Kids’ Passports. With each country you study, your kids get their own “stamp” in these passport-themed geography printables!
- World Geography Country Cards. Basically, these are world geography flashcards with a summary of each country!
- DIY GeoDough. We love playing with homemade playdough, but this creative activity takes it a step further for studying geography! With the hands-on element, geography art projects are a great way to help these learning moments feel less like typical schoolwork!
- Toss the Globe Geography Game. Do you have a random inflatable globe sitting around your house? Me too. I’m not sure where it came from originally, but this game makes great use of it!
- Where in the World Stackable Cups. This is such a great idea to help kids visualize where they live and exist within the context of the world around them!
Geography Awareness Week is the perfect time to enjoy a themed study! Whether your family takes a road trip, tours a new location in your city, devotes the whole week to a unit study, or just grabs your geography books and maps for the morning, what matters is learning something new. We hope we’ve inspired you to find excitement in geography and help your children learn more. These linked geography websites for kids are a great starting point and can work as excellent supplements for your geography course.