In this age of Google Maps and GPS-enabled cars, the basic skill of reading a map might seem unnecessary, but the reality is that you have to be able to read a map, or how will you ever get to Starbucks after the solar flares knock out our satellites?!?
Kids love to read maps — maps lead to buried treasure and new worlds! Map reading is an important life skill, and it’s also a fun one to teach to your little ones. Children can start to comprehend what a map represents around the age of 7 or 8. You could make a map of your backyard, and help them to relate the markings on the drawing to the physical counterparts in the yard. Show them which direction is North, South, East and West, by showing them a compass rose and how it relates to the path of the sun. Once you have the basic concepts down, try going on a scavenger hunt throughout your house and yard.
For older kids, you might go beyond the backyard and into the neighborhood or on a hike in the woods. When you go on vacation, you can show them on a map where they will go and explain distances in relative terms — “school is five miles away, Disney is 500 miles.”
Maps are an incredible tool, and being able to read one and comprehend its elements is a valuable skill, so help your child be prepared for the onslaught of those solar flares, and teach him how to read a map today!