How to introduce maps in your kid’s life?
Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay
Kids are always eager to learn something new each day. And, maps are part of the fundamental learning tools for the kids. We know that GPS and compasses are part of today’s life. But map reading skills are vital to everyone, including children. With a map, your kid can identify the exact place they are with landmarks. The information will help them in case they lose their way home – I hope they do not. This article tackles the map reading essentials for kids and how you can help them learn quickly.
Map reading skills are also necessary to improve your kid’s outdoor activities. They can use a map to locate different places in the area so that they can achieve their tasks and goals. When introducing your kids to maps, it is essential to do everything right from the beginning. In this way, you not only help them learn faster but also avoid causing confusions.
Here are seven things to consider when teaching your children to read maps.
Teach your kid primitive mapping
Before your kid learns what a map is and how to read it, let them study the room and things around. Then ask them to draw the things they see on a piece of paper. Use their drawings to introduce them to map reading.
The drawing stage aims to let your kid know that a map is a drawing presentation of the things they see around. You can help them map things they see around the home like their room or the compound – including the animals, houses, cars, people, and anything they can see. Tell them to draw each item where it appears.
Start off with small maps
I know you want your kids to see every section and physical features on the entire globe. But you forget that they are not skilled yet. They cannot achieve the goal in the first move.
To introduce map reading to your kids, start with a small map section. You can start with a map showing the surrounding, places near home, or your estate. With this, they will learn faster to identify the things they see around on the map.
As they read the maps, they will see some of the places they know, and they can find similar places easily when they start reading larger maps.
Teach them to read map symbols
Maps are easy to read and use when you know the various landmarks. On the map, the landmarks and physical features appear as symbols. Some of these can appear on the map key. But if the map does not come with a key, you have to teach your kid to identify the places with the symbols.
Landmarks like churches, schools, and hospitals are easy to find on a map. But remember that without a physical encounter, it may be hard for the kid to comprehend the information. To start you off, get a small section of the neighbourhood on the map with symbols.
Plan a trip around so that the kid can see the places represented on the map. Do an overview with your child from home before you go out. When you start touring the neighbourhood, show them the places and their representation on the maps.
Keep the compass at home
I know you want your kid to start learning right away the direction from point A to B. But on the initial stages of map reading, a compass will be a distraction instead of a learning tool. The kid would want to see the needle moving, and they will not concentrate on the map.
The goal of map reading in the first stages is that your kid understands how to identify places and features on a map. Once they are through the stage, you can introduce the compass and explain its function.
The kid should learn to use a compass to know the direction they should follow to get to another place they can identify on the map. In short, a compass is necessary for directions but not the identification of places on the map.
Explain the contour lines
When teaching the kid about the appearance of physical features on the map, they may want to understand those lines that run around and across the map. And it is necessary for them to know why the lines exist on a map. But teaching about them may not be as easy as they seem.
One of the approaches you can use to introduce contour lines is to draw a hill on a piece of paper, then present them with a photograph of the ground you have taken from above, then let them try to “look” at the hill from above.
Then you can explain how the contour lines indicate places with the same altitude – yet they do not exist physically. Learning to read contour lines will help your kids to know the hilly places on the map and where to expect a valley, river, and other features.
Go out together
Once your kid learns to read the map, they need to go out and experience what they have learned. It is futile to teach a kid what they cannot see because it will not help them to understand the environment.
Plan on an outdoor activity day and go around reading the map with your kid and identifying places. It could be helpful if you also explain to them what happens at the various points that appear on the map.
Make use of your travel time
It is a wonderful experience going out with your kids on a picnic or tour. But have you thought of using the opportunity to expand the map reading skills for your kid? The time you spend outside together can help your kid learn a lot.
You can plan the trip together and show them the routes or roads you will follow. Show the kid the landmarks they will come across on the way, and they will be glad when they reach the places. A map is a great gift you can get for your kids so that they can mark the places they want to see while learning.
Map reading is essential for young people. You should introduce your kids to reading maps as soon as they can identify things. But take them at a slow pace to avoid confusing or overwhelming them. They cannot comprehend so much information in a single session.