a kids map

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printable map activity

Exploring Travel Maps with Kids and a Printable Map Activity

Have your kids ever used a travel map? I know it’s a silly question, but in today’s world with GPS, maps and atlases aren’t as common. Reading maps is a skill kids should learn even with all the technology surrounding them. At the bottom of this post is a cute printable map activity inspired by a recent family vacation.

Creating Memories with Family Travel

When I was little my family often took road trips from the Seattle area down the coast on Highway 101. Most times we stopped in Oregon, staying in a rented house near the beach. The house had a huge window facing the ocean and us kids loved to watch the spring storms bring wind and rain to the shore. 

A few times we went through Oregon and down the California coast stopping at different tourist attractions on our way. We went to see the famous Chandelier Tree that is so big cars can drive though the base. We stopped in San Francisco and saw the Golden Gate Bridge and toured Alcatraz. One time we even went all the way to Disneyland. That trip was my favorite one of all.

Each time we traveled we’d use our atlas to plan the route. The 101 was highlighted in yellow on the worn pages, showing each stop we had taken on previous trips. 

Recently I decided to take my own Kids on a Road Trip

All the way down Highway 101 my GPS droned on about how many miles we had to go, which exit to take, and calculating the route. We made it to the famous Chandelier Tree and stopped off at the gift shop before returning to our car. 

I told my kids they could pick anything as a souvenir as long as it had a reasonable price. My preschool aged son was having a hard time deciding. Should he add to his rock collection? Pick a magnet to display on our refrigerator? After looking through the entire shop he decided on his souvenir. A travel map.

I asked him repeatedly if he was sure this was what he wanted. Yes, he needed to have that map. Let me tell you, it was the best souvenir ever.

My oldest daughter picked out a bamboo flute. She was bored with it a day later.

My youngest daughter picked out a necklace that she broke while we were traveling.

My oldest son got a book that he has read twice.

But the map was used by my youngest son for the rest of the trip. He looked at the photographs included on the map of places we had already stopped to see and he planned out what we should do next on our trip.

He had no idea what he was looking at, but to him it was important.

Maps are exciting and interesting. We just forget sometimes because we grew up seeing them and find our maps app to be more convenient. 

Teaching Kids about Maps

Map Topics

  • Explain the different directions and show them on the map 
  • Point out familiar roads, or unique road names
  • Find the difference between different symbols in the map key
  • Plan an imaginary route on your map

Printable Map Activity for Kids

You can get your printable map activity My Imaginary Road Trip Here: Kids Map Activity Printable

Looking for more activities for Kids about Maps? 

printable map activity

Build Excitement for a Disneyland Vacation from Crafty Mama in ME

How Maps Change Case study: Boston’s Boundaries over time from Boston Kid Friendly

How Kids Can Create Sketch Maps for the Outdoors from FrogMom

Map Books for Young Explorers from Brain Power Boy

Map Skills for Kids from Schooling a Monkey

Map Books for Children: Intro to Maps from The Jenny Evolution

Continents and Countries Olympic Sort from Planet Smarty Pants

Maps Unit for Preschoolers from Bambini Travel

3 Free Puzzles to Make Learning the Continents Fun from Books and Giggles

Geocaching for Kids from Parenting Chaos

Map Activities for Kids: France, England, Ireland {Printables} from The Natural Homeschool

Types of Maps from Soil & Water Conservation District from Something 2 Offer

Around the World Fun for Kids: Exploring Architecture from Artsy Momma

Using Maps as an Idea for Art Projects from Our Daily Craft

Making a Salt Dough Map from Tales of Education at Home

 

 

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