Saturday, October 1, 2011

Map Mania

From my experience maps are not only great for helping children to gain a greater understanding of their world; they can also enhance play in a big way.

The book I'm recommending today is As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps by Gail Hartman.

This is an excellent introduction to maps book. It outlines the paths that several different animals take to get from point A to point B- then shows the map of that path. The book concludes with a large map that joins all of the paths into one.

After reading we extended the mapping fun by drawing a simple outline of a familiar starting place to a familiar destination.  It doesn't need to be complex, and you don't need much artistic skill to make this happen. In fact the simpler your outline the better for the child.

For this map I used paper from my easel, on other occasions I have even created maps out of canvas for a longer lasting better wearing map.

My son got to choose the location of his first map with the stipulation that it started at our house. He wanted the destination to be the nearby river (this kid's a fishing fanatic).

After I drew a quick black and white outline he went to town adding all kinds of details.

He was soon ready to take the map into the other room to add into his ongoing fantasy fishing game- like I said maps are a great way to enhance play.

Not too long after the first map was created he had another idea for a different map. This one needed more water. It's a made-up starting point and destination that features: the ocean, a river, and a lake; that way more fish and fishermen could be included.

I can't tell you how much I love a really good book that includes a fantastic map. I have been know to pour over maps featured in books... and my kids do too. Often these books are chapter books, if you have a kid who loves adventure and maps I will also mention a classic read-aloud "My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannett.

Enjoy the map making and happy reading! -Robyn


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