Kid geography - Concepts of location begin early in life. By age 2, kids are able to distinguish between objects that are near and can be grasped, and those that are farther away. They can notice features of their immediate surroundings, such as the bedroom or yard.
Ideas of direction develop gradually through preschoolers' experiences. Try some of the following activities to introduce terms of direction:
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Kid geography - Ages 4-5
- Use words left and right in connection with real situations. Play circle games like "Sally Go Round the Moon" or "The Hokey Pokey." "Start with your right foot." To make this easier, you can put a felt marker dot, or a bracelet or string, on one of your child's hands. Find ways to modify the games for children with disabilities so they can experience themselves in space.
- When you go somewhere, use directional terms. "We'll turn right here." "Shawndra's house is three blocks from us, so we have to look for the gas station. That is where we turn left."
- You can get your child to understand ideas like north, south, east, and west, by pointing out that the kitchen is always sunny in the mornings because it faces east and that is where the sun comes up. Or, you might sit on the stoop to catch the afternoon sun because the sun sets in the west.
- Help increase your kid's vocabulary by using pictures from books and magazines so they can associate words with visual images. A picture of a desert can get you started talking about the features of a desert--not much water, not many green trees. Talk with your children to help them find more detailed words to describe different natural and cultural features.
- When you go outside, look back at your home and ask your children to point to where they live. Can they find their room? When you walk across the street, look back and ask again if they can point to their home.
- On a walk around your neighborhood point out other signs that indicate location. There are street signs and numbers on apartments and homes. Ask your kids how a friend would find your home if they didn't have a number or street name.