Learning about the big wide world can be a lot of fun for students, and geography is the perfect subject for hands-on learning. These geography games and activities will introduce new concepts, broaden perspectives, and allow your students to practice valuable skills.
This fun game is a one minute speed test for kids to identify as many states as they can. To play, pull a labeled stick and mark the state off your map. If you pull a SNAP stick, though, you’ll have to erase your map and start again.
Learn more: 123Homeschool4ME
2. 20 Questions
The classic game of 20 questions can be a perfect fit in your geography study. First, have one student come up with a state, country, or continent. Then, allow students to ask a yes or no question, one at a time. For example: “Is this state in the north?”, “Is this state on the coast?”, “Was this state one of the original colonies?”, etc. The goal, of course, is to guess the correct answer in 20 questions or less.
Kids will recognize this fun game as a version of the card game War. Download these free trading cards with colored illustrations of each state, along with interesting facts. To play, deal all of the cards out to two players, face down. Each player pulls the top card, keeping it to themself, and calls out a category (population, electoral votes, etc.). Each player reads off the appropriate number, and the player with the higher number keeps the cards.
Learn more: Deceptively Educational
4. Bean Bag Maps
This is a simple but fun way to review geography. Have a supply of small bean bags handy and a large map of the world and/or the US posted on the wall. One at a time, ask a student to toss a bean bag at a site on the map, for instance, the Pacific Ocean, Mexico, or Colorado. If they make an accurate throw they get a point, and if they miss, they must tell you what they hit instead. Kids could play this in a small group or with a partner, taking turns calling out locations and tossing the bean bag. Or, you could use this activity for whole-class review.
How fun is this? Students look at pictures of international landmarks and try to recreate them with LEGO bricks. Landmark flashcards can be found through Amazon, Etsy, Walmart and more. Or better yet, have students do research on the computer and make their own.
Learn more: HomeGrownLearners
Flags are an important part of a nation’s identity, and learning about flags helps kids identify and remember places around the world. For this activity, ask each student to choose a country they are interested in. Have them do a bit of research and create a copy of that country’s flag on an 11×14 piece of construction paper. String all of the students’ flags to create a banner across your classroom to give it an international flair.
Learn more: ArtBar
Have a little geography fun Bingo style and help your students recognize and remember the 50 states. Click on the link below for instructions, free downloadable Bingo cards and calling pieces.
Learn more: Deceptively Educational
8. Alphabet Game
This is a fun circle game that can help students memorize all fifty states. It’s perfect as a warm-up or as a geography review. (It also builds literacy skills.) The first student in the circle will say the name of a state. The next must name a state that begins with the last letter of the previous student’s state. For example: Student 1: California, Student 2: Arkansas, Student 3: South Carolina, etc. You can also play this game with countries. For example: Ireland/Denmark/Kazakhstan, etc.
Discover interesting facts about places around the world while learning how to navigate an atlas. This scavenger hunt for middle schoolers has 26 fun clues from (A – Z), all related to world geography.
10. Memory Game
Download these free state and state capital flashcards and make multiple copies. Create decks of twenty cards: 10 states plus 10 coordinating capitals. To play, students shuffle the deck, then lay each of the cards face-down. The goal is to flip over two cards, looking for a match. If the cards don’t match, they flip them back over. Play continues until all cards have been matched up.
These stacking cups are a great visual to help kids comprehend exactly where they live in the world. Each cup fits into the next, from home to city to state, all the way to the galaxy they live in. Download the free labels or make up your own.
Learn more: Undercover Classroom
12. Pass the Globe
Most kids love studying the globe. This circle activity is a geography version of hot potato. Have students sit in a circle, then turn on some music. Students will pass a globe around the circle until the music stops. When it does, the student holding the globe must identify the spot under their right thumb. Start the music again and play until everyone has had a turn. More than likely, students will learn the names of places they’ve never heard of before.
Creating their own treasure hunt is a great way for kids to learn about important map skills. This blog explains the activity with a home map. Adapt it to fit in the classroom by having kids draw a map of their classroom or their school. Then, once everyone has finished their maps, have student partner up to find each other’s treasure.
Learn more: Beth Gorden
14. Coordinates Game
Learning about latitude and longitude is an important map skill. This game gives students practice finding locations on a map using coordinates. Make a list of world locations (or US locations) using just coordinates. Pair students up and give them the list and a sheet of gold star stickers. Working together, they must find the location on the map and mark it with a gold star. When they have finished, give them an answer sheet to check their answers.
What better way to learn the names of the states, in alphabetical order no less, than with a song? This catchy tune has been around for years and years, and once you learn it, you won’t forget it.
Learn more: YouTube
What are your favorite geography games and activities for kids? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Also, check out 20 Hands-On Ways for Kids to Learn Map Skills.