Here in our home, we love simple games that you can play while everyone finishes dinner. It allows us to linger together around the table and our girls love any challenge where they might be able to stump Daddy! We have developed different guessing games that are wonderful to play on long car trips or while waiting at the dentist office. It makes learning fun, rather than seat work.
When they were little we played a game with our girls that we coined, “The Animal Guessing Game”. One person would think of an animal and everyone would have to figure out which one it was. The girls learned basic animal categories, like mammal and reptile, and loved the challenge of coming up with something that would take a long time to guess.
We have enjoyed this game so much, so we have expanded it as the girls have gotten older and have started them on the “Geography Guessing Game”. As you would expect, this game is much more challenging for everyone, including the adults! The other day at dinner, I asked that we please allow the globe at the table. I needed help figuring out some of these places!
We start by allowing one person to pick a place that they want everyone to guess. It can be any land-form, city, country or body of water. We allow them to pick anything they can think of that is a place on the globe. So far we have not narrowed the field any closer than that, but over time it would be fun to focus on the areas that we are learning about in our Tapestry studies. Mike almost stumped me last time when he picked a place that he said was connected to a large body of water. I forgot the Nile River dumps into the Mediterranean Sea!
We help our girls to narrow down the possible places to guess by teaching them to start by asking the broad questions. This also allows us to teach them basic geography categories.
Here is a graphic that will help explain how we narrow down the place on the map:
It is a wonderfully simple game that promotes learning about places and having fun as a family!
These are some other questions we have helped the kids come up with as they are trying to solve the place a person is thinking about:
- Is it on a continent?
- Is it an island?
- Is it man made or God made? (i.e. city or land-form)
- Is it a mountain?
- Does it border an ocean?
- Does it have four seasons?
- Is it hot and sandy?
- Is it mostly ice?
- Did explorers travel to it or around it?
- Does it have mountains around it?
- Have we ever been there?
- Would we have to fly on an airplane to get there?
- Is it something we learned about recently in history?
Not only do these questions help the game, but they help the kids think about all the details of the place they are guessing. Instead of geography being purely about looking at a map, it becomes a fun framework to play with as kids have to evaluate a globe and guess what someone else is thinking. For the person who has the place in their head, they have to know enough to answer any question posed to them! It allows them to show their knowledge about a place on a map, which still keeping the family stumped.
We are enjoying playing this game together. I am learning so much myself by having to remember all the countries, and water ways. We hope you enjoy playing this game with your family!
Check out how we include geography with our history studies in our three week sample here!