Isn't it amazing how we sometimes take our surroundings for granted? How many times have you walked around your block and never noticed a certain tree or house or fire hydrant! This is a super activity for promoting observation skills as well as teaching mapping skills.
Ages four and up
- Pad of paper (or paper on a clipboard)
- Large piece of paper or oaktag
- Stickers (optional)
- Decide with your child what area in your neighborhood you would like to map out. You may first want to take a drive around to determine how much of the area you want to map.
- Once you have decided where to go, take your pad or clipboard and a pencil and walk through the streets. Begin sketching out an initial map. Let your child point out different things like how many houses are on the block, where are there trees? Does a particular road curve sharply? Jot down your child's comments on the initial map.
- When you return home, using a ruler and pencil, sketch out the map of the roads on larger paper or oaktag. If your child is old enough, he or she can trace over your pencil lines with a marker. Refer to your child's notes and sketch houses or trees or cars or mailboxes or fire hydrants, etc. in the appropriate places. Label street names. Indicate which houses your friends live in. If you are not certain about something, make a list and plan to return to the spot or area.
- Come up with a title for your map such as, "Nathan's Neighborhood" and write that at the top. Your child can color the map or create a border with stickers.
- When you have completed your map, you can play a game with older children. Ask them to determine where they would be if they walked from their front door, turned left on Main Street, right on Elm Street, left on Broad Way, right on Spruce Drive. Make up different directions or let your child challenge you to determine where you are!
- Hang the map up for handy reference!