Map reading is an important skill to have but kids can have fun with maps too.  Next time you go somewhere that offers a map, let your child explore it and watch his map skills grow.  At Kids Activities Blog, we hope this maps for kids idea expands on the fun activities you can share with your child on your next outing. how to read maps with your kids

Map Reading

When you think of maps, you may think of using a map key to help you know where you are  going. Not all maps have map keys though. The one above from our local zoo doesn’t have one, but my five year old was able to use it to navigate and find things he wanted both of us  to see. We are given maps every time we enter the zoo. My son always request to hold it and navigate with it. As you can see from the map, our zoo is made up of three loops and a small walkway to the alligators. It is not a large place and after several visits you may not need a map to tour it. Yet giving him the opportunity to share with me what animals are coming up  next  by referring to the map is thrilling  for him.

Map Skills

I thought it was just something he enjoyed doing until we went to the zoo with two different friends. Each of their children did exactly the same thing. They wanted to guide us through the zoo. One tended to focus on whether the next animal was going to be on the left or the right.  The other focused more on what animal was going to be coming up next as my son did. Maps, even simple ones like this, give children the opportunity to navigate in their world with confidence. They give them a visual reference that can be checked over and over again as they walk through the place they are visiting.  The three children I was visiting the zoo with must have referred to the map a dozen times as we walked around the zoo.Map Reading For Kids: Learning Map Skills

Maps for Kids

Once you get home, maps can be a great way to review your visit to the place you have visited.  They can help jog a child’s memory as to what they have seen and which order they saw it in. I love to pull out maps of places we have visited and talk about what we saw during our visit. If you are visiting a place that offers maps, please grab one for each of your children.  It can be a wonderful learning tool and it add to the enjoyment of your visit.

More Kids Activities

What is your child’s favorite map reading activity?  How have you helped to develop map skills in your child?  For more kids activities with maps, you may want to check out these ideas:

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  1. I totally agree. Maps for kids can be very useful especially when they are tied to experiences. If you travel it’s a no brainer, but we have found that at times, it may just be linking their favorite characters from Madagascar or Go Diego, to give a place much needed perspective. Not only can they navigate the map with ease but they can remember places or landmarks based on their interaction with the world at large. Such a simple concept of associations, but it works! Thanks for sharing.

  2. It’s so funny when you come across something that’s never crossed your mind as a parent before, that seems so obvious. I’ve NEVER given my daughter a map to have her help navigate. This makes me want to take them to the zoo tomorrow and have her figure out the entire trip. I’m kind of excited….