Monday, 2 February 2015

Montessori puzzle maps in the home

 
I love geography and so far it seems that my enthusiasm is catching. Finn has been very interested in learning about Earth. Unsurprisingly, I am in love with the Montessori puzzle maps. We debated for a long time over whether we should buy a small set or go with the large set of puzzle maps.
 
Space is limited in our house, and the smaller set is cheaper. But what do we want from those maps?
 
I personally felt that although small maps had definite advantages in a home situation, they also had non negligeable downsides. Since the countries are smaller, the knobs would be closer together and it may have been fiddly to use, possibly even frustrating. Using the knobs to attach flags would have been downright impossible. I was also wondering if smaller maps would engage a child as much as larger ones.
 
So we went for the big set. Well... not the whole set actually. Just one map for now, to test the water and see how Finn likes it. Yes, it's big and we have a small house, but cultural knowledge is one of our priorities and we figured out that we would find storage space. Where there's a will, there's a way!

 
I believe a larger map makes more of an impression on the child

After comparing prices, we found that the cheapest was our favourite online Montessori shop: Tower High LearningThey have it for £29 including tax and postage (to the UK) while it would be £36 on Absorbent Minds. Quick choice! From the photos, they seem to be identical products.

We have been really pleased with the quality, although I should point out a couple of funny things. The Baltic sea is a darker shade of blue than the rest of the seas and oceans. This seems to be a manufacturing error and we are considering painting it over with a matching shade of blue.

Secondly, and this is a mistake with the control map, not the puzzle map itself, three of the country names (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia) are missing. Easily rectifiable with a sharpie though, but I thought I would mention it.

Now, has Finn been enjoying his new puzzle map?

OH, YES!

It's a big work, but he loves it! Telling him little facts about each country as well as their names makes it interesting for him. For example, he remembers Portugal because I told him that his grandad (my dad) went there on holiday. Or that I went to Poland and it was very cold and snowy. He likes to use his atlas to find the countries while working with his puzzle map and figures out lots by himself.


 
Here he was amazed at the size of Russia! And that's only about half of it! How about that for a sensorial impression?
 
The best thing about this puzzle map is not that he is learning country locations, or names, or facts... but his enthusiam for visiting every country in Europe. He even plans his flight route and travel partners.
 
So, was this purchase worth it?
 
Totally! And something tells me this map is not the only one we will be purchasing!
 
How do you approach geography with your children? Have you considered puzzle maps?
 
(This post contains affiliate links to Tower High Learning)
 
 

6 comments:

  1. Love this! My geography is awful so I know I'd benefit from this as well as little people :)

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    1. I thought my geography was ok before we got this map. There's actually still quite a lot to learn for me as well!

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  2. My daughter Lotus recently turned two and we have just started introducing some geography to her. I was wanting a montessori world globe / puzzle for some time but we can't really afford it so I was thrilled to find a world globe touch lamp in the op shop for only AU$12.50! Lotus absolutely loves it! She loves turning it on and off with just a light touch and asking me to tell her stories about places like: where Grandma lives; how Daddy lived in Japan for a year and how mummy and daddy went on a holiday to India etc. THe globe is on a table next to her bed so as well as being used in the day it gets turned on and off every night before she goes to bed. Beside it we currently have a puzzle map of australia which Lotus does several times a day and always just before bed! Again she especially loves to hear and talk about how Grandma lives in Brisbane and Daddy went to Sydney and her cousins recently went on a holiday to Tasmania. So yes I agree puzzle maps (and world globes) are awesome!

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    1. How great of you to introduce her to our Earth so young. This will make lasting memories for sure. A globe/lamp is fantastic. I love the idea of a touch one. It was one of the possible birthday presents we could have given Finn but we don't really have anywhere to put one at the moment. We decided he could have one when he moves into his own bedroom and has a bedside table. Our bedroom is super crammed already with his single bed jammed between our double bed and the wall. None of us have bedside tables on which to put anything!

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  3. Beautiful map! The kids in my classes are always fascinated with Russia as well! I can't wait to do this with Cara!

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  4. I cannot stop reading your blog! thank you for your inspirations. Here, is Julia 6 years, learning the states of the USA :) http://www.montessorifromtheheart.com/my-blog/2016/04/united-states-atlas-book-montessori-usa-wooden-puzzle-map-and-tracing-over-the-states.html

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