Tag Archives: geography

Pin It! Maps Review

Have you ever discovered a product that answers a need SO perfectly, you just can’t help raving about it? I have wanted to enrich our geography a little more, and I am thrilled to have discovered Pin It! Maps. These maps have added so much fun to our geography, and they are both beautiful and fun to use! My kids and I love combining our Tapestry geography with Pin It! Maps!Using pins to label beautiful maps makes geography so much fun! Read all about Pin It! Maps!

I enjoy geography, and I delight in teaching it to my kids through our Tapestry studies. It enriches their history, and gives them a wonderful understanding of the world. But over the past school year, I have wanted something to enrich Map Aids. My kids benefit from the focus that Map Aids gives during their history studies. But as I have gotten more comfortable as a teacher, I started to look for something that would broaden their understanding of geography without distracting from the focus of our Tapestry geography.

I kept my eyes on different geography supplements over the school year, in case something stood out. Then I heard about Pin It! Maps. Pin It! Maps are large, glossy maps with flag pins that allows your child to label countries, capitals, landforms, or putting country flags on the respective countries. Each category of flags are color coded so you can easily focus on one topic or another.We love using these pin maps to make geography fun!

I received a review copy when we were beginning to study Ancient Greece and Rome in our Tapestry studies. I pulled out the Pin It! Map that focused on Europe, and separated the flags that I wanted my girls to know. Then I tried to have them pin the map weekly, so not only would they know the places they were studying in that particular week, but also they would have a feel for the Mediterranean area. For example, while we were studying Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius for one week, and used Map Aids to focus on those places, the kids had also been spending the whole unit labeling a map of the Mediterranean. My kids now have a better understanding of what happened in Pompeii because they have consistently seen the geography of Greece and Rome.My girls love doing Pin It! maps!

This has been the perfect fit with our Tapestry studies. It allows me to keep our geography studies focused on what we are studying in history, but it also enlarges the scope of the map. It will give them a good understanding of world geography as we move through our Tapestry studies, because although history continues to move on, geography mostly stays the same!

Pin It! Maps has a number of wonderful maps to choose from, but one of my favorites is their Early America’s maps. They are their historical maps, and would have been so much fun to use when we studied the American Civil War last year! I am glad we will cycle through that time period again and I can put those maps to good use.

The Tactile nature of using Pin It! Maps delights all three of my children. It gave them something unique to do, that was unlike any of our other subjects. As a teacher, I liked that I could simply add or remove pins if I wanted to make it more challenging or easier for each of my students. Using these maps could be used for all grades of school, and even I like labeling those maps with the fun pin flags!These Pin it! Maps are so beautiful and fun to use!

I cannot stop raving about the quality of Pin It! Maps. They are so beautiful I want to fill them in!  You will be able to use it for all your homeschool career, and then share it with your grandchildren! The maps are beautiful, large and glossy. They feel thick in your hand. This is not something you can create at home using your printer and laminator. I was honestly surprised how inexpensive they are given the quality of the product! All my homeschooling friends and family will tell you that I pull out the maps when they come over because I have to tell them how amazing these maps are!

I find geography fascinating and I want to pass that love along to my children. I want my children to not just look at a past time in history and judge it according to their worldview. I want them to understand what factors influenced people’s decisions. Geography often plays a much bigger part than we give it credit. Pin It! Maps gives you those tools to understand geography, while having fun learning it!

Disclaimer: I received a free review copy for my use. All comments and thoughts are my own.

The Geography Guessing Game

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.
We love playing games as a family, and simple guessing games are one of our favorites!

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: We love playing games as a family, and simple guessing games are one of our favorites!

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!