At one point of time, V wanted to visit the penguins in their natural environment (more on that in the following posts). We told her it was too far and cold there. She couldn’t understand, and ultimately, we had to pull out an atlas and show her the different habitats, distance between places, etc. She let the argument rest, but was fascinated with all the different countries and places.
When we took her on her first and only international trip, she was stoked to find some animals she hadn’t seen before, but the question of why they weren’t found everywhere remained. She joined the dots and figured the whole habitat-country connection. Also, the fact that when a relative visits a particular country or place, they bring back either a fridge magnet or animal soft toy from there, combined her 2 most loved animals and geography, and got her obsessed with this study.
We have doing plenty of study in this direction, and we started out with simple map and animal matching activities. The wonderful animal map is from Ekdali.
We then proceeded to learn the continent names, as given in the Usborne atlas. It was fascinating to know that the climate, flora and fauna differed in each of the continents. V knows that kangaroos are found only in the plains of Australia, penguins in the snow of Antarctica, and elephants, giraffes, etc in the grasslands of Africa. What she wonders now, is why we do not have snow in India and otherwise.
She also noticed some cultural aspects through our everyday books, like Inuit people wearing heavy coats, and Africans using slings to carry babies.
Using continent cards of different colours, with one colour depicting a particular continent, as used in montessori has helped us,too. For example, Africa is always green, Asia is always yellow, and so on.
Once she had the continents in place, she wanted to know more about the different countries. This puzzle from Imagimake is amazing for that, as she got to handle the individual countries, feel their size and shapes and gets to put them in place in their respective continents.
As of now, India, China and Australia are her favourite countries, and she is busy researching them. We hope to take her to these places eventually, but meanwhile, this will have to do. We plan to show her some documentaries and animated movies based in/on these countries, over summer as well. Will update the resources and progress here, once that is done.