The ability to read real maps is one of the most important skills that children can develop as they grow up. It enhances their ability to appreciate and understand spatial phenomena in a more accurate and complete manner. Additionally, it improves their spatial thinking, which is a critical skill to have in the study of the Earth, geography, and environmental sciences.
However, in a digital world that we live in, more children are growing without learning how to properly read real maps. Instead, they are relying on digital maps for anything map related, therefore, missing on learning a critical skill. Herein we are going to explore how to teach kids to read cartographical maps.
Teach The Basics First: The Words Used
The process of teaching kids to use maps can start at any age. However, for really young kids you probably should start teaching kids how to use real maps by acquainting them with the words used in the use of maps. Start by using basic words such as ‘farther,’ ‘near,’ ‘next,’ and any other simple word. Thereafter, move on to other complex words increasing the complexity with the passage of time.
Teach The Kids How To Use Typical Real Maps
At the age of seven, you can start to teach children how to use typical cartographical maps. At this stage, kids’ abstract thinking start to develop. Thus they can easily understand maps and what is represented on the map.
Use simple maps to introduce kids to the legend and the symbols used in typical maps. With regards to symbols, explain the meaning of typical symbols and how significant they are in accurately depicting spatial feature on maps. Thereafter, introduce kids to the concept of map direction and the use of the compass rose found on maps.
With the passage of time, you can move on to other bigger, detailed, and more complex maps to ensure that they are challenged in as far as learning to use maps is concerned.