Geography Educational Resources
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
The current environment means that nearly every child in the world is schooling from home. I shared many of my family's favorite geography educational resources at the 2017 annual meeting of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS). I have also presented geographic topics at homeschool conferences for both teens (How Maps Lie; Maps and the Scriptures) and adults (Without Geography, You're Nowhere). Those presentations are filled with resources and information, and I wanted to encapsulate some of our favorites here.
Have geography resources you love? Let me know, and I will add it!
(Full disclosure: I provide links to Amazon as an aide to you, and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Many of these can be obtained through other sources, such as your local library!)
I've put together a series of printable maps of both the US and the world.
worksheetworks.com This website has many free country- and state-level fill-in-the-blank maps that are customizable.
National Geographic MapMaker 1-Page Maps Great tool to create quick, printable, black-and-white maps with various layers. (Requires Flash)
Map Exploration and Games
Google Maps Our children spend hours exploring the earth with Google Maps. They've even taken their own virtual road trips using StreetView.
Google Earth Google now has a web-based Google Earth platform that includes games as well as a desktop platform that has increased functionality. I love the aerial imagery time slider. You can see what your neighborhood looked like decades ago!
Geoguessr This is a web-based game where you are dropped into a Google StreetView scene and you have to use context clues to guess where you are. The closer you are, the more points you get.
The True Size Of... An fun exploratory website to help understand the some map projections distort area. You can highlight a state or country and move it around the world to see how it compares in size to other places.
Hard-Copy Maps and Atlases
World atlas (lots of options, but Goode's World Atlas is the standard student atlas in academia; the big ones are really nice to have on-hand, if your budget can afford it: National Geographic, Oxford, The Times)
Children’s atlas (we’ve really liked the now-out-of-print The Reader’s Digest Children’s Atlas of the World)
Road atlas (Rand McNally is my favorite)
Large world wall map (equal-earth.com has some great free, detailed, downloadable world maps both political and physical)
Large US wall map (highly recommend The Essential Geography of the United States of America, imusgeographics.com)
Hand-drawn map of North America. You'll fall in love as soon as you see it.
Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller; children's picture book
Train of States by Peter Sis; children's visual reference book
How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein; just what it says: an interesting and informative treatise about how each state got its shape. Lots of maps!
How to Lie with Maps by Mark Monmonier; great for teens to understand how maps work
Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics by James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti. A beautiful book with some astounding maps and other visualizations.
Maphead by Ken Jennings
Maps and Geography: Junior Genius Guide by Ken Jennings
USA board puzzle (if you can find it, I highly recommend Ryan’s Room USA Map Puzzle)
Map jigsaw puzzles (for example, this illustrated world puzzle)
Scrambled States of America (card game that goes along with the book)
Global Pursuit (old National Geographic board game)
Five-State Rummy (School Zone Publishing)