Using teachable moments to exercise a variety of skills

Locating the beaches we visited on our trip

Locating the beaches we visited on our trip

We stopped for lunch at a convenience store on our way out of Delaware.  There was a map on the wall where we helped the kids locate the two beaches we visited on the trip, the town of Milton, where we went for the Horseshoe Crab Festival and a cousin’s house in Smyrna, Delaware.

This is really what Naturally Educated is all about: finding simple moments and turning them into learning experiences.  Maps are a great way to do this.  There are maps everywhere we go-parks, malls, travel stops.  Taking a few minutes to look at one with your child can sharpen their map reading skills, improve their sense of direction and exercise skills in other areas as well.  Here are a few examples:

Language and Reading:

Kids who are reading can locate points of interest on the map themselves.  Help new readers find places and challenge them to sound out their names on the map.  Show young children the beginning letters of the names of places you have visited.  Talk about what you did in each place.  Recall which you visited first, second, third, etc.


Check out the distance between places you have visited.  Older kids can use the map to determine actual distance while younger kids can talk about it in general terms.  (These two places were close together, but the other place was farther away). Count how many places you visited while you were in the area.


How is the landscape different or similar to where you live?  Are there bodies of water, mountains, lots of roads, few roads?  What kind of nature do you think lives in certain places on the map as a result?  Is the weather here similar or different from where you live?

Just a few simple questions can get your kids thinking.  By making the most of these teachable moments, you will train your children to look for them on their own and encourage them to actively participate in the world around them.



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