September 11, 2012

A Practical Way to Teach Kids Where They Live

Teach Kids Geography

"Are you sure you don't want me to take her?" I ask my mom while out shopping. My daughter was only 3, but even at 3 she was stubbornly independent, and she needed a bathroom. My mom insisted she could handle taking her right down the hall to use the restroom. But about 10 minutes later, my mom showed up wide eyed with a creased forehead and without my daughter! In that time she had managed to get away to look at something that distracted her I imagine, but what if she couldn't find her way back? We were over an hour from home, and she didn't know our address, not even the city! My heart beat wildly as my eyes darted around for her. Then suddenly, she walked up like nothing happened and stated, "I need to potty." It all ended well, but what if, what if....

It was definitely time for these independent girls to learn where they belonged should they ever need help getting back here! 

Now I could have just taught them our address, so many times it seems that even with their address memorized, kids don't know the meaning of the words. How easy is it to confuse country and county, and not every street is called street. I wanted something to clarify the terms while teaching the girls where they lived. I decided to use Location Nesting Boxes to illustrate the terms while teaching them their address. 

Teach Kids Where They Live

How to Make Your Own Location Nesting Boxes


1. To start with you need to decide how many locations you want to teach. We broke ours into planet, continent, country, state, county, city, street, and house. 

2. Next, you will need a set of nesting containers like these with rainbow lids or these for only 6 locations. Since they nest, storage takes up much less space. 

3. Find some images to use for each box. I used 2 images for each box, one on the outside and one on the inside (more on this later). 

4. Tape images to the outside of boxes using clear packing tape. Cover them completely for maximum durability!

5. Laminate images for the inside of boxes. 

6. Introduce them to the kids! I chose to introduce the location boxes while they were stacked starting with the largest, and then I allowed the girls to nest them together on their own to see how the smaller locations fit within the larger location rather than being a completely separate and unrelated thing.

A Look Inside the Location Nesting Boxes


I mentioned earlier that I had used 2 pictures for each box. On the outside of each container I taped a picture of the whole location, but on the inside I placed a laminated picture that showed the details of that particular location.

For example, the largest box was the planet we live on, earth, so an image of the earth is on the outside, but on the inside I added a laminated picture that showed the parts of the earth, oceans and continents.

Location Nesting Box Teach Kids Where They Live

 Likewise, for the continent box I zoomed in on North America, but on the inside divided North America into countries. So the boxes lead to the smaller boxes rather than appearing like unrelated land masses.

Teach Kids Geography

So again for the country box I taped an image on the United States, but put a map with all the states labeled on the inside.

Geography for Kids

I continued this until we got to the smallest box which would be our house number. I placed a picture on our house on the outside and inside I placed a laminated piece of paper with our address and phone number.

Both the pictures taped to the outside as well as the laminated pictures on the inside have held up well to little hands as well as little feet knocking them over. And the nesting ability allows me to sit them on a shelf in an orderly fashion!

Geography for Kids

4 Ways to Play 



  • As I said above, I introduced the boxes by starting with the planet. I explained that we live on earth, and it is made of land called continents. Then I showed them the continent box and repeated with North America. I showed them all the boxes being sure to use the terms I wanted them to learn. This we repeated often until I could ask them what the pictures were and they could tell me.

  • We also practiced nesting them inside each other. I showed them how houses were on streets, and streets made up cities all the way down to continents making up the land of earth. This was easier for them to practice together since once they knew the words they could simple use single words to describe each box. 

  • Another thing they enjoyed was stacking the boxes. If they stacked them correctly they would have all the locations in order from largest to smallest giving a great visual that they could go through and label. 

  • Being the creative kids they are, they made up their own game as well. It involved removing all the inside pictures and then trying to match them back up with the boxes. 


But Did It Work? 


After much repetition, they learned their address as well as their state, country, continent, and planet. Ok, they may have already know the planet. They still have some trouble with the county, but I am sure they will get it in time. I do think the visual of each smaller piece being part of the larger piece helped their understanding which made it easier for them to remember what was what. I think that is a big part of the battle when teaching kids. You can say, you live in the state of Missouri, but none of those words have any meaning. But when you can show the state and how the states form a country, and a continent, and the world, that means something. 

And them knowing their address means a little extra piece of mind for me just in case of "what if!"

Now that the kids know where they live, you can expand and teach them the other continents with our Continent Hop

Follow along, so you don't miss a post! 

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32 comments:

  1. Now that is a fabulous idea! My kids are having the hardest time figuring out how we are in our state, as well as our county. haha And I LOVE those containers. Thanks so much for linking up to Tip toe thru Tuesday. I hope we see you next week.

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    1. Thanks and thanks for hosting! I love seeing what everyone comes up with!

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  2. What a fun hands on idea for learning their location in the world! I have pinned this onto my geography board. Thank you for linking up this week to my Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop!

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    1. Thank you for visiting and hosting the blog hop!

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  3. This is such a fun, clever idea for teaching about expanding horizons! Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a GREAT weekend,
    Beth =-)

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  4. I love the way you did this!! I used to teach 1st grade and this concept is so hard and abstract for young learners. I used to do something similar with stacking cups, but I love how you took it a step further with the pictures for inside and outside the containers! Brilliant. I will have to remember this for my boys! Thanks for sharing! Visiting you from Show and Share Sat.
    Trina
    http://teachingmyblessings.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks for visiting! I hope your boys enjoy it!

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  5. Oh wow these are incredible! I can see so many possibilities with this idea. I'm going to have to try something similar with my boys. Thank you for sharing with The Sunday Showcase!

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    1. Thank you! I am pretty happy with how they turned out. I definitely think the concept could be applied to several things. Thanks for hosting!

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  6. very cool idea to explain where you are! Love it!

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  7. What a great idea!! I love it!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

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  8. Love this idea! Nice twist on the Me on the Map activities out there! Well done, mama!!

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    1. Thanks! I really need to find this book "Me on the Map" everyone is talking about! Sounds like a good one!

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  9. I love this idea. I teach first grade and I know this will make a difference. My 6th grader is helping me and she is excited because it helps her SEE the differencs. Where did you find your pictures and about what size works best? Thanks for sharing.
    I already have the tubs so I'm ready to put it into action!!!!

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    1. I just grabbed the images off a google image search. I gauged the picture size based on the tub size, so they get smaller along with the tubs. My largest picture is about 4 inches by 4 inches and my smallest is about 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches. I hope they turn out great for you!

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  10. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

    Charlotte

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  11. Awesome idea! This would help students above 1st grade too! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Not sure how I missed this comment, but thanks so much for visiting!

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  12. I love this! I'm a homeschooling mom. This will be perfect for teaching my kindergartener and 3rd grader. I have looked and am having trouble finding seven nesting containers with lids. Where did you find yours?

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    1. I just found mine at Walmart! It wasn't too long ago, so they may still have them. Thanks for visiting!

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  13. Thanks for this idea, I may use it to teach time, if you don't mind.

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    1. If you use it I would appreciate you referencing this site as the source. Thank you!

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  14. I just bought these at walmart!!!!! So excited to make them!! Thanks for sharing such a brilliant teaching strategy!!!!!!

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    1. Glad you can still find them! They are so fun and colorful for this project! Hope your kids love it!

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  15. Could you possibly email me the pictures files you used? I'd like to use this with my 4th graders and I just purchased the same exact tubs you did! This is such a wonderful idea!

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    1. I'm afraid I didn't keep them. I just did a Google Image search though, so I would try that!

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  16. I would love to know what you pictures you put in each level of the containers!

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    1. I just went to google and looked up the place I needed. Then I chose from one of the images. For our house I used a picture I had at home, but I probably could have printed out the street view of google maps as well.

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