Mapmaking is such an exciting project for children. Not only is your child learning the geography of England in a much more memorable way than fill in the blank maps, but she is learning a historic art form. I find that my children truly learn and retain their geography when they create their own maps, as they are having a visual, kinesthetic, and artistic experience while learning the geography of the region. Here is how we approached mapping England.
Materials: A cutout of Great Britain for your child to trace, (I made ours by tracing a map and cutting it out) a piece of watercolor paper, watercolors, waterproof India ink pen, colored pencils, and an atlas or computer.
1. Look at a map of The United Kingdom. If you completed our Ireland block study, then ask your children to find Ireland on the map. Then bring their attention to the large island east of Ireland. Tell them that the Island is called Great Britain. Then explain that we call Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom.
2. Have them point to and name all the countries in The United Kingdom; Scotland, England, Wales, and then remind them that Northern Ireland is a part of The United Kingdom.
3. Give your child a large (11 x 14) piece of watercolor paper and the cut-out you have prepared of The United Kingdom. (Actually just of Great Britain- we will sketch in Northern Ireland)
4. Have your child hold the cut-out on his watercolor paper and carefully trace around it with a pencil.
5. Then have your child use an india ink black pen to trace the outline. (It is waterproof) Erase the pencil marks
6. Now notice the borders on the map between the countries. Have your child draw in the borders.
7. To the west, sketch in Northern Ireland and use india ink to make it permanent.
8. Label your map “The United Kingdom”
9. Label all the countries as well as Northern Ireland
10. Watercolor each country a different color and watercolor the oceans blue.
Day 2: Oceans, Seas, and Rivers of England
1. On your atlas, locate the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, and The Irish Sea and have your child label them on her map.
2. Explain what a channel is and find St. George’s Channel and the English Channel and label them.
3. Explain what a Strait is, then find the Strait of Dover and label it.
4. Label the main rivers in England: If your atlas doesn’t have a clear river map of England, use this link and this link to find the most significant rivers. There are so many rivers in England, so don’t feel you have to label all of them.
Day 3: Mountains and Hills of England
1. Using this link to label the major mountain ranges and hills of England. Use little upside down Vs to symbolize mountains and small arches to symbolize hills.
Day 4: Major Cities of England
Use this link to label a few major cities in England. (London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham.) You don’t have to label all major cities.
Day 5: Interesting Places
1. Find your favorite places from the first video on the map and label them with a little drawn icon.
2. Label Stonehenge after watching the video about Stonehenge. Add a little drawn icon.
3. After reading Robin Hood, draw a little green Robin Hood hat next to Nottingham.
1. Make a map key
2. Make a compass rose