When I was in school I hated geography, I actively avoided taking it in high school because I didn’t want to spend the year memorizing names of places. Then I had a high school history teacher who taught me the importance of geography.
History, like house-hunting is all about location, location, location. Towards that end you want to learn where things are, but I don’t want to memorize lists of words.
- Enter the geography games. Here’s my list of benefits for geography games:
- They reinforce the visual aspect of geography.
- It’s not an endless drill and kill of a list of names you likely won’t use again.
- They help to emphasize how interconnected we all are.
- They show where things are much more effectively than look at a map.
- They help you learn what can be a very boring subject.
United States Geography Games
I am listing these first for no other reason than I live in the United States, so am more familiar with these games.
Transamerica– I LOVE this game, you’ll see it again for my history post as well. This really helps you to grasp a general idea of where cities are, and perfectly explains our train system. There are several other train games that cover geography that I will cover in tomorrow’s post, but I wanted to bring this one up (mainly because I own this one).
Scrambled States of America– We just got this game, and have only played it once. To really play it well you need to be able to read, beyond that, it’s a fun trivia game where most of the information you need is on the cards you’re trying to play. It’s loosely based on the book of the same name.
Secret State Password– I love the idea of drawing the state out of the jar and matching it with a map.
DestiNation USA– This is one of my kids’ favorite games, but I just haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet. You are traveling around the United States trying to get the most points. You earn points by either driving to different states or visiting the big attraction first. We enjoyed that you can drive to different states not just by having its name, but also by having matching colors (though that is less effective).
Let’s Drive- This game is similar to Destination USA, but it’s a bit more cooperative, or looks to be from what I’m reading. This time you have specific places to visit, and your goal is to get to all of them, but if another person visits your destination, they can send you a postcard.
Drive the Country– This is one we’ll be trying soon, but just take a toy car and a United States map and name a destination. Then have the kids figure out what states they’ll cross and the best way to get there. Hmmm……. I might add this into our Friday Games…….
World Geography Games
Global Twister– In her post she suggested making your own giant map, but you could just as easily grab one of those shower curtains with a map on it.
Ticket to Ride- Most people consider this the quintessential traveling and train game. After we bought a different train game and were horribly burned I haven’t been able to convince Jeff to try it yet. Part of what makes this one so great, there are several different versions for almost every major continent, so it can really help your child increase their geography, but it does require reading abilities.
Let’s Jet- This is an odd combination of United States and world geography, and is on my wish list. I like that you are not just traveling, but also figuring out the best and fastest way to get somewhere.
Geography Games that teach concepts
Some geography concepts are hard to teach with games based in our world, so here are some games that teach concepts needed to understand geography
Rivers, Roads, and Rails– We need transportation, and this game explains ideas of how we use transportation.
Settlers of Catan– The importance of managing resources for exploring the world. It also explains why certain areas of our world are more populated. You are more likely to move to a place that has better odds of survival.
Carcassone– This is another great game for teaching management of resources. It also lets your kids see the interaction between towns and farmers and roads, how is it all connected.
For more game ideas to play with your family, check out my pinterest board:
Here’s my overall plan for this series:
Day 6: Geography Games
Day 7: History Games
Day 8: Science Games
Day 9: Travel Games
Day 10: Solo or Two Player Games