Use Map Puzzles to Teach Kids Geography
I don't know about you, but I never enjoyed learning geography. When I took geography in school all I remembered was a lot of yawning, stretching and trying to stay awake in class. I certainly never remembered...Geography!
Map Puzzles are Terrific Teaching Tools
As an adult I realized that I should have paid more attention when learning about countries, states and capitols. Lucky for me I found some map puzzles of the U.S for my kids that helped me learn as well. We also had tons of fun putting these puzzles together.
Using Puzzles Gets Kids Engaged in Learning
The wonderful thing about using a map puzzle to teach kids (and yourself) geography is that a child's brain is fully engaged when trying to figure out which puzzle pieces fit together. This means that kids will be alert and focused as they see the states on the map begin to form the entire United States. This will help kids remember where the states are located on a map.
Puzzle Time is Great Bonding Time Too
As you work together with your kids to put the map puzzle together you could also have some fun sharing stories about trips you've taken in specific states or talk about places you'd like to visit. Ask them what they know about the states and if capitols are printed on the puzzle, talk about those as well.
Share other Facts about States During Puzzle Time
The next time you put the puzzle together you could teach even more about the states. Consider looking up one famous historic site or landmark in each state, write down the information and as the states are formed on the map puzzle go over the info with your child.
Teach One Lesson at a Time
Consider putting the map puzzle together once or twice a month and plan ahead as to what you want to teach during each puzzle playtime. You could go over the state flowers or state birds, talk about the number of lakes in each state, discuss the statewide populations and rank them lowest to highest etc... Don't teach everything at once or your child might get overwhelmed, but consider doing one lesson per session and your child will be asking to have map puzzle time a lot.
Hey Teachers! Map Puzzles are Great for the Classroom
Teachers can also use map puzzles in classrooms to make geography lessons more fun for kids. Have kids get into teams and put the puzzles together. As they do, encourage kids to talk about places they've been or anything they've heard about each state or before puzzle day ask kids in each group to research one specific fact about each of the 50 states and bring the facts to class on the day the puzzles will be put together. Then as kids work in teams, each child can share facts they've learned about the states with their team mates. If my teacher had us do map puzzles during geography class I would have remembered a lot more than yawning and day dreaming.