There are days when I feel extremely confident that navigation technology was created specifically with me in mind. As an adult with a terrible “sense of direction”, I’m motivated to raise my children to read and understand a map. In addition to it helping them get from point A to point B when they’re lost and their cell phone battery dies, map reading is an important tool for building a child’s spatial reasoning skills.
Dr. Nora Newcombe, a Professor of Psychology at Temple University describes spatial thinking as “seeing in the mind’s eye”. Spatial skills are what allow us to “picture” the locations of objects, their shapes, their relations to each other and the paths they take as they move.” Maps support spatial thinking by helping children visualize where objects, places, cities, and countries are in relation to one another. Quite literally, maps help them figure out their place in the world.
Author: Gail Hartman
Illustrator: Harvey Stevenson
Age Group: 3-8
Maps- they help you get to where you want to go. But what about the crow? What kind of map does he use? Come follow 5 different animals as they show you their favorite ways to go.Purchase the Book Online
Author: Tish Rabe
Illustrator: Aristides Ruiz
Age Group: 4-8
The Cat in the Hat introduces beginning readers to maps–the different kinds (city, state, world, topographic, temperature, terrain, etc.); their formats (flat, globe, atlas, puzzle); the tools we use to read them (symbols, scales, grids, compasses); and funny facts about the places they show us (“Michigan looks like a scarf and a mitten! Louisiana looks like a chair you can sit in!”).Purchase the Book Online
Author: Alfredo Schifini
Age Group: 3-7
This is such a great book for helping kids understand their place in the world. It begins with the statement “This is me” and builds the concept through “my room,” “my house,” “my street,” and on to town, state, country and the world. Then it goes backwards until it concludes with “…everybody has their own special place on the map. Just like me.”Purchase the Book Online
Author: Loreen Leedy
Age Group: 5-8
Lisa’s class is learning how to make maps. The teacher says they can make maps of anyplace, so Lisa starts with her bedroom. She includes all the things that people will need to read the map, such as a scale and a key to the symbols she has used.
Next Lisa makes a map of her dog Penny’s world. Making maps is so much fun that Lisa and Penny decide to visit some of the exotic places that they’ve drawn-but they won’t forget to take a map along!Purchase the Book Online
Author: David Elliot
Age Group: 4-8
Henry is a pig who believes “A place for everything and everything in its place”. But when he looks out his window he is troubled. The farm is a mess! So he draws a map showing all the animals exactly where they belong. And Henry embarks on a journey through the farm, his friends tagging along as he creates his map.Purchase the Book Online
Author: Scot Ritchie
Age Group: 4-7
Follow That Map! is an interactive picture book that explains and demonstrates key mapping concepts. Kids will enjoy following Sally and her friends as they search for Max and Ollie, a mischievous dog and cat on the lam from the backyard.Purchase the Book Online
Take a treasure hunt!
Step 1 – Have your child select a special toy to be the “treasure” and have them hide it in your home.
Step 2 – Have you child draw a map of the home, with an “X” where the treasure is hidden.
Step 3 – Have your child draw a dotted line from the treasure to the front door of your home.
Bonus if your child can give the map to another parent, friend or sibling to have them use it to find the treasure.