Of all the fun things that we do over the summer, the one thing my kids always look forward to the most, is geography. Funny isn’t it? I think most of us look back on geography as boring and unimportant, but nope; not our kids. Why the difference? There are lots of ways we’ve made geography fun! Let’s take a look at a few…
When I first thought of teaching geography as a fun summer course, I came across Little Passports. This curriculum sounded fun, but unfortunately gets a little pricey when you are dealing with more than one child. Their program is well designed, but not all of the aspects fit my children’s needs. I decided to keep the basic concept and push it to the limit!
The first thing I did was head over to Michaels and purchase these neat plastic “suitcases”. Inside these suitcases, we would put pictures of “places we had been to” and souvenirs of our trip.
The next thing I did was get my children passports! Head over to this wonderful website, My Homeschool Treasure Trove, and print off Passports. You will be hard-pressed to find better. I also will try and find neat stamps to use as well. My kiddos get a stamp in their passports for each country we visit. Pretty neat!
I then chose which countries I wanted to visit. There are so many countries to choose from; where would we start? I decided to start with countries that had particular meaning to my children and then go from there. There are twelve weeks in our summer, but we only do summer school for ten; so, ten countries were chosen for our fun. Each summer (we have been doing this for three years now) we choose completely new countries and we start all over again.
Bonus: The Bible tells us in Mark 16:15, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” While choosing your countries, make sure to pray for the people who are reaching out to share His Word. Pray that His work would be done and that more people would be brought to Christ. (We always try to make sure we cover the country’s major religious and political beliefs. This helps our children understand the importance of a person’s worldview.)
Next, I headed over to National Geographic Kids. There, I found we were able to watch videos, listen to music, and many more things relating to the countries on our list. While I was there, I also noticed that each country had a picture you could download and keep. I promptly printed one for each of our countries and made sure each of my kids had a copy. Hooray! Nothing like some photos to remember our “trip”.
To make the adventure more fun, I made sure to add a craft. Each country has some form of art particular to them. It was great fun researching each project. For some help on this, as searching Google could take years, try DLTK. Their ideas are very helpful and pretty extensive.
To top it off, let’s add some food. There is nothing like visiting another country and trying the local fare. A quick Google search gave me some great recipes from each of our countries. I try to pick something simple (the idea is to have fun, not stress out) and different.
Now that I have my items prepped, we are ready to go! On the first day of geography, each of my kids were handed their “suitcases”, passports, and a small map of the world. Our maps marked with our destination, we then headed over to the computer where we delved into our country of the week, with the help of National Geo. We read about the country, we watched a video or two, we listened to music, and tried steps for a traditional dance. We then headed to the kitchen table and worked on our craft. Once they were done and our “souvenirs” added to our suitcases, we headed into the kitchen to make a local delicacy. Yummy! Finishing off our trip, we stamped our passport books and packed away our suitcases for another day.
Tired and spent from a full morning of “travel”, we are now ready to kick up our feet and rest. Mmmm… I wonder where next week will take us!