Chinese New Year, Lincoln's birthday and Valentines Day occur in one week's time this year. That creates a great way to start using a map as part of any one or all three events.
Why a map?
Maps provide many ways to enhance learning. They show the physical features of our world, show country (or city and state) locations and help kids see distances and relationships across our world. Examples:
Chinese New Year
Locate China (on world map) or Chinese communities (USA map). Read about the celebration and why the Chinese New Year is now, not on January first. Discuss how their new year traditions differ from US traditions.
Use a USA map. Locate where Lincoln was born. Discuss what his daily life was like in the 'western lands' of his childhood. Talk about how our map has changed in the past 150 years (since he died), his influence on our country, etc.
Where did St. Valentine live? What was the world like back then? What countries celebrate Valentine's Day?
As you can tell, the map slides into looking up data from books, newspapers or internet sources. It becomes a great visual jumping-off point for further discussions. I know several families who post maps near their kitchen tables so their meal-time discussions include where as well as who, when and what. The world may seem to be shrinking, but so is our knowledge of country names and locations. Celebrate with a map. Keep in touch with the physical world beyond our neighborhoods.