Fun and easy map activities for kids that teach map skills and help kids learn about locations of places that they regularly visit.
It is important for kids to not only learn about the world around them, but also to be able to read maps. You never know when you won’t have cell phone service and might need to use a paper map.
Map activities for kids
Here are some fun map activities to do with your kids that are educational too.
Note: I originally wrote this article for a website called Rusty and Rosy, however, that website is now offline so I have moved my content over here.
Have them hide a special treasure in the house or yard and create a map of where it can be found; make sure they create a legend of special things such as stairs or a tree.
Local area map
Create maps of how to get to and from school or other places they regularly visit. Mark the streets that they cross, traffic lights, and other landmarks. Have them draw pictures of things that they have seen on the way. Check out the fun street map craft we recently made for one of the grandkids to drive his toy cars on.
Take a paper map with you and have the kids draw things on the map that they have seen on the hike, such as pretty birds or flowers. Alternatively, use a map on your smartphone so you can check the route you are taking, how many steps you’ve taken, and other information. Allow the kids time to study these maps. Show them where they are on the map and where they will be going, and point out things that they might see along the way.
House map activities for kids
Have your child create a map of your home. Older children can measure each room and re-create it to scale; younger children will enjoy drawing each room and adding in features such as beds and toys. This can be a safety lesson too. Mark escape routes, where a house phone may be, basement, or windows with ladders.
For your next play-date or birthday party, plan a scavenger hunt. Give each child a list of items to collect, draw, or photograph, such as finding information on a sign, looking for leaves of different colors, or spotting a particular bird or plant.
Geocaching with kids
This is like a treasure hunt on a much bigger scale and is great fun for the whole family. The kids will get to explore a new area, read maps, and find (and leave) a treasure on their adventure. Check out the Where’s Waldo geocaching day we had.
On your next road trip take photos of landmarks or fun things that you saw. Print the photos as wallet size when you get home and stick them onto the map. You can hang the map on the wall, or keep a collection of road trip maps as memories of places you have been together. Check out the road trip map that we made.
Books about maps
Reading books to learn more about maps is another fun map activity for kids. One of our kid’s favorites is Cat in the Hat: There’s a Map in My Lap!
More map activities for kids
- Don’t forget to teach them about the legend on a map. Help your kids understand what each of the symbols means; the difference between roads and highways, campgrounds, parks, malls, airports, and other landmarks. Our son will look at the GPS in the car and shout out with excitement as soon as he sees train tracks appear.
- If you have a collection of paper maps, make a map binder to store them in.
- This travel bag for kids is full of everything they need for your next family road trip.
Have you done any other map activities for kids in your house? I’d love for you to share them below for even more ideas.