Geography is about knowing where you are and making relationships between this and other locations. Try these out! Tweet me @totalgeography and @risingstarsedu with any discoveries you make! Look out from the FRONT of your house and look out the BACK and look out from a ROOF window if you can! A view with the birds is always really useful as a contrast!
What, from our window?
First: Look out of a window, or your balcony and use the alphabet to try to think of as many words as you can. Can you do better than me? eg. Arch, Balcony, Car, Drain, Edge, Frame, Gutter, House, Ice, Jeep, Kerb, Ledge...Roof, Sparrow, Wire. You can ask an older sibling or adult to help, and use an online or paper dictionary to help. Discuss if the things are living or non-living, how do you know?
Then: Perform and practice this list, record it on your computer or phone as though it is a geography poem. Relish the vocabulary and make actions for each one.
Get your children to read it with their sibling (ping/ pong the words, A for me, B for you) and then play a game where you see who can point to the objects quicker. If you can’t find a Q or Z find a pattern in the landscape which is this shape. Then you can do an A-Z shape spot!
Follow-Up: Consider using the WindowSwap website you can hear about here and you can do the same ideas through other people’s windows round the world. This gets addictive! See more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-53904883 You are likely to look up some of these locations in an atlas or on Google Maps after this.
Why is this geography?
Good geographical learning comes from observation and being able to spot patterns and processes in the landscape. The curriculum asks us to start local in the EYFS and KS1 curriculum. It is better to start local and promote “curiosity and fascination” (DfE, 2014) in the everyday first before children start to notice patterns in coastal or glaciated landscapes when they’re older. Prompt questions about how the houses, flats, gardens and views are like they are. You may have questions you can’t answer from this and might ask your neighbours!
What is the magic of materials?
First: Make a pair of geography glasses out of paper or card. See an example here of what they might look like or get creative and fold some paper/card and tear/cut holes in the middle. You are going to write what you see as you go round the house and make a list of what things are made of: wood, metal, glass, plastic, cardboard and (most importantly) mixed material objects. It is this last category you will start to notice a lot of.
When you are making your imaginative inventory of materials, if you have any old electronic equipment or an old mobile phone, you can take the back off and show the child (considering safety!) any circuitry and show them the complex weaving of materials modern electronics are. Then think, where did these things come from. Can they work out what is what? Could they draw what’s inside? If you can, use a book like or look at some of the articles on the Curious Kids site here that you could read them.
Then: Older children might be interested in this Royal Geographical Society resource on where the parts of a computer come from along with a map to mark them on!
Younger children might consider the short film Ducks Overboard a film based on a brilliant book called ‘How the World Works’ by Christiane Dorion which looks at plastic waste in particular.
Why is this geography?
Particularly between the ages of 7-11, human geography needs to be understood and this includes “economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy...minerals and water”. All of these are discussions about the story of things prompted by the building we live in and what we are surrounded by. Do consider showing children the huge port called London Gateway. So many of your household items came from around the world through a port just like this. There is a great time lapse video here and some images of the enormous ships, too.