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!
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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!
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:
And/or buy one book that covers many countries:
Having a World Atlas on hand is really helpful, too:
The Where Is… series is another great way to learn about interesting areas of the world through reading:
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.
Countries of the World Unit Studies
Include Some Science
An important part of geography is navigation! How did early sailors do this before we had all the fancy tools we do now? Well, you can find out and experiment with it yourself with the science labs in the Navigation, Maps, and Finding Your Way Bundle!
This bundle contains seven labs such as Calculating Speed: Determine Speed in Knots Using Historical Log and Line Model and Seasons and Time Zones: How They Connect to Latitude and Longitude: Lab Activity. It works best for the upper elementary and middle school grades.
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.
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+.
I love Professor Noggin’s Trivia Games and would love to buy them all! There are two for the Countries of the World.
For apps, Stack the Countries is a fun one!
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
Do you have any other resources for studying world geography? Share them below!