Geography Game For Kids

geography lesson

My husband and I traveled a lot internationally before kids and we want to share our love and curiosity for other countries with our kids. Like many with young kids we aren’t up to taking them to all these places just yet. Instead we read lots of books , look at lots of pictures ( our own and others) and play games like this one that GASP uses flash cards . This geography game for kids is so simple and will spark your child’s wanderlust!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a globe or map, and some fun geography flash cards.
  2. Start by having your child pick a card. Ask them by looking at the picture where they think it might be. Wild guesses or close calculations are wqually good, this is all about exploring from your own playroom, not getting facts “right”.
  3. Flip it over and find out where it is.
  4. Next find it on the map.
  5. Keep going as long as it’s fun.
  6. Beware for wee sisters who swipe the landmarks.

Famous Landmark Blocks

landmark blocks

Taking your kids to Paris, London or Pisa might not be in the budget but you can turn their building blocks into the city’s most famous landmarks. What a great way to introduce learning about far away places by using your kid’s own blocks. This was so simple and can be redone with so many different themes like these animal ones ,or faces you don’t even need a printer if you want to hand draw the pictures. My son didn’t participate in making the blocks ( I think he gets enough crafts, what do you think?)  but from toddler to school age kids can color or draw the buildings too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some building blocks. Any will do but here is my opinion- we used Fisher-Price Little People Builders Blocks, they are big, snap together but not too tightly. They let me be sorta sloppy with the contact paper. If there was some bunched up I could still snap them together. Duplo is less forgiving so you will need to only get contact paper on the side none on the top where the blocks come together.  Wood blocks would work well but might frustrate younger ones who want them to stay together. You will also need  pictures of whatever buildings you want to use, scissors, contact paper and clear tape.
  2. Start by laying out what blocks you will need for each building.
  3. Now here I did it two ways. I first cut the image into the pieces for the blocks, then cut the contact paper and put it on. It was tedious.
  4. The other way was to use one large piece of contact paper place the image on it face down, lay the blocks on it, make snips where you need to cut.
  5. Cut and apply to the blocks. This worked WAY better. I am not the most patient or careful because my window for doing anything without kids interrupting is tiny these days but as you can see even not too careful turned out great.
  6. Put them together!
  7. Time to play – he may not have participated in the making but he sure did with the playing.
  8. It’s mega-landmark!

Series Showcase : Ms. Frizzels’ Adventures

With summer vacations on the horizon some of my book lists will lean towards school age kids in the next few months. This series by Joanna Cole are books I have been reading with my 4.5 year old but they are really geared towards Kindergarten and up, with the true target being 6 and 7 year olds. There is a lot of information on every page of every book so take your time. We grabbed the Medieval Castles book on Monday and by Wednesday we’d tracked down the other two, now on Thursday I am sharing them with you. I couldn’t wait to write about how much I like these books and how exciting they make history and travel, two of my favorite subjects.

Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Ancient Egypt took me back to 6th grade when I discovered all the gruesome details of mummification . Ms. Frizzle and all the others on her tour to Egypt magically go back in time ditching their tour guide in modern day Egypt while they time travel to Ancient Egypt and learn all about the sights, daily life and the most exciting of course learning about mummification. I discovered that my son thought mummies were make believe and we took some time to talk all about what is real and what isn’t.  Did I ever tell you I have a degree in history? I love this stuff and books like this one is why I craved more and more information as a kid because it was presented so well. My son sat wide eyed as I read the book to him, and he carefully studied all the details of the amazing illustrations .

Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Imperial China Takes readers from present day Chinese New Year celebrations to the rice fields and palaces of Imperial China. In this installment Ms.Frizzle explores China, explains the concept of taxes really quite well and covers many of the inventions that came from the country. My 4.5 year old wasn’t as into this book as the other two in the series but I think that’s because I read two of  them to him back to back with this one at the end, which was obviously too much for his attention. I however loved this one and was fascinated by the little asides filled with information about Chinese inventions.

Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Medieval Castle was the biggest hit with both my son and I and the reason we went searching for the other books. This is a great book. The story is fun, the character’s asides are hilarious ( I love that her student is less than thrilled to see her outside of school), and the history explored is really an adventure. Ms. Frizzle heads to Medieval times after following a tunnel in a castle shop and a little twist of that magic time traveling watch of hers. Immediately they are at a castle where the Lord is on his way to fight for the King. This got my son’s attention right away and when the Castle was attacked my son was glued. We have had it out from the library less than one week but I have read it half a dozen time, and it’s LONG. I am more than happy to read it though, and the cutaway view of the inside of the castle is my son’s favorite part. I think perhaps being dragged around to open houses as we look for a new house has left a mark?  There is a lot of fighting and weapons which may mean this is not the book for your family but for us it puts these toys my son loves so much ( his Playmobil knights especially) into a historical perspective.  I will be buying this one for sure.

Travel Solutions For Kids – Craft Box

travel with kids craft supplies for travelIs it time for a vacation ? A road trip to somewhere fun? Hotels, Grandma’s or maybe a beach house? Either way packing is never fun but it can be easier with this great travel sized craft supply box. This travel craft box is small but a great travel solution for kids. It  holds all he fun you need and can be packed easily into a suitcase or into your car this summer. I packed a similar one for my week in Washington DC, it was just me and three kids under 4 for most of the day , no TV , no car so these basics were our life savers!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need:
    • A container. I like this medium sized Ziploc container It’s cheap, it’s just the right size and if something happens to it, like it gets left at the Holiday Inn, no biggie.

travel craft case 009

    • Next I have an old stained but thick place mat. The benefit of using a cloth one is that the fabric absorbs paint, markers etc.. and it’s less messy as long as you don’t care if it gets rather colorful.

travel craft box

  • Next add markers and crayons I just put in the colors my son always uses, space is at a premium so these pip-squeaks markers are perfect!travel craft box
  • Paint- water colors are great , throw in an extra brush. Use the plastic cups in your hotel room for the water container. travel craft box
  • Add Play-Doh and some popsicle sticks for making sculptures, and cutting the Play-Doh.travel craft box
  • Scissors and glue. You will want scissors that are sharp enough for an adult to use but small enough for a kid.travel craft box
  • If there is extra room – glitter glue, stickers or pipe cleaners are great options. travel craft box
  • For the paper I added a handful of construction paper colors and lots of plain white paper . travel craft box
  • Put them in a file folder and this fits great in the front zipper of suitcases or even your carry-on.  Or in a car in the pockets behind the driver or passenger seats. travel craft box

Now you can take your craft supplies with you for those moments of downtime no matter where adventure takes you.

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Holiday Travel Craft

Pack it !

Travel Craft

I grew up in a family that not only loves to travel but made it their business, my son has been on many planes, and loves to play airport . This wasn’t a mama planned activity but  I figured many of you will be packing suitcases over the holidays and this activity can help prepare  for the trip ahead.  Do not fret about having the exact items they will be packing, you aren’t training them, just getting them used to the idea of packing, choosing things to take and the idea of travel.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a piece of construction paper, some plain labels, markers, a catalog or magazine, scissors and glue stick.Travel Craft
  2. Start by folding your paper in half and drawing a suitcase ( totally fine if yours is a little wonky- as long as your child can recognize it , you are fine! ).Cut out.Travel Craft
  3. Together with your child decide on the different places you should go, write the places on the labels with a dark color. I used large labels so I wrote multiple place names on each.Travel Craft
  4. Have your child color the labels with markers.
  5. Cut into smaller labels if needed.
  6. Add them to the outside of your suitcase.Travel Craft
  7. Rip out some ages with items your child would like to pack, have them cut out the items if they can. Travel CraftMy son cut at one page while I cut out more items for him choose from. Travel CraftHe is able to cut but not navigate around objects yet, so we shared the task.
  8. Decide which to pack. Of course my son needs lots of PJs .Travel Craft
  9. Add your glue Travel Craft
  10. Add your pictures into the inside of your suitcase.Travel Craft
  11. Let dry OPEN, if you close it it will glue together.Travel Craft

Books

rooster

Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle was reviewed by my son tonight as ” That’s a really nice book mama.” When I asked him what he liked he said ” The rooster was lonley, I only like trips with you and daddy too.” See Rooster has a grand plan to see the world, only he didn’t really plan it at all. Along the way friends join him but when night falls and they are cold and have no place to stay they all head home, and so does Rooster. I love that my son explained why Rooster went home and that he felt the same way not wanting to venture out to see the world alone… yet. Great book for kids learning to add and subtrack as well, as each page adds animals, then after the night falls each subtracts.

cars

Cars: Rushing! Honking! Zooming! by Patricia Hubbell has a fun retro look and is a whimsical look at all sorts of cars , places they go and who drives them.  Like her book Trucks the drivers in this book aren’t always conventional, or human. My son thinks it’s hilarious that zebras, ducks and other animals are driving cars alongside humans. I love the rhyming text that never feels forced and zooms along with the illustrations.

I love planes

I Love Planes!by Philemon Sturges ia all about things that fly. This is a great book for young toddlers , the text is limited but effective.  The colors are bright and cheery and even though he usually reads longer more complex books my son still enjoyed this book, and learned about Blimps for the first time.