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Geography – Teaching the World’s Countries To Young Children

Even young children can be taught geography.

When I was little, my mom would spend a few minutes a day doing geography with my brother and I.  At a very young age, I knew the name and location of every country on the globe.  I am now following the same simple method with my daughter.

Here is an easy and fun way to do geography with preschoolers:

The Globe

First you need to make sure of the basics.  

Ensure your child is aware that the globe represents the planet we live on, earth.  The vast blue area represents water and the other areas represent land.

Learning the Continents

Learning the continents is a natural next step.  If you have an ipad, here’s one app that can help your child learn the continents and oceans.    World Continents and Oceans – A Montessori Approach To Geography – Rantek Inc.

Learning the Countries

Afterwards, they are ready to learn the countries.  I recommend starting with the country they live in first.

A Country A Day Activity

Using a globe, turn the globe while your child closes their eyes and blindly selects a country using their finger.

child closing eyes pointing to globe

Then they get to open their eyes and see where their finger landed.

If they happen to touch water, no big deal, just spin and repeat.

Tell them the name of the country their finger landed on.  Ask them to repeat it.  Show them the area that country occupies.

Depending on how well they know the continents, you can ask them, or tell them, which continent that country belongs to.  

Now write the name of that country down.  

When I was a child, my mom had large chart paper that she would write the long list of all the countries I had learned on it.  She had that sheet displayed on a wall in my “school room”.  For my daughter, I just use a regular notebook.

Now turn the globe a bit to mix it up, and then ask your child to find that country for you again.  I know my daughter likes this search and find game.

The next day, ask them to find that same country again, and then repeat the above to learn a new country.  Each time you do geography, you add one new country to their list, and they get to find all the countries they have previously learned.  Obviously when their list gets quite long, you might only ask them to find a chosen number of previously learned countries per time. 

This provides lots of repetition, and kids are smart, they can learn a whole lot of countries quite effortlessly.  There are approximately 196 countries to learn, so it is quite possible for your even young child to learn where every country is in a year or less. 

For some additional fun educational play, if you have an ipad, one free app that my daughter and I both play is Map the World – Travelzoo Inc.  It’s a puzzle game, and they don’t have to know the countries yet to be able to play.

(To change things up, sometimes have them spin, and you pick out the country, or another variation.  If you don’t have a globe, a large wall map could also be used with some obvious adjustments.)  

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