Dr.Seuss Geography Activity {FREE Printable}

Dr.Seuss activity for kids One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and while I interpret the book to be about about the stages in life I like to use it in a more literal way as a launching  pad for a lesson in geography. This geography activity is flexible. You could chose to focus on foreign countries or places in your neighborhood. Since I did  this with my seven year-old I gave him a globe and let him decide for himself.

Oh The Places You'll Go Dr. Suess Printable geography

Print Here

Gather your materials. You will need a copy or two of our Oh, The Places I Want To Go printable, a pencil, scissors, stapler , and a globe or atlas. Start by cutting out the printable. Our idea was that they look like tickets ready to take you to the destination. dr.seuss geography lesson

Next have your child look at this great big world and decide what they would like to add to their must see list! oh the places you'll go activity for kindergartenDon’t reign them in. If they want to see Mars,  cool! If they want to go to the North Pole, rad! The most lasting benefit I have experienced from my own travels is the boost to my own curiosity about other people and places. This curiosity will spark learning. dr.seuss oh, the places you'll go lesson for kidsLet your kids be curious about places they find during this activity and use the places they choose as possible future learning experiences.  As they look at the globe or atlas be available to answer questions and or have google ready to answer them for you. This can be a 3 minute activity or stretched out depending on the curiosity of the child.

Write it down. dr.seuss geography

My son wrote down a couple, one being Paris because of the pastries. I have been known to wax poetic about Paris… and it seems like someone has been listening.I think we will try to make this recipe for a  Pear Tart during Spring Break to extend this learning. Traveling with kids isn’t always possible but you can always learn about far away places. dr.seuss birthday party idea

Staple the pages together and make sure you have a few empty ones so that they can add more destinations later and keep that curiosity about far off places going and going.

 

55 More Dr. Seuss Activities

Seuss Activities for class

Find more fun ideas to celebrate Dr.Seuss from a number of wonderful education focused blogs. Check out the links and post here.

27 Multicultural Books For Kids

global books for kids Traveling with young kids isn’t always a possibility but exposing your children to the world through books is simple. These 27 books can turn your living room into Africa, Asia or New York City! Kids can learn about differences and similarities with children an ocean away while snuggled in their own bed. These multicultural books let your kids see into other children’s lives and imagine themselves in that shoes.  Take time to read and talk about these books, research the countries further , try some new foods, just keep the learning going. Check out some crafts from around the world here too! Do you have a favorite book about another country or culture? Add it in comments so we can keep this list growing.

Madeline in London

Madeline in London by Ludwig Bemelmans .  Madeline takes her fearlessness to London in this follow up to the classic Madeline story. Like the original the text is a rhyming masterpiece and I love that this story includes real London sights in it’s illustrations, such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey , the Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square. Do be forewarned that there is a little reference to making glue out of dead horses after a horse in the story is believed to be dead. Not to worry though the horse is not dead after all and the glue reference should sail right over kids heads. After reading this to my Pre K class we got down a globe and found where Paris and London were. For weeks 2 little girls played airplane and their destination was always London. A single book can really open doors!

My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone is a book I got to know very well when writing lessons for Itty Bitty Bookworm preschool curriculum using it. This a a really fantastic book that is filled with language arts, geography and math lessons. Granny is a traveler and everywhere she goes she picks up a number of souvenirs. Not only are a number of countries like Switzerland, Mexico and Peru visited, but the souvenirs she buys relate to the country’s culture and offer even more learning opportunities for interested kids. The rhyming text will enchant even the youngest world traveler , this is a must for any jet setting family!

Greenapple

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting is a treat. Sometimes learning about the world means learning about people next door to us.  The book is not about apples really at all, instead it’s about Farrah a little Muslim girl who has come to the United States from an unnamed country and her first day at school. The day is spent on a field trip to an orchard , where the children pick apples and make apple cider. I immediately related to this as my first day of work at a school in my new country was trying, although I could speak the language unlike Farrah it was still daunting to be new in unfamiliar territory. The melting pot analogy is turned into a apple cider one as all the children throw their apples in and work together to press it into cider, even Farrah helps.

D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet by Carol Crane is a in valuable book when teaching about China and Chinese New Year, it is more than a simple alphabet book, going into detail about lanterns, chopsticks, panda bears and so much more. What I love about these books is that younger children can be shown the pictures and given a easy to digest synopsis of the text, while older children can read the whole book. The illustrations by Zong-Zhou Wang will make the most reluctant traveler want to get on a plane to china, they are simply spectacular!

Northwest Coast Learn the Alphabet cover

Learn the Alphabet with NorthWest Coast Native Art by Ryan Cranmer (and others) was an amazing gas station find. Yes I said gas station. I ran in for some diet coke and came out with an alphabet book ! This book is amazing, bright beautiful and even though I bought it for my daughter since it’s bright colors and sturdy pages are perfect for a baby, my almost 4 year old son adores it. What I love is when he reads it to her . The Native art is gorgeous and if you are unfamiliar with North West coast art you are in for a treat.

everybody_cooks_rice

Everybody Cooks Rice  by Norah Dooley is a fantastic book! The book follows a sister who is looking for her brother in their San Francisco neighborhood. As she goes from door to door each neighbor invites her in to eat some of their supper. Everybody is having some sort of rice dish even though they are all from different countries. My 6 year old really enjoyed this book and understood the message well , my 3 year old sat through it no problem too. There are so many future lessons about geography, nutrition, and travel packed in this one little book! Awesome find.

whoever you are by mem fox

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox. I had the absolute pleasure of writing a unit of study for Itty Bitty Bookworm using this book as the base. I often feel sick of the books we use for curriculum after reading it thousands of times, brainstorming lessons and activities. Not this book, every time I read it I get goosebumps. The book is simple and talks about the differences of little children all over the world, but focuses on what they all have in common. Children of various cultures are shown , smiling, laughing, crying and the reader can see that even if the clothes , or houses or food are  different the insides are the same. I always choke up reading this book because it’s so beautiful and a great reminder for all of us that while we so often focus on what we see as different most of what we have is in common.

all the colors of the earth

All the Colors of the Earth by Shelia Hamanaka is a simple book that makes a great point. Children come in all colors. The text is very brief but very descriptive comparing children’s coloring to caramel, golden wheat and more. My just 3 year old loved this book and it matched her recent discovery that people do come in all colors and that is something to celebrate.

global books for kids

A South African Night by Rachel Isadora was loved by both my children but for different reasons. The book is very simple and great for kids 4 and under although my 6 year old was interested because my husband and I have traveled to South Africa and visited the places in the book. The book shows glimpses of the urban South Africa as well as the rural Kruger National Park where many of the great species of wild life roam. I think many children see Africa as only the rural wild life filled half of the equation and don’t think of the urban half. This book shows both sides for a more complete , although still simplistic, picture.

everybody bonjours

Everybody Bonjours! by Leslie Kimmelman was such a find! I adore Paris so my review of this book may be slightly biased. I love it. I love the simplicity of a little girl going to Paris and saying as well as hearing “Bonjour” everywhere she goes. She stops at many of the major tourists attractions and at the end of the story there is a short guide for the sights she sees with her family. Also it should be noted that there are many pages that contain opposites on them so children will enjoy being able to anticipate the story. I love the illustrations by Sarah McMenemy they give a retro feel to a very cute book. My son really liked it especially since he was just learning “Bonjour” the other day and happily helped me say it with each turn of the page.

little pim colors

Colors by Julia Pimsleur Levine is a dynamic lift the flap book in three different languages. What I think is so powerful about this book is that because it has three languages it exposes children naturally to the concept that there are many cultures and languages not just the one or two they may hear around their city or neighborhood. My 3 year old loves the Little Pim Panda and the flaps and tabs kept her interested and engaged while reading the book. Please note I do have a working relationship with Little Pim but was not asked or paid to include this book in the round up. Like all the rest of these books we took it out from the library!

lala salama

Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby by Patricia MacLachlan is a calm gentle story that follows a day in the life of a little baby and his mama in Tanzania. The illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon are stunning and I love that it takes readers through a typical day for this little family. My daughter loves babies and this is a great book to talk about the little differences and big similarities between what she did as a baby and what this little baby does.

mamas saris

Mama’s Saris by Pooja Makhijani is a simple yet rich story about a little girl and her desire to dress in her mama’s clothes. I think I would be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn’t remember watching in awe as her mom got dressed for a special event and wanting to dress just like mama. The narrator is Hindu and her mama wears a sari for special occasions and she is stubbornly trying to get her mom to let her wear one for her 7th birthday. The illustrations are beautiful, especially the jewel tones of the various saris. This book would be a great one to read before playing dress up or other pretend play. The story is touching and although it’s too long for toddlers, it’s a great book for preschoolers !

There’s a Dolphin in the Grand Canal by John Bemelmans Marciano is a silly book that enchanted me.  It’s all about a little boy stuck helping out in his families cafe in Venice wishing he was somewhere more exciting than Venice. Then something very exciting happens but no one believes him! What I love so much about this book is that it gets to the heart of why people travel , to see things that they have never seen before. If you live in Venice St.Marks Square and The Rialto Bridge are ho hum but if you are from Winnipeg they rock! I also love that there are tourists in this book using all different languages that are explained in an appendix at the back of the book. Very cool find!

The Only One Club

The Only One Club  by Jane Naliboff . Learning about the world around you can meant an ocean away or right next door. This is a cute book about a little girl named Jennifer who is the only one in her class who celebrates Hanukkah. Soon she finds out that there are lots of “Only Ones” in her class , like the only one with red hair, the only one who wears dresses every day and the only one with a unique last name. I like the message this book has, that we should celebrate our diversity and tell our kids it’s not a bad thing to be unique.

yumi

Kokeshi: Yumi by Annelore Parot is overwhelmingly cute. The book is all about a little wooden doll ( Kokeshi ) named Yumi from Japan. Readers follow along with Yumi as she gets ready and goes to a costume party. The book has many dynamic elements in it that will delight your kids. I would not read it with an exuberant toddler though because it’s not a board book and with so many different kinds of lifts, folds and flaps it’s bound to get ripped. The illustrations are amazing and the facts about Japanese culture like kimonos, sushi and fish kites are woven perfectly into the cute story.

ganesha

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes is a cute adaptation of the Indian legend of how Ganesha came to write the epic Mahabharata. Kids will love this book without ever knowing the historical significance of the original story. My daughter absolutely adored this book because it has two of her favorite things an Elephant ( at least she thought Ganesha was one ) and candy! Ganesha breaks his trunk on a jawbreaker in this story and while having a bit of a tantrum is asked to use his broken tusk to scribe an amazing epic … he agrees as long as he can eat candy while he does it. The story is cute but the illustrations by Sanjay Patel are bright completely suck kids in, it’s no shock that his day job is as an animator for Pixar.

 

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman cost me a total of 15 cents at a thrift store. It is worth so much more than that. This book is a gem! Perfect for older preschoolers who are getting a sense of the world beyond their own home and city, this book takes you on a ride around the world! You follow the little girl to Italy, France , Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica and back to Vermont! As soon as I read this my mind was racing with classroom activities ! I will be posting some soon. I LOVE this book, I just wish I had read it when I was still teaching it would have been so much fun to teach geography with!

The Falling Flowers by Jennifer B. Reed .The story is very sweet, it’s about a grandmother taking her young granddaughter on a surprise outing in Tokyo. It turns out that she is taking her to see the cherry trees in full bloom just as her grandmother had done with her. It’s a nice look at the softer side of Tokyo , a city I know I always imagine as only steal, cement and neon lights!

d is for drinking gourd

D Is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet  by Nancy I. Sanders is the type of book that will fit your family for many years as it can be read and multiple levels. This book will teach children of many ages about African American history, the letters are really just a great organizational tool. I love this structure of book because of younger children you can simply go page by page letter by letter simply identifying the illustrations but older children can read the poem on each page or even the in depth text about each page. This book would be a perfect tool for a great history lesson connecting political and social history with contemporary issues the African American community still faces today.

yum yum dim sum

Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger is a book that makes me crave dumplings something fierce but my daughter seems to like the rhymes and pink and red colors throughout. The book explains in a zippy text all about Dim Sum . It’s a board book targeted to babies it’s really useful to use to teach children about foods they may be unfamiliar with. There is even a little appendix with Chinese words for all the items mentioned in the book like tea, rice and tarts.

somewhere

Somewhere in the World Right Now by Stacey Schuett is brilliant. This book very simply illustrates that while we sleep others in far away places are getting up to eat, heading off to work , and going to school. As the reader turns the pages different locations around the globe are displayed with simple every day events. I love that the text doesn’t tell you where each place is even though the illustrations usually give it away with pictures or sometimes words. Kids will love noting similarities and differences. Be prepared to tell your kids what time it is all over the globe after reading this book.its a small

It’s A Small World by Richard M Sherman and Robert B. Sherman is a bright and colorful book that you won’t read, you will sing. It’s the familiar tune from the favorite Disneyland ride It’s A Small World. The illustrations by Joey Chou bring it to life! The children from all over the globe look similar to the dolls in the ride but bring their own fresh spin on it too. My 3 year old adored the ride when we were in Disneyland in January and really enjoyed this book too. There is so many details to talk about in the illustrations that I found i didn’t really read it so much as turn each page and discuss.

elizabeti's school

Elizabeti’s School by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen is a wonderful book for elementary aged kids . The story is about a little girl in Africa who is excited about  getting ready to go to school for the first time. What I adore about this book is that it teaches children that school may be seen as a burden to children in wealthy nations it’s a privilege to many in poorer places. Children are lucky to get a chance to go to school and without being preachy at all this book gets that message through to readers. The other thing that it gets through so beautifully is that while school systems are obviously different that family life and people are not all that different even on a far away continent. Both my son and I liked this book.

m is for maple

M Is For Maple: A Canadian Alphabet  by Mike Ulmer. This book will make you feel proud to be from Canada if you are Canadian and teach you something about your neighbour ( We spell it with a u in Canada ) if you aren’t . It will also teach your children things about the country they live in and why we feel pride when we hear names like Terry Fox, Anne with an E and Gretzky! I love this book and have since I first read it during teacher’s college in Thunder Bay, if you can be happy about being in Canada during a very cold Thunder Bay winter you can be happy about it anywhere.

ABeCedarios

ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish by Cynthia Weill and K.B.Basseches , wood sculptures by Moises and Armando Jimenez.  This is a simple but amazing book.  The text is simply labels in both English and Spanish for the bright and wonderful photographs of the matching sculptures. I loved that for X the sculpture is of a mythical animal and the book asks the reader to make up a name beginning with X, very clever!

all the way

All the Way to America by Dan Yaccarino is a wonderful story about immigration and family tradition. My kids both liked the story of the Yaccariono family and how they came to settle in America from Italy. Throughout the story there is one little shovel that gets used for all different things generation after generation. It’s a great symbol for how family roots can stay strong even if how we express them changes. I liked being able to compare it to my own immigration to the United States and how different it was for me in 2003 vs the author’s great grandfather over a hundred years earlier. Good book to talk about how people came to the United States and why people move from country to country.

this is book by sasek

Another whole series I love but simply did not have time to review each one ( they are all long but wonderful books ) are the This is … by Miroslav Sasek . You can read more about them here.

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Snake Craft – Chinese New Year

chinese new year craft for kids year of the snakeThis year is the year of the snake and Chinese new year is always a great vehicle to learn about a different culture. Lately my daughter and I have been playing pretend play airplane always landing in China to explore the great wall ( my idea)  and local candy shops ( her idea) . This week we will make some Chinese food together , look at maps and read the books below. At the age of 2  the idea of New Year is still pretty tough especially when we already celebrated on January 1st. So instead I have explained it to her as a party  and the snake is the special symbol for it and used the theme to explore China with her.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper. I adore the canvas paper from craftprojectideas.com who graciously sent me this when I couldn’t find any locally. You will also need some paint, a paint brush ( we used a dish scrubber) , double stick tape ( if you need to tape the snake together) a googly eye, pipe cleaner, paint, glue and collage materials.chinese new year craft for kids
  2. Start by drawing a snake and cutting it out.chinese new year craft for kids snake 2 OK now I admit my snake looks like a worm at best but my daughter couldn’t care less so I stuck with it. I cut mine out in two pieces and taped them together. I used tape so we could get to the project right away but glue would be fine too.Chinese new year craft for kids 3
  3. Next step . Time to choose your paint colors.chinese new year craft choosing colors
  4. Next it’s time to start painting. First with the scrubber…. chinese new year craft for toddlersthen with your hands . My table was dirty so I didn’t bother covering it since I needed to give it a good scrub anyway. Have a damp cloth handy if like us you have to pass by carpet on the way to the sink.chinese new year year of the snake craft for kids
  5. Let the snake dry. We were short on time ( almost nap time) and usually I’d let it dry during nap and finish we had a doctor’s appointment after nap so instead I dried it carefully with a cool hair dryer while my daughter washed her hands and played in the sink. It worked so well.
  6. Time to glue!cheinese new year craft snake craft
  7. Add the collage materials.chinese new year sequins I love sequins and buttons because my daughter is so patient picking them up and putting them on to projects. She also loves peeling them off after the glue is dry so if you saw this snake now days later you’d see a sad no eye no sequin snake.  Interestingly my first thought was ” Well I can re-use those and it was great fine motor as she peeled them off too.”chinese new year adding buttons
  8. Add the eye.chinese new year add eye
  9. Poke a hole in the mouth area and thread a pipe cleaner through . Bend a Y in the end to make it look like a forked tongue.chinese new year snake craft for toddlers and kids
  10. Let it all dry .year of the snake craft for kids

Books about Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did! The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the new year

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.

next new year janet wong

This Next New Year by Janet Wong is a great new to me book about Chinese New Year. I read it with my kids after dinner and they booth really enjoyed it. My daughter liked the illustrations and the text itself was short enough to keep my 2 year old interested too. What this book did a great job of doing was explaining a few of the differences between Chinese New Year and New Year of January 1st and lots of the traditions . My son related well to the main character, a little boy about his age, and had a ton of questions after the book that the author actually addressed in a authors note at the end. Great book for PreK and up.

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Neighborhood Photo Safari & Photo Book For Kids

After making our Alphabet Photo Magnets my so has been asking to get a chance to use my camera again. Today we went all around town and took photos of places that we go to or past often. The power of this activity is to relate the photos in the book to the photo safari and previous experiences at each location. The book itself is simple but each page is much more than it’s text. The photos will prompt storytelling by even the youngest child. My daughter talked her way through 3 consecutive readings . Making the book was also a great learning experience for my son and while there are much more polished options like photo books from places like  snapfish and keepsy doing it all by hand is valuable too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some page protectors , a report cover or small binder , a camera, a clip board, paper and marker. You will also need a printer and a template for the book. You can  download it here , it’s very simple but effective.
  2. Get ready with a list of where you need to go.
  3. Get buckled in and don’t forget your camera.
  4. As we went around town my son took the photos and checked them off the list.
  5. At the fire station we expected to just take a photo but they invited us in and it was by far the highlight for both my kids.
  6. Taking the photos was fun but walking around town with each other was pretty awesome too.
  7. At home print out the book pages and the photos.  Grab some scissors and glue too.
  8. Cut the photos out. Cutting is a really important skill for kids to master especially around my son’s age ( just about to go to kindergarten) so I really wanted him to do as mush of the cutting as possible.
  9. After they are cut add the glue.
  10. Slide into the page protectors and into the report cover.
  11. Read. I am kicking myself for not getting a photo of my daughter reading but she was wiped by the day and took a monster nap. By the time she woke I was knee deep in dinner prep. but I could hear her telling her dad ” Again! ” as they read it over and over.

Book

In the Town All Year ‘Round by Rotraut Susanne Berner is amazing.It’s premise are the comings and goings of a town in all four seasons. There is limited text, which serves only to steer readers to look for specific people in the highly detailed illustrations. Each season has multiple pages and the people remain constant throughout the seasons. So you see inside an apartment building , the town square, the park, railroad station etc… in every season. You see the changes in town, the progression and of course the distinct weather in each section. The pictures also progress within the seasons, so a fire truck with a flashing light can be seen on every page in one season with the last page showing it getting to the fire . I can’t possibly explain the amazing detail and sheer number of things to find, make up stories about and spark your child’s imagination in this book. My son adores it. After renewing it multiple times from our library I bought it as his 2010 Valentine’s gift. It goes everywhere with us, perfect for long drives , waits in the Ob’s waiting room and plain old playtime he picks it up every day and finds something new.

What I really love is that because there is no text but still multiple story lines it’s helped my son to understand that literacy isn’t just about words, it about explaining what’s going on, and reading the pictures too. The absence of text has allowed me to really show him that . Now he has started grabbing books with text and telling me he’d read me the pictures, which boosts both his confidence and his enjoyment of independent reading.

Edited for 2011: My son is still crazy over this book. When I am desperate for him to chill out so I can get my daughter down for a nap nothing keeps him occupied ( and quiet) like this book. It’s magic!

Edited for 2012 : My daughter has now started to enjoy this book too. She loved finding the baby in each page.

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.