Young children often don't understand that there is a whole world outside of their own home. If they don't leave their own neighborhood very often, it makes sense that they wouldn't realize how different other places can be. That's why it's important to start with your own home and neighborhood when you first start to talk about geography with your child.
Map skills are an essential part of social studies education. There is one book, Me on the Map, by Joan Sweeney, that stands alone as an introductory resource for teaching geography. I used it when I student taught a 3rd grade class, which is the perfect age to start teaching map skills. You can introduce this book anytime during grades 1 through 4, though.
It shows a picture of a child's room, and then a map of her room. Then it shows a picture of her house, and a map of her house. Then it shows a picture of her street, and a map of her street. It goes on to show pictures and maps of her town, her state, her country (USA), and the world (even showing the continents). The best part is that the author then reverses everything and retraces her steps back to her room!
The students in this particular 3rd grade class loved this book so much, that when I assigned them homework, they were ecstatic! The assignment was for each of them to make a colorful map of their own bedroom. I also integrated math by making them measure their room and label the dimensions. I gave them a few days to complete this assignment, and my jaw dropped when I saw their maps. I had no idea that I had so many talented artists in the room! Some of them put so much thought and detail into their maps, that I had tears in my eyes. It just goes to show that integrating subjects, like reading, math, social studies, and art can really be a powerful way to teach. To me, it's the only way to teach.
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You can find part 2 here. Have a great day!