Making Maps

by Deb on November 22, 2010


As well as approaching Christmas there is another major challenge for Australian parents at this time of the year – Orientation.  Whether you have a little one about to start childcare, preschool, or moving up to primary school (or even highschool!) you will have received a note inviting you to a parent evening or to sit in on classes while they learn about the new world they are about to move into.  Hopefully it’s all exciting, but sometimes it’s scary.  And sometimes the kids get a bit upset too.

One of the things you can do to help your child deal with change is to make sure they are familiar with and comfortable in their environment, and an excellent way of doing it is through maps.  (Maps are also fun to just play with :))  Making and playing with maps can develop all sorts of science skills:

  • Observation
  • Recording
  • Measuring
  • Direction and positional language
  • Classification (buildings, gardens, play equipment)
  • Recognising patterns
  • Making predictions

In fact they involve all sorts of learning, just a little is:

  • Overarching – confidence, problem-solving, persistence, collaboration, memory, visualisation, imagination, creativity, exploration, curiosity
  • Maths – direction, location, shapes, sizes, measurement.
  • SOSE – built environments, meeting needs such as the canteen and toilets, history.
  • Health – meeting personal care needs independently, exercise, meeting emotional needs through familiarity.
  • English – giving and following directions from a map is speaking and listening, and forget letters, following a map to find the treasure is a form of literacy that helps develop pre-reading skills.

school map

There are so many games you can play with maps, including real ones, fantasy ones, making them in different ways, reading them and following them, they’re an activity to come back to over and over.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

jenny @ let the children play November 22, 2010 at 8:19 am

Great post – I have some 5 year olds at preschool that are right into maps at the moment so this is timely.
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Michelle November 22, 2010 at 9:14 am

DD loves maps and draws them or asks me to quite a bit. I did realise that she hadn’t *quite* got the concept a few months ago though – conversation in the pre-school playground was something like:

DD: “Mummy, can you draw me a map to some chalk?”
Me: “Sure sweetie, where is the chalk?”
DD: “I don’t know, that’s why you need to draw me a map”
Me: “But I can’t draw a map to chalk unless I know where some is”

Cue impending tantrum about wanting chalk and Mummy refusing to draw a map to find it! Ah well … it makes for a good story!


Deb November 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I think we have Dora to thank for that – whenever she needs to find something Map appears and draws the map for her! We play that at home sometimes hiding things and making obstacle courses.


Jasmine November 24, 2010 at 12:45 am

What a brilliant idea! I always like to do a little scavanger hunt for my little ones to find their birthday gifts. They love it! And going into a new class can be quite scary, I think that this will really help those children adjust faster and easier, with such a fun way of learning!
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Louise November 28, 2010 at 10:03 am

Yes, I think maps are appearing more often in the children’s play than they did a few years ago – they make you feel so powerful, and they are everywhere in games etc a la Dora – we use old calendars and diaries that didn’t sell from the cheap shop and they often feature maps in some way as well – but a good idea to link it with a specific purpose – real life meaning….hmm – our kinder has quite a few children who live out of town, maybe we could extend this into a home activity to do with parents….thanks for the post~!


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