Cover for blog post Fun Ways to Study the Countries of the World showing World Atlas, sorting mats, and country notebooking page.

Fun Ways to Study the Countries of the World

Ad showing product cover for three Countries of the World Unit Study Bundles.

Studying the countries of the world with children is so fun! And there are lots of different ways to go about it. Here are a variety of ways you can study the geography, history, and culture of different countries around the world.  Make sure to grab the FREE Matching Countries and Flags worksheets at the end!

Check out this post for a ton of different ways to learn about the countries of the world. From puzzle and games to unit studies and books to music and map work...there is something for everyone!

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Puzzles of the World

I first introduced our boys to maps with floor puzzles when they were preschoolers. This is a great hands-on way for them to begin to form a visual representation of the world map in their minds.

Here is a great starter puzzle made out of foam that would be perfect for preschoolers!

Sale
Educational Insights World Foam Map Puzzle
  • You've got the whole world in your hands with this giant, fun-to-assemble foam puzzle!
  • Get hands-on practice with the continents, countries, oceans, and animals of the world, from the comfort of your own home or classroom!
  • Builds world geography skills, fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, problem solving skills, and strategic thinking skills.
  • Includes 3' x 2' foam map puzzle with 54 extra-soft, kid-sized pieces.
  • Pieces are water-resistant and easy to clean.

If your children are a little older, this table top puzzle from Ravensburger would be good:

Ravensburger World Map Jigsaw Puzzle | 60 Unique Pieces | Ideal for Kids | Skill-Enhancing Excellent Gift for Birthdays and Holidays
  • UNIQUE PIECES: Each piece in this Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle is unique - No duplicates ensuring a frustration-free and satisfying puzzle experience
  • SKILL-DEVELOPING: Engaging in puzzle-building helps support your child's development - Enhancing skills such as concentration, creativity, and cognitive abilities
  • QUALITY MATERIALS: Crafted with premium quality materials - Extra-thick cardboard with a fine, linen structured paper to create a glare-free puzzle image for an optimal puzzle experience
  • BRAND LEGACY: Ravensburger, with over 130 years in the toy industry, is the bestselling puzzle brand worldwide - A testament to superior quality and dedication to childhood development
  • PERFECT GIFT: Fun to engage in, alone or in a group - This jigsaw puzzle makes a fantastic gift for kids of all ages at birthdays, holidays, and special occasions

Or you could try this really cool 3D puzzle of a globe!

Sale
Ravensburger Children's World Globe 180 Piece 3D Jigsaw Puzzle | Easy Click Technology | Displayable Art | Perfect for Kids and Adults | 10.5 in Diameter
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: Experience the superior craftsmanship of Ravensburger 3D puzzles, renowned for their unparalleled quality in content and material
  • PRECISION FIT: Designed meticulously, each puzzle piece fits perfectly, creating a seamless and enjoyable puzzle-building experience
  • EASY CLICK TECHNOLOGY: The satisfying 'click' sound assures you that the pieces are fit perfectly in their place
  • DISPLAYABLE 3D ART: More than a puzzle, it transforms into a globe, artistic display when completed, adding an educational touch to your decor
  • TRUSTED QUALITY: Trust the experience and expertise of Ravensburger, crafting quality puzzles and toys for hand, head, and heart for over 130 years

Non-Fiction Books about Countries

There are MANY non-fiction books about countries.  You may want to try a series, like this great one for mid-elementary school:

Sale
All About Thailand: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids (All About...countries)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Russell, Elaine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 11/08/2016 (Publication Date) - Tuttle Publishing (Publisher)

Or this series is easy to find in libraries:

Sale
India (A True Book: Geography: Countries)
  • Apte, Sunita (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 08/07/2009 (Publication Date) - Children's Press (Publisher)

And/or buy one book that covers many countries:

Sale
DK First Atlas: A First Reference Guide to the Countries of the World (DK First Reference)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ganeri, Anita (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 05/17/2004 (Publication Date) - DK Children (Publisher)
Sale
Everything & Everywhere: A Fact-Filled Adventure for Curious Globe-Trotters (Travel Book for Children, Kids Adventure Book, World Fact Book for Kids)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Martin, Marc (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 10/09/2018 (Publication Date) - Chronicle Books (Publisher)

 

Having a World Atlas on hand is really helpful, too:

Sale
National Geographic Kids World Atlas, 5th Edition
  • Hardcover Book
  • National Geographic Kids (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 07/10/2018 (Publication Date) - National Geographic Children's Books (Publisher)
Sale
Where on Earth? Atlas: The World As You've Never Seen It Before (DK Where on Earth? Atlases)
  • Hardcover Book
  • DK (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 03/28/2017 (Publication Date) - DK Children (Publisher)
National Geographic Kids Beginner's World Atlas, 4th Edition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Kids, National (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 07/09/2019 (Publication Date) - National Geographic Kids (Publisher)

 

The Where Is… series is another great way to learn about interesting areas of the world through reading:

Sale
Where Is the Eiffel Tower?
  • Anastasio, Dina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 05/16/2017 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)
Where Is Machu Picchu?
  • Stine, Megan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 01/23/2018 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

 

 

Fiction Books About Countries

There are some many wonderful fiction books related to different countries of the world. One great resource for finding them is Give Your Child the World. It contains descriptions of 600 books, sorted by continent and then age range. The related country or area and a short description are given for each book.

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Martin, Jamie C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 216 Pages - 06/07/2016 (Publication Date) - Zondervan (Publisher)

Some of our favorite books to learn about different countries have been the Magic Tree House series, A Long Walk to Water, and I Am Malala.

Countries of the World Unit Studies

Check out our FREE country unit studies and our downloadable, low-cost country unit studies:

PIcture of a earth with text saying "Around the World in 11 Weeks" and a fish above it.
Product cover showing the covers of five different country studies from Asia. Each cover shows a black and white map and a colored flag for the country.Product cover for South America Unit Studies showing printed cover for each country.Cover for Europe Unit Studies showing front covers of the five different unit studies with flags and map outlines.

Have Fun with World Music

Music in Our Homeschool has a great World Music Course!  Children will learn about instruments and musical styles from more than 60 countries!  Videos, hands on activities and notebooking pages are included.

Ad for World Music for Elementary self-paced online course showing different instruments.

Map Work

Sarah Mackenzie shares a great geography idea in her book, Teaching From Rest. She suggests giving your child a blank map along with your educational map and have him fill in some of the information, such as five countries and one or two bodies of water.

Then the next day, just give him the blank map and see how much he can fill in on his own from memory. Once he has done this, give him the educational map again to fill in anything he has missed and add a few more pieces of information.

Continue in this manner so your child commits a few more pieces of the map to memory each day you work on it. My older son loves this activity! To him, it is a competition with himself to see how much he can commit to memory.

If you want a more structured way to do this, the Drawing Around the World Series from Brookdale Publishing is a fun way to practice mapping! These printables allow children to learn to draw each country on a map by practicing a few minutes each day. Right now, they just have Europe and the USA.

World Geography Games

Explore the World is a board game where players answer geography questions as they move around the board. There are questions about the natural world, man-made items around the world and the flags of different countries. Recommended for ages 7+.

Outset Media - Explore the World - Test Your Knowledge and Learn Interesting Facts from Around the Globe - Ages 7+
  • Explore the world is a fun and educational game for the whole family, learn facts about both the natural world and the man-made world.
  • For example a natural world question would be: What world record does the Mariana Trench hold? Answer: Deepest place on earth.
  • A man-made question would be: To what European city would you travel to visit the worlds largest castle? Answer: Prague.
  • There are also Flag cards, which ask questions about the country whose flag is pictured on the card. And there are Travel Cards, which help players travel forward or backwards on their journey.
  • For 2-6 players ages 7 and up.

I love Professor Noggin’s Trivia Games and would love to buy them all! Here us the one for the Countries of the World.

Professor Noggin Countries of The World - A Educational Trivia Based Card Game for Kids
  • Professor Noggin’s series of educational card games encourages kids to learn interesting facts about their favorite subjects like the Countries of the World.
  • Each of the thirty game cards combines trivia, true or false, and multiple choice questions.
  • Easy and hard levels keep kids interested and challenged - while of course having fun.
  • A special three-numbered die is included which adds an element of unpredictability.
  • For 2-8 players ages and up.

 

For apps, Stack the Countries is a fun one!

Stack the Countries
  • - More than 1000 unique questions
  • - 193 flash cards -- one for each country!
  • - Interactive maps of the continents
  • - Collect all 193 countries and track your progress on personalized maps
  • - Earn FREE bonus games: Map It! and Pile Up!

 

Countries of the World Sorting Mats

If you have been around the blog for awhile, you know I love our sorting mats and so we created some for the different countries of the world. They are a great way for me to assess how much the boys have learned without it feeling like a test! They also allow them to practice what they have learned and use their critical thinking skills to figure out the information they haven’t committed to memory, yet! The first four sets are done and here is what they look like:

You can check them out here:

Cover for Asia Sorting Mats showing title, one sorting mats and some matching cards. Cover for Europe Sorting Mats showing title, one sorting mats and some matching cards.Cover for South America Sorting Mats with title and a few of the pieces shown.

 

 

 

World Cuisine

Making food from different countries is a super fun way to learn about the country.  Cooking with your children also helps them develop so many other skills!  This cookbook looks awesome, but I know many boys will probably balk at the idea of using it.

American Girl: Around the World Cookbook: Delicious Dishes from Across the Globe
  • Hardcover Book
  • American Girl (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 136 Pages - 04/24/2018 (Publication Date) - Weldon Owen (Publisher)

There are plenty of recipes online of course you can find. The Global Table Adventure site is a fun one to check out! One tip when using recipes you find online: copy and paste the actual text of the recipe into a word document, print it out and slide it into a page protector for your kids. This will be much easier than having them try to read it from a tablet or phone.

Videos about World Geography

Nat Geo Kids has a series on YouTube titled, Are We There Yet?, that contains 7 minute videos highlighting different sites of the world.

To find longer documentaries, you will likely have to search for the particular country you are studying.  However, Rick Steves’ Europe on PBS is one show that covers a variety of countries and is appropriate for children ages 8 and up.

PBS also has other short series such as Passport to Brazil and Wonders of Mexico.

Webcams Around the World

Another fun way to learn about other countries is to watch a webcam in that country!  Here are a couple sites to get you started:

Earthcams

Webcam Hopper

Matching Countries and Flags Worksheets

Grab these FREE matching worksheets for 65 different countries of the world.  Your children will match the name of the country to its outline and its flag.  They are organized to match our Countries of the World Sorting Mats above.

Three printed Matching Countries and Flags Worksheets

Do you have any other resources for studying world geography? Share them below!