Geography Tea TimeLara Molettiere
Geography is a subject many parents dread. We learned it with such dull texts and lifeless discussion that it seems monotonous and boring.
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Not so with WonderMaps! We love using WonderMaps with The Mystery of History and for projects like this one. Poetry tea time is quite popular now, but my active learners like having tea with a more hands-on activity, especially if it involves food. And that is how our geography teas came to be.
To begin your geography tea, you first need to choose a geographic location. Print a WonderMap for your chosen area, and select a few activities to accompany the study. Reading a picture book is the most common choice, but you may want to watch a short video or even listen to a song.
I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains, and one of my favorite books is Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds by Cynthia Rylant. It is one of those hauntingly beautiful prose texts with beautiful watercolor illustrations that begs to be purchased in hardcover to last for many, many years. It captures life in the mountains with such perfection, I rarely read it without getting misty eyed. It is the kind of book that naturally fits into tea time. We also added in some copywork for I Wonder as I Wander, an Appalachian folk hymn and had a great discussion about the story of that hymn.
For our selection on Appalachia, I printed the map of the Appalachian Mountains from WonderMaps. I know my boys enjoy baking and decorating, so we made a flat sugar cookie as the base of our edible map.
Here are other activities for a geography tea:
- When learning geography that corresponds to your history lessons, choose foods or drinks from that area or time period. The Mystery of History Volume II cookbook is helpful in this area.
- Have country specific teas to learn about the culture of that country and why those foods are popular there; i.e. altitude, proximity to water, soil for growing certain plants.
- Decorate cakes like pottery, make acorn bread like the Native Americans, make herbal tea like the colonists after the Boston Tea Party, create a complete high tea with clotted cream and lemon curd when studying England, etc.
- Have a picnic style tea while exploring local geography and notebooking what the children see.
For our Appalachian tea, the boys took the map and some icing and they drew the mountains on our cookie map while I read the story. Of course, we sipped tea throughout. This is a tea time!
And as expected, eating the mountains was their favorite part! How do you make geography fun for your learners?