When teaching geography for children, you'll want to make the lessons as interactive, visually stimulating and personal as possible. Resist the temptation to hand out maps to color and lecture. Instead, incorporate these teaching strategies into your coverage of geography topics.
Look for visual representations of every geography topic you cover. If you're describing the coastal regions of New England, bring in photos of New England towns and ports, complete with shots of the ocean. Check out geography videos with spectacular photography; National Geographic films are excellent for this. Show locations on maps, making sure to relate the size and location of the area studied to something the kids understand.
Get Specific About Geography for Children
Kids get bored with generalities. Highlight the specific challenges and benefits of living in the geographic location studied. Talk about who lives there, what animals live there, how the people survive there and what historical influences affect survival techniques.
Relate Geography to the Kids
With each piece of your lesson, relate the information to experiences the kids will understand. If you're studying the South Pole, talk about how cold it gets on the coldest day in your region, then help the kids understand how much colder the South Pole is. If you're describing life in a desert, talk about what kind of survival techniques are needed to live for an entire week in that region. Think about things the kids have experienced and compare those experiences with likely experiences of people who live in the areas you're studying.
Make Geography for Children Real
Find ways to act out or experience geography topics. Kids learn more by experiencing than by just listening. If you're discussing the Great Plains of the Midwest, show the kids a video of Little House on the Prairie, encourage the kids to read Laura Ingalls Wilder books and then act out a day in the prairie, learning to deal with the elements. If possible, take a field trip to a restoration project that showcases frontier life on the prairie. Talk about how people live on the plains now, how much easier it is because of modern conveniences. If possible, take a field trip to see a dairy farm or a wheat field and talk about how the plains feed much of the country.
Use your creativity to get the kids exploring geography topics in hands-on ways. Your efforts will be rewarded.
Columbus had some strange ideas about world geography. Fortunately, an unknown piece of land was there to save him.