The kids are being taught countries in school. They go over National symbols, monuments currency (aargh) and some more such scary things apart from spotting them in the map.
For the sake of reinforcement and also for exercising their brain with new and different creative challenges, I searched for map based games. Here is what I found- map puzzles which have the option of countries with outline so that it is easy to place the pieces in the right slot. I was surprised how quickly the kids were able to spot the correct slots for even a tiny country like Taiwan and even remember the locations of some of the countries they had slotted. What I liked was that they developed their own mnemonics as they moved along- Russia looks like a dragon or Bangladesh looks like a palm tree.
These maps are downloadable and fun to do!
They had also done an adaptation of a lovely song in school which helped them recall the names of quite a few countries.
Like Me and You
Music by Raffi, D. Pike
© 1985 Homeland Publishing
From the album One light, One Sun
Janet lives in England, Pierre lives in France
Bonnie lives in Canada
Ahmed lives in Egypt, Moshe lives in Israel
Bruce lives in Australia,
Ching lives in China, Olga lives in Russia
Ingrid lives in Germany
Gita lives in India, Pablo lives in Spain
Jose lives in Colombia
Chorus: And each one is much like another
A child of a mother and a father
A very special son or daughter
A lot like me and you.
Koji lives in Japan, Nina lives in Chile
Farida lives in Pakistan
Zosia lives in Poland, Manuel lives in Brazil
Maria livers in Italy.
Kofi lives in Ghana, Rahim lives in Iran
Rosa lives in Paraguay
Meja lives in Kenya, Demetri lives in Greece
Sue lives in America.
I am also making them work sheets for the countries they are covering in school. And I was amazed that they could recall the design of the flags quite well and woulkd describe the colour and number of stars etc very easily later on. I plan to print out a world map and make them stick the flags of the places that they have learnt as they move along.
And may be look at something innovative like eat noodles the day they do China or wear a Hat the day they do South America.
Let us hope they find it fun. I do not want to burden them but just make learning a fun experience and make it as much possible as a game rather than something scary, dreary and tedious- something that should be avoided.
Coming back to my favourite topic- reading- I discovered a site that seems to be very interesting and systematic for teaching kids to read. This method called Bricks and mortar system follows a very step-by-step approach to learn words without trying to guess the pronunciation. I have not tried it yet but plan to print the disks out and try with the kids because I find they do a lot of guess work when they come across an unfamiliar word.
And here's something on time practice