Teaching children how to find their way around by using a map is a very useful exercise that will help them navigate the world on their own. Everyone starts somewhere, and creating a fun and colourful map for children can be a good start in teaching them to find their way around on their own.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Mapping software, such as Google Earth
- Pens, pencils or markers
Determine the educational level of the children for whom you want to make the map. Find out if they can read. By the time most kids get to school, they can identify pictures or icons of things such as houses, cars, different types of buildings and landmarks in their neighbourhood or the school grounds.
Use software to make your map or draw it by hand. Use pictures of things if the kids can't read. Clip art is plentiful on the internet, and you can download pictures or icons of the things you want to put on your map.
Use arrows to show the way for children. Many kids can understand dotted lines or arrows to navigate around better than they can understand light black lines that may indicate streets or pathways.
Teach kids to use maps by using rewards. You can put sealed treats along the way and mark the map. For example, if you trying to teach your 5- or 6-year-old how to read a map, putting a symbol of a cookie by the fourth house on the map and actually placing a sealed cookie on the sidewalk by the fourth house will reward him for following the map closely.
Creating a Map for Young Children
Use software to make your map or draw it by hand.
Use street names and addresses on the map to teach children street naming and house numbering. You will probably have to explain the difference between the odd-number side of the street and the even-number of the street. Explaining how to read street signs will also be helpful, as will pointing out the difference between north and south.
Send your kids out by themselves with the map. Follow along behind them, letting them navigate their way and helping them when they get confused.
Quiz them when you get home to see if they had any difficulties following your map, and ask them to retrace their steps to their destination on the map.
Creating a Map for Older Children
Tips and warnings
- Choose a destination close to home that your kids like to go to. There might be a place that sells ice cream cones or something else your children love to visit near your home.
- Do not send young children out by themselves. Never send your kids out alone near dusk or after dark.