Giving our kids a sense of direction begins with helping them connect to the world around them. It sounds like a huge undertaking, showing them the world. But, for the tiny feet of tiny people the world around them is simply the people they know and the places that become safe, fun and familiar routines for them.
Kids love the routines that thread the string through their lives – knowing that Tim Horton’s is on the way back from eye doctor, that the Chinese buffet is down the road from the community centre. They constantly draw their own colorful, animated, magical maps in their heads.
Giving kids a chance to take those maps and create something to share their version of community with everyone else can not only be a great way to teach them that sense of direction, but also inspire their unique creativities.
Map making doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t even have to be a traditional sort of map. It’s all about discovery and, for kids, about the adventure of getting out there and finding out who and what lives in their neighbourhoods.
We here at OBE are going to do just that this week and trade our weekly NeighbourWood Walk in the forest for a map-making trip through downtown Comox. You can come join us at 10 a.m. Wednesday. We’ll be meeting up at Marina Park and making a fun , creative loop around town. If the weather is nice, we’ll end where we began with a little map making session.
Here are ways to dive into neighbourhood discovery map making:
1. Draw it. Bust out the colored pencils and the graph paper. Let the kids go to town drawing town.
2. Got older kids? Print out a map of a neighbourhood from Google Maps and let them mark it up with landmarks, colors and more.
3. Think collage. Little kids love paper and glue. Give them magazines, scissors, paper and a glue stick and let them create their neighbourhood.
4. Paint on canvas. Whether your kids use stamps or paint brushes or sponges, painting the neighbourhood to hang on the wall is a great way to connect them to a place.
5. Fabric. Sewing may not be in the cards. But, cutting a neighbourhood out of scrap fabric and gluing it down can create a truly magical sense of where a kid lives.
6. Stick it. Kids love stickers. Mapping it all out in stickers is just plain fun.
7. Go 3-D. Take an old box, make some places and spaces, people and creatures out of paper, found items, even recyclables, and create a cool version of street life.
8. Build it up. That box theory can go up and long and sideways too. Clear off the dining room table and discover the neighbourhood this way.
Then, take these fantastic creations and share them with the merchants, town councils, restaurant owners around town and give them a kid’s perspective on the neighbourhoods we live in. It may just be the inspiration for which they are looking.
The Rediscovering Our Neighbourhoods project is a 7-part series that inspires people to see our neighbourhoods through the eyes of kids.
Check out the first installment – Getting to Know You – HERE.
Check out the second installment – The Shop Around The Corner – HERE.
About the Author (Author Profile)Robin Rivers is Our Big Earth’s Publisher and Sr. Partner. Able to survive on coffee alone. Often can be found leaping tall buildings with the help of great friends. Predisposed to odd hats and the color orange. In love with imagination, her kids and that crazy guy who married her.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Rediscovering Our Neighbourhoods | The Foot's Eye View | Our Big Earth | February 8, 2012