Do your kids know how to map a road trip? Â Here are some great kids activities that will help develop map skills for kids. Â We’d love for you to tell us at Kids Activities Blog if you’ve tried these map games or if your kids have other map activities that they enjoy.
Map a Road Trip
A road trip is the perfect opportunity to introduce children to maps and teach them the lost art of following one to get to your destination. Â As we rely more and more on GPS and navigational systems in our car, we are leaving our paper maps at home. Â There is something so nostalgic about that crinkled, folded in a gazillion different ways, map that sits in the glove box. Â Personally, I prefer to see the drive all on one big map, versus scrolling through a list of directions on a computer screen. Â And I want my kids to know how to use a good, old-fashioned map too.
We don’t leave home without our paper maps & atlas. Â The kids know how to navigate just as well as we do, thanks to a couple of activities and games we have used throughout the years:
Map Skills for Kids
Photo-Copy Maps:Â Print out online or photo-copy sets of maps for your travels and allow them to draw, color and map out the path you are taking. Â Have them cross out or color in each state/county you pass through.
Dry-Erase Maps: Laminated or dry-erase maps bought at a learning store has so many functionalities. Â We have used ours for learning state capitols, license plate games, and keeping track of where we are.
Predict the Mileage for the Day: When you set out in the morning, give the kids the maps and ask them to “predict” how many miles it is to the destination. Â You can even break it up into shorter chunks – how far til we stop for lunch? Â How many more miles til we need gas?
Read it like a Book:Â There are so many great resources and books that make maps fun for little ones. Â Ask your children to find interesting city names, facts about the state you are driving through, etc. and learn together as a family.
Map Out Our Day: Let the kids be the navigators. Sit down before you go and have them map out the directions. Â Allow them to choose where to stop for lunch and let them pick a roadside attraction or two they’d like to see.
Symbol Fun: Teach the kids what the different symbols on a map mean and then ask them to find the nearest roadside park or 2-lane highway. Â Have them count how many state parks, lakes, etc. there are in a particular area you are in.
Every opportunity I have to use a map, I engage my kids as well. Â I ask them to tell me how many more miles we have to get to a particular city, what kind of a road we are on (highway versus interstate) and when we need to turn onto a new road. Â Maybe it comes with my particular obsession with using maps, but I want my kiddos to be able to use and come to love maps like I do.
More Kids Activities
It is important to know how to map a road trip even with today’s GPS systems. Â Teaching map skills for kids will benefit them throughout their life. Â For more fun kids activities to help kids learn basic maps skills needed to eventually map a road trip, navigate your way through these great ideas: