Young Map Makers

by Steve Bennett

Help your child plot a path and write out a route to school.

For: Kids 6 to 10

Required: Drawing materials

Before the start of school, walk or drive to school with your children, and have them jot down the names of the streets you travel, landmarks you pass, friends' houses you see, and the like. Once you've returned home, gather map-making supplies (art paper, markers, stickers, and so on). Then, ask your junior cartographers to make a map depicting their routes to school and the most important things they'll see on the way.

You and your kids might want to explore -- and map -- several alternative routes to school. Try drawing the longest route, the most interesting, the zaniest, etc. Then, have your kids compare maps and see who finds the most interesting shortcuts, sidetrips, and so on.

As a variation, you can have your kids draw maps for traveling to relatives' or friends' homes, their favorite vacation destinations, or even distant countries. It's all in a day's work for a professional mapmaker!

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