Friday, 15 April 2011

World Map Puzzle

One of the things I like best about the Five in a Row curriculum is how it exposes you to such a wide range of books covering different countries, cultures and eras.  A Pair of Red Clogs transports the child to Japan, while How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World brings her to places as diverse as Vermont and Sri Lanka.  Emily is always asking me where these different countries are.  She also asks me to show her, on maps, where her US-based cousins live, where Venice is (the scene for Papa Piccolo, another FIAR book), where Barcelona is (we visited the city last year) and so on.

It therefore made sense for us to buy this Map of the World "Puzzle Doubles" kit, which is a 100-piece floor puzzle featuring a map of the world and some flags, as well as a colourful map which you can hang as a poster in the playroom or study. 

I asked Emily to place flashcards with the names of some of the cities and countries she is currently interested in at the relevant spots on the map.  I haven't shied away from teaching her the names of cities, and Emily seems to understand that Paris is in a country called France, while Barcelona is in Spain, and so on. 

We also looked for Singapore on the map and for the Singapore flag!

Putting the puzzle together is no mean feat.  Now I understand why this set was marked "for ages 5 and up"; it's tough for a young child to figure out which piece goes where, especially because the colours repeat themselves and there are large chunks of sea in between!  So we're tackling this puzzle in parts.  For each section (e.g. the part featuring flags), I worked with Emily to find the pieces for the section by looking for certain common features (e.g. flags or a blue border).  I then let Emily do that section of the puzzle herself using just the selected pieces.  This is Emily working on the Europe section of the map:

And this is what we managed to finish today:

I think we will get many happy learning hours from this puzzle set, and Emily seemed to enjoy the activity.  It was evident from today that she has started to recognise the flags of certain countries, mainly those we've worked on in our lapbooks, like Japan, Spain, Singapore and France, and she seems interested to learn more.  And that poster belongs on a wall in our house somewhere!  Now, I just need to figure out where to display it...

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