We recently got back from a family vacation to see...more family. My husband is in the military, so our loved ones do not live close by, not close enough to stop by and hang out when ever we'd like! This lifestyle causes us to move and travel so much, that it confuses our four year old as to where we are exactly. Last summer, we made one of our "big moves." To help my son grasp some simple geography while we traveled, I created something visual he could refer to, and use in the future.
It was as simple as Googling, Blank map of the United States. In an instant, I found and print out the images below. I used this simple and clean format, so I could add what pertained to our situation, without the distraction of extra words, or trying to explain why Hawaii and Alaska were hovering in the left corners of the page, and not connected to the rest of the states (if we go there someday, I will find something more accurate)!
Together, my son and I talked about the states and cities that he knew about, mostly where we lived, where his grandparents live, and where our new house was. We marked the cities on the map, and he used this map in the car to follow along as we drove. It turned into a great game for him, sometimes he would tell us where we needed to go next. He even added details of his own to the map, a road, a tree. It gave him a better understanding of where we were going, and it was a great addition to his bag of activities for our long trips.
|Found at dailycoloringpages.com|
You can use this no matter what your transportation is, and you can break down the distance of your travels even further, by using larger images of individual states. The best way to use these again and again, is to laminate them and provide dry erase markers. Hopefully, it's best use will be to help with that annoying saying, "Are we there yet?"
|Found at about.com|