In the geography area of our classroom we have a map of the continents of the world, six individual continent maps, and a map of the United States.
TIP: To make an affordable Globe of the Continents purchase an out of date globe at a thrift store ( I picked mine up for a dollar) and paint over the exisiting maps. I choose to paint our globe with a high quality oil based artist paint for color and durability, but you could use whatever paints you have on hand. If you use a water based acrylic I recommend applying a clear polyurethene finish coat for durability. Remeber to make sure the colors you choose to paint your globe match the colors on your continent map.
A Land and Water Globe (sandpaper globe) can be made in a similar way. First paint the oceans blue and the continents brown. Let paint dry thouroughly. Next apply glue to the brown continent areas and dust areas with brown sand (sand will only stick where you have applied glue so make sure you apply thouroughly). Let dry and top coat with a clear polyurethene for durability.
We are currently studying the continent of North America. Some of our older children (4 and 5 year olds) decided to make thier own map of North America. Using materials we already had available in our environment they created this beautiful and dimensional map. They used clay to build the mountain ranges, sandpaper for the deserts, cotton balls for the artic region, hay for the grassland, rolled tissue paper for the temperate forests, and celephane for the oceans. They finished by adding labels and animals.
Here is a simple science sorting activity for children to explore the concepts of living and non-living.
Here is a science and geography activity where children can classify animals by the primary environment where they exist-air, land, or water. One jelly jar contains soil for land, one contains blue colored water, and the last is empty containing only air. We have had some interesting conversations about animals that may live in two of the environments such a a frog that can live in the water and on land. I always let the child choose the classification for animals that can be placed in more than one category.