Have you ever watched the Original Video of Lilly: The World Map Master--a two year old who knows the world map? She's got it down! (press mute ‘til you get past any foul ad at the beginning)
After watching the adorable little video clip of the two-year old knowing the locations of even the remotest and smallest of countries "whiz-bang" and your children are now thoroughly inspired to gain such a grasp of the world themselves...you could proceed like this:
They all stand in front of the map—have them clasp their hands above their heads, arms outstretched—and say this little poem to learn directions while they swing their arms in those directions, like an elephant's trunk. Everyone says it together:
When facing a map
Directions are a snap.
North is way up high [trunk points to ceiling]
South is cold and low [drop trunk low]
East is to my right [trunk swings to right]
and west is opposite, you know [trunk swings to left]
Then go around once more, hands still clasped, arms outstretched, making a clockwise circle:
Now onto teaching the equator:
Draw a strong permanent wide red line all the way across the center of the map at the equator. The children step up to the map and tap it twice (like it is a hot potato) and say: "Equator—hot! hot!"
Then progress over the next few days with learning....
the seven continents; they all begin with "A" but one!
- America (N)
- America (S)
Have them point to and saw them until they can do it rapidly with no help.
Next, draw a line on the floor—or masking tape a line there, far away from the map—and line the children up by twos and have them run in teams of two to the map and slam into the wall, pointing to the country you name. See who can get there first. Children absolutely love this game.
Then proceed to the four major oceans:
- Southern (the waters surrounding Antarctica)
Then proceed to the major rivers:
- Thames (London)
- Yangtze (China)
- Seine (France)
Then proceed to more and more countries until the entire map is eventually known. Tis a great after-dinner lively fun/learning family game.