This is a wonderful
(and rather well-known in the home school world) activity
to teach kiddos about their
place in the world.
We enjoyed it so much, and I found it to be so effective that I will surely use it again in the years to come with my other little ones.
.: The Idea Behind the Activity :.
If you think about it, it’s a pretty confusing concept to children that they can live on their street, AND in a certain city, AND in a particular state, country, and continent, AND on the earth–
ALL at the same time.
How “on earth” does it make sense to live in so many places at once??
This hands-on geography activity is a great way to teach this concept, and it fit perfectly with our curriculum, as we are just finishing up a semester of learning about maps, the earth, the continents, etc.
My inspiration for this activity comes from Kid World Citizen, though once I started looking around on the internet, I found several different versions of the same thing. I thought it would be a great way to show how everything “fits together” since each circle nests inside the next one.
We took it a step further by adding the portrait of “ME” at the very beginning of our circles.
Basically, you use the nesting circles as a visual aid to teach your kids about how we can live in so many different places at once. The circles start small, and grow larger and larger as you move from “Me” all the way to “My Planet”
You live with your family in your house.
Your house is in your city.
Your city is in your state.
Your state is in your country.
Your country is in your continent.
Your continent is on planet earth.
With this colorful visual aid in front of us, this otherwise difficult concept was very easy for my daughter to understand.
Here are each of the steps up close
:: 1 paper plate
:: “Nested” circles traced onto construction paper with marker
:: Folded construction paper house (see details below)
:: Glue, scissors, crayons
:: Printed maps of state, country, continent [find these online very easily by searching google images for “United States coloring page” etc. Simply copy and paste onto a Word doc, and shrink or enlarge it to fit your space].
:: Embellishments for self-portrait, if desired (we used wiggly eyes and yarn for hair)
:: Sharpie marker and paint to create planet earth.
First Circle: ME
First, my daughter created a self-portrait on the smallest circle, then wrote her full name and age on the back.
Second Circle: MY HOME / MY FAMILY
We created a little house that opens up to reveal our address and my girl’s hand-drawn picture of our family IN our house.
My daughter has been able to “sing” her address for some time, but this was the first time she ever had to write it, so I dotted it out in pencil for her to trace over.
Also, the blue dot on the right is a little ball of sticky tack which keeps the house from opening up.
Third Circle: MY CITY
I loved Kid World Citizen’s suggestion to have the child draw a picture of something they enjoy doing in their city–our daughter chose to make a picture of our family at our famous Sarris Ice Cream and Chocolates located here in Canonsburg.
(Let’s just say we’ve been there a FEW times).
Fourth Circle: MY STATE
We printed, colored and cut out an outline of our state, PA, then glued it down.
Fifth Circle: MY COUNTRY
Again, we printed and cut out an outline of the USA, this time, only coloring in our state.
Sixth Circle: MY CONTINENT
We printed, colored and cut out North America, then glued it down.
Seventh Circle: MY PLANET
For the earth, I drew a very rough outline of the continents of the world on a paper plate, and my daughter then painted the oceans blue and the land green.
In all, we spent 3-5 days on this project.
On the first day, all we did was make the self-portrait and the house. Another lesson was spent talking about things we enjoy in our city, and choosing one to draw on the “My City” circle. The next day, we completed our state, country and continent, as these were fairly quick and easy.
On the last day, we painted the land and oceans on our paper-plate earth, then we hole-punched everything and fastened it together with a piece of chenille craft stem.
My kindergartner REALLY enjoyed seeing each new circle being added, and by the end of the week, she really did understand how it all fit together.
In fact, the weekend after we finished this, as we were driving over to her grandparents, she informed me from the back seat that even though we were not in our neighborhood or city anymore, we WERE still in our state, Pennsylvania…and we were still in our country, and our continent and we were definitely still on planet earth! =]
Why not give this super cool activity a try with your kiddos, and help them understand their place in the great big world they live in!
Happy Hands-On Learning!