Over the past two years, we have been busy learning about US History. During that time, we have also covered US Geography. It has been a fun adventure (well, minus those days that honestly, just aren’t fun). But, all in all, it’s been a good learning experience. I have grown a lot as a Mother and as a citizen during this time. I have also discovered the beauty and necessity of learning about geography.
Through learning about geographical locations children can best understand various situations, problems, and the amazing beauty of God’s sovereignty. While I wish I could say we jumped in a car and drove, while looking at a map and had our internet on with Google showing us the way, I can’t. So, I won’t. But, it never hurts to dream.
While we did have an opportunity to travel to the western side of North Dakota, down through South Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore three summers ago, to the Creation Museum and digging for fossils in a Creek in Indiana the following summer and South Florida last summer, I still have a ton of locations I want to visit with the children.
Since jumping in a car wasn’t possible, we have found other ways to travel and use our imagination.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to share some fun ways to learn Geography.
This week, I want to share a board game that has our entire family scrambling for the box and game almost daily- DestiNation USA. I did not know the ‘gem’ I had in my hand when I placed it on the counter and counted out the dollars to pay for it. Once we arrived home, my youngest eyed the box, opened it up and said “Come on, Mommy, Let’s play!” And – I didn’t. It was not the time. BUT, it wasn’t long before we did open the box. What I discovered through doing that is that my little guy, who hasn’t wanted to push himself to read – began looking at the names of the tabs that identify the states and tried reading them. He would look for letters and colors that matched – and voila, he was pushing himself to read (SCORE!)
Then, in his enthusiasm, he began pulling the rest of us in. We had so much fun traveling (or trying to travel) from one state to another using the driving cards. In the end, each of us found a different strategy for gaining points to win. With this game, you gain a point every time you are the first person to a state (and claim the chip) or you make it to the destination (which may be Lake Okoboji, Mt. Rushmore, etc). What one child discovered is – if they were on the opposite side of the US and could not make it over, they would just drive through the local states gobbling up chips and pretending to actually visit. Yes, they picked their favorite states they desire to visit….and made a new game within the game.
In the end, we have learned more than geography. Math, reading, camaraderie, strategy, history – it’s all wrapped up in this fun and easy to follow game.
I love that – don’t you? I love it when I find that something I have takes me down a path I never imagined. I hope we will add more board games over the next few months. I think they are a great way to grow together as a family and individually.
Here are a few I’m interested in. Do you have any of these? If so, please share your thoughts about them in the comments below.
Other ways to teach geography:
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