Friday, January 25, 2013

Road Maps

Talk about flying by the seat of my pants!  Here the boys are working with a new material I made while they ate breakfast this morning.  Last night Kal-El announced that he was interested in learning "all of the streets" and how to use them to get places.  I should have taken him more seriously than I did because he was demanding to "see what you made me while I was sleeping" first thing this morning.  Umm...I work Thursday nights until 9 p.m. so....nothing?

So, while they ate their usual marathon breakfast I printed out some maps, trimmed them and taped them together.  I used because it was the only source I could find quickly that would print me a full page of map as opposed to a quarter page of map with an ad and a "notes" box on it (grrr).

I made them a map of the nine square miles surrounding our house.  This was a chunk of the city that contained most of our usual stomping grounds.  It also represents the section of the city they have travelled frequently by bike.  I think I printed the map on a total of 12 pages or so and taped them together.  Afterward, I labelled or circled some of the important "landmarks": our house, the school where they go to cub scout meetings, a few parks, the community center where we vote, the chiropractor, barber shop, library, bank, grocery store, a few favorite restaurants, the bike trail, and the railroad tracks.  I would love to show you some close-ups of the map, but you know how I am about that type of thing (for example, I didn't actually name my children Kal-El and Me Too).

I noticed this week that Kal-El had begun ignoring the stamp game grid under the glass of the work table in our school room.  I slipped that out and slipped the new map under the glass instead.  I also set out two little cars (they are actually beads for stringing).  The boys have had a blast planning errands and discovering multiple routes to familiar locations.

Kal-El then informed me "just so you know...I am also really interested in the highways and freeways and there aren't any on this map.  I popped back onto to and printed out a single-page map that covered a larger area so he could see the freeways that he is familiar with.  I labelled that map with some of his favorite locations that are further afield such as relatives houses and violin lessons.  To go with it I pulled out a couple of regular Rand McNally maps of our state and our metropolitan area for him to explore.

My next step is to follow up with some works in the style of the Scholastic book Marvelous Map Activities for Young Learners as I saw it done on Early Learning with Marta and Eaton, thank goodness I pinned her post.  However, I haven't even bought the book yet (I can't decide if I should, or if I should just make some command cards to go with the map I already made) so if anyone has any links or ideas for other things we can do along these lines I would be eternally grateful. Montessori Monday


  1. I really like how you made this work relevant to their surroundings! A nice way to learn to navigate your own city. I remember the first time I had to ride the city bus and getting lost in my own neighborhood at 17!

    The Marvelous Maps is a winner. I forgot about this, I used this when I homeschooled Ken for first grade.

    I am always learning something new everytime I visit your blog!

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. I love the line "see what you made me while I was sleeping" - he has such confidence in his mom :) Legoboy knows it always takes me longer than I say, so he has been letting know things "way ahead so you have plenty of time, mama" ;)

    I did something similar with him - printing out the local maps and mounting on posterboard. I had him help me locate places though; then we marked them.

    I have a United States atlas that was originally an 8 1/2 x 11 book, separated at the binding with the pages inserted in page protectors. Whenever we travel, I have him use a dry-erase marker to mark our route; then use a different color to indicate if we know particular locations we'll be stopping - sometimes another color to show the general vicinity of where we'll likely be stopping for gas. The atlas has mile markers noted at the exits, so he can follow along. I leave it to HIS responsibility to use the bathroom when we stop because he now knows how long it takes to move across an inch of paper at that map:earth ratio.

    I then printed our local nearby city so that when we have errands, he can map the entire route on the sheet protector. On the paper itself, we've marked our typical locations so when we need to go somewhere new (especially if it has more than one location) we can compare and see how to change our route or which location would be best for us to use. It has a couple of black spots where we've decided we won't be returning to some locations - too easy to get lost or just not our "side of town." ;)

    I wonder if there is a good kids book or a video available for explaining the interstate system, its numbering system and its history. I've gone over a bit of that with Legoboy when he's been interested, but never looked for a resource on it... Hm. Off to do an internet search ;)

  3. Looks like great interesting, engaging, and practical work by your boys (as always)! I am curious (nosy) about what you do for work until 9 PM. I sometimes look for stay-at-home part-time work, but it's kind of difficult to find well-paying work of that sort (for me at least.)

  4. Kylie,

    I have a PhD in Music so I teach music lessons :)

  5. Aha! That must work out nicely.

    Thanks for sharing with a nosy person :)

  6. Loved this post! Thanks for the website reference. I tried to do all kinds of photoshop tricks to resize the google map of our area to a workable size, nothing worked. I am off now to print now!