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Using Map Drills for Learning Geography

Updated on June 29, 2015

Simple Ways to Learn Geography

We've all heard the dismal reports of Americans' lack of basic geography knowledge. Help your children change the statistics by teaching them map facts through geography drills.

The principle of these drills is a little done often. These geography drills work not because they are time-intensive memorizing sessions. The truth is that geography drills are short 5-15 minute activities done in the spirit of a game.

But when 5-15 minute drills are done daily (or at least often), the sticking power truly adds up, and your children will grow in their geography knowledge in a painless way.

This gentle way of teaching is common to the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling. If you like this approach to geography, read more about the CM philosophy and how it applies to other disciplines.

How to Organize Map Drills

Choose a part of the world to work on. The possibilities are endless:

  • Continents and oceans
  • Western American states
  • Europe
  • South Asia

[If you need a specific outline to organize your map studies, try this free geography curriculum at It will walk you through most of the world using an atlas and common school supplies.]

Print several copies of blank maps of the region you want to study. Finding maps on the internet is possible, but I love the convenience of having a physical volume of reproducible maps on hand.

TIP: You can laminate your maps or use page protectors. Then the ink from Vis-a-vis pens will wash right off after the map drill is over.

Map Drill Day One

Prepare one copy of the map with a handful of key places you want your child to learn. Don't give more than ten new names. And if your child is young, use fewer.
Give your child two copies of your map. One will be the map you prepared with the place names written on it, and the other will be blank.
Ask your child to copy the names onto the blank map.

TIP: If your child struggles with writing, you could give him pre-printed, removable labels to affix to the map.

Map Drill Day Two

Give your child a blank map and ask him to fill in all he remembers. Once he has done all he can, give him the completed map from day one so he can find the remaining answers and correct any spelling errors.

Depending on how many of the key places he mastered, add a few more place names to the map for him to copy.

Map Drill Day Three

Continue in the same pattern as day two, slowly adding places each time until your child has mastered all entire region you selected.

Making Map Drill Fun

  • Call out place names and have your child label them before an egg timer goes off.
  • Reverse roles and let your child make a map for you to learn!
  • Play a game with your map drill. Lay a map in front of you and your children. Put the place names on cards. After drawing a card, a person must lay it onto the correct spot on the map. Devise a penalty for wrong answers.


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