Mapmaking is such an exciting project for children. Not only are your children learning the geography of India in a much more memorable way than fill in the blank maps, but they are 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 India.
Materials: watercolor paper (we use 11 x 17) waterproof India ink pen, watercolors, colored pencils, an atlas or computer for reference maps
(Prepare a cutout in the shape of India by outlining India and cutting it out for your children to trace around- or they can freehand draw India on their maps)
Begin by looking at an atlas and ask your children to locate India on the world map. Make a note that it is on the Asian continent. Then look at a map of India. Notice bordering countries and name them out loud. Ask your children if they can find the capital of India (New Delhi).
Have your children make an outline of India on their paper that includes the surrounding land. In other words, don’t make it look like an island. It is important that children know which regions border water or land.
Have your children outline all land around India with the India ink pen. They don’t need to outline any other countries’ borders unless you want them to. Have them label India and locate the capital city of New Delhi and label it. Now have them watercolor India any color they want, the surrounding land grey to show that we are not focusing on it, and the oceans blue.
Oceans, Seas, Rivers, and Lakes:
Use this map or your atlas to name the oceans and seas bordering India (Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal).
The largest and most famous river in India is the Ganges. Use this map or your atlas to locate the Ganges. Have your children draw it and label it on their maps in blue colored pencil.
Meeting the Ganges is the Yamuna river. Have your children locate it and then draw and label it on their maps.
Another large river in India is the Godavari. Ask your children to locate it and then draw and label it on their maps.
Note: India has many rivers and, if your children want to, they are welcome to add more.
Use this map to find the major mountain ranges in India (Himalayas, Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Satpura, Vindhyas, Patkai). Have your children mark them on their maps by using upside down V’s and labeling.
Kangchenjunga is the largest mountain in India. It is near the border between India and Nepal. Find it on the map and have your children label it on their maps by drawing a colored in triangle.
Use this map or your atlas to label a few of India’s major cities on your map. Include Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Agra, Calcutta, and Bangalore.
Add a compass rose to your map and a map key, and you are finished!