Teach Geography with Games and Activities

Teaching geography to others can help them learn about locations, landmasses, and countries around the world. You may be teaching geography to students in a classroom or to your kids at home. Learning about geography can be more than reciting the capitals or studying maps. Use geography games and activities to show others how fun and engaging learning about geography can be.


Playing Geography Games

  1. Play the “world teach and tumble” game. To play this fun game, you will need a blow up world map ball and a list of cities or countries in the world on playing cards. Have students roll the ball to find the city or country listed on the card.[1]
    • You can also have students call out a specific city or country and roll the ball to another student. The other student can then locate the city or country on the world map ball.
  2. Do landform bingo. This game is a fun way for students to learn about landforms around the world. Print out pictures of landforms from all over the world, such as glaciers in Antarctica or the Rocky Mountains in Canada. Then, make bingo cards for students that have the image of each landform. Call out the names of each landform and show them to students so they can mark them off on their bingo cards.[1]
    • The winner of the Bingo game may be given a small geography-related prize.
    • You can also play this game with the U.S. states or the continents.
  3. Play map twister. This is a fun, interactive game that can be played by four to five people at a time. Make a large map out of non-slip material or use a map made of rough foam. Then, have students pick out a card with the name of a country. They will have to place their arms or legs on the selected country.[1]
    • The map twister keeps going until someone falls over or gets too tangled up to make any further moves on the map.
  4. Use geography board games. There are many geography board games on the market, made for a range of age levels and educational levels. Some board games focus on U.S. states or famous landmarks around the world. Some games have participants quiz each other on world capitals and landmasses.[2]
    • Look for geography board games online or at your local toy store.
    • Go for geography board games made for your students’ age range, such as games for age 3 and up for pre-schoolers or games for 12 to 14 year olds for kids in middle school.
  5. Have students play online geography games. There are also a lot of geography games that students can play online using a computer. These geography games challenge students to use their knowledge of geography to solve problems and get clues to win.[3]
    • Search for online geography games that will suit the age range of your students.
    • You may also look for online games that focus on specific aspects of geography, such as land masses, capitals, or longitude and latitude.

Doing Mapping Activities

  1. Create a paper globe or a large map. Have students create their own world globes out of paper mache. Give them strips of newspaper, water with glue, and a balloon. They can then use colored paints to draw land, water, borders, and land masses on the globe.[4]
    • For a less messy alternative, you can have students create a large map on white paper using colored paper or markers.
  2. Identify favorite foods on a map. Use a large map or world globe to get students to do mapping activities, such as identifying where their favorite foods come from. For example, if a student likes tacos, they may identify Mexico on the map. If the student likes pizza, they may identify Italy on the map.[5]
    • You can also have students research the most common foods in a certain area on the map, such as popular foods in India or common foods in South Korea.
  3. Note famous landmarks on a map. Ask students to find famous landmarks like the Great Wall or Stonehedge on the map or globe. Make a list of famous landmarks all over the world and hand the list out to students so they can find them all.[5]
    • This can also be turned into a fun game where students compete to identify all the famous landmarks around the world first. They can do this independently or in teams.
  4. Identify where students are from. Use a large map or world globe to get students to identify where they are from. As a fun extra challenge, you may ask students to identify where their parents or guardians are from on the map.[5]
  5. Get students to create mini maps of their hometown. This is a fun activity that students can do independently. Give the students supplies like paper, colored pencils, and highlighters. Then, ask them to draw a map of their hometown or their neighborhood. Get them to label major landmarks, streets, roads, and key locations on the map.[1]
    • This is a fun activity to do if you have students that come from different areas or a variety of different places. At the end of the activity, you may have each student present their mini map to the group and discuss each element they put on the map.
  6. Have students plot their birthday coordinates. Start by presenting a large map to the students. Then, have them write down their birthday date and month. They will then use the month for latitude and the day for longitude. Have students plot their birthday coordinates on the map.[6]
    • For example, if a student’s birthday is December 4, the coordinates would be 12 degrees N, 4 degrees East.
    • Students can also make four sets of coordinates for their birthday, using the north or south latitude and the east or west longitude.
    • Ask students to name the location of their birthday coordinates and then consider, what would it be like to live in the location? Have they traveled to the location before? Would they like to travel there?
  7. Do the neighborhood map activity. Have students create a map of their neighborhood without using key map elements like a compass rose, any place labels, or a labeling key. Let them draw the map on a piece of paper. Then, have them give the map to another student so they can use the map to reach a particular destination.[6]
    • If the students are under 10 years old, they may need to be accompanied by an adult during the activity.
    • After the activity is over, ask the students if they found it difficult to use the map to get to the destination and if so, why?
    • This activity should prompt students to think about the importance of map elements when using a map.

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