When I was in elementary school, I loved collecting postcards and postage stamps. These two things fuelled my love of geography and I eventually became a social studies teacher!
But as a kid, it was just so fascinating to amass hundreds of postcards from traveling friends and family over the years and imagine being in that place.
Collecting postage stamps produced in the 1930s onward was another eye-opening hobby as some countries changed hands or governments through the decades, and their history and culture played out on the smallest of paper trails – the postage stamp!
So what does this have to do with you?
Well, what if you could awaken that sort of sense of world travel adventure in your kids, without even having to leave home?
Sound too good to be true?
Enter the GeoBear Project.
What is the GeoBear Project?
Your kids will travel the world vicariously as they follow the journeys of stuffed animals helped along by human traveling companions, most of them strangers. GeoBears lead students along paths to fascinating places, paths which are spontaneously chosen as GeoBears are handed from one traveler to another.
When I was a middle school social studies teacher, the GeoBear Project my students participated in was the highlight of our year! Almost every day we came to school, our class had postcards from around the world in our mail pile.
Students would keep a map, marking their GeoBear’s travels. As their GeoBear traveled, we would learn about the countries their stuffed animal was touring while we were sitting in school.
How does it teach geography?
The 5 Themes of Geography is an educational tool adopted in 1984 by the Association of American Geographers. Because our kids need to know more than just “where is it” on the map when they study geography.
They need to learn:
- Location – “where is it?”
- Region – how it’s unified by climate, language, and history
- Place – the physical and human characteristics of a location like mountains & rivers, political institutions & houses
- Human-Environment Interaction – how these affect each other
- Movement – the study of movement of people, goods, and ideas from one place to another
The GeoBear Project will help your kids discuss and learn about all of these categories that make up the study of geography.
And I’ve created a download just for you to get started teaching your kids the basics of the 5 Themes of Geography through the GeoBear Project!
Are you in? Do you want to know how to set up the GeoBear Project for your kids? It’s a great summer activity because your kids will hardly realize they’re learning!
If you want the full GeoBear packet with instructions and project printables, you can find it HERE.
Or, if you’d like to access a sample download of the first three pages, then grab that below.