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Article:    Learning Geography 

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Children have the opportunity to learn about the world beyond their neighborhood through software programs and toys. Little globetrotters have a few options that allow them to expand their horizons through play.

Geography Software For Kids Ages 5-8

JumpStart Explorers primarily introduces children to history facts, though they'll pick up some basic geography facts too. It's a playful exploration of the world, and has questionable educational value in a concrete sense--kids will more likely come away from it with an interest in geography and history, rather than having absorbed many academic facts. Best for children ages 5-8. [Buy JumpStart Explorers at Amazon.com for approximately $19.99 US -- Better choice:  JumpStart 1st-3rd Grade Learning..., which includes JumpStart Explorers and two other full programs (JumpStart Math and JumpStart Reading]

World Explorer Deluxe contains 2 older DK Interactive titles, My First Amazing World Explorer and History Explorer designed for kids ages 6 to 9. These titles are meaty, packed with facts about the world. Kids travel from country to country, following clues, and in the history title, they travel back in time. Though these titles are colorful, they contain quite a bit of educational content and are self-directed. Thus, kids will need to possess a genuine interest in the subjects in order to stick with the games. Those that do will pick up a wealth of information about the world--cultures, flags, landmarks, etc. [Buy a bundle that includes World Explorer Deluxe: My First Amazing World Explorer/History Explorer Bundle at Amazon.com]

Geography Software For Kids Ages 9 & Up

Top Pick Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Treasures of Knowledge is best for kids ages 9-10 and up. This title is a totally updated version and is absolutely fantastic, earning a rating of A+ from EdutainingKids.com. Players go globetrotting in pursuit of Carmen Sandiego and her henchmen, who steal various "treasures of knowledge"--rare and expensive books. Kids learn an enormous amount of facts about geographical locations and world cultures as they solve mini-missions. [Buy a bundle that includes Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego: Carmen Sandiego Mini 2 Pack at Amazon.com for approximately $19.99 US]

Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2004 contains an Interactive World Atlas CD-ROM that is excellent. It allows users to explore maps, read up on countries and their cultures, and go on multimedia tours of various world locations. There are interactive games that test geography knowledge as well. Excellent reference! [See our full review. Buy Encarta Reference Library 2004 (Small Box) at Amazon.com]

GeoSafari Knowledge Pad: The Plato Collection presents a diverse mix of questions and quizzes on a variety of subjects, including geography. [See Educational Insights web site]

National Geographic Trivia Trek 2002 is a trivia game show-style game that contains challenging geography content from the annual, national National Geographic contest. Though its trivia questions can be rather challenging, the game's presentation is so much fun, kids will want to play. [Buy National Geographic Trivia Trek 2002 Geo... at Amazon.com for approximately $19.99 US]


Geography Games & Toys

Educational Insights' GeoSafari electronic pads provide opportunities for kids to learn about the world while playing with fun interactive toys. A new unit, GeoSafari Laptop, is designed for younger kids to explore the world around them. [See Educational Insights web site]

Top Pick LeapFrog's Explorer II Globe is an exciting, sophisticated, and fun interactive globe. Children use the touch-sensitive pen to explore the globe, picking up geography facts as they do. Kids can listen to musical samples, learn facts about population, discover the time in different parts of the world, and more. Fun games allow kids to test their knowledge--in fact, the games reinforce geography in a powerful manner. This is a fantastic tool for learning--it's responsive and fun for kids, and sophisticated enough to impress adults as well. [Buy Explorer Globe II Amazon.com for approximately $99 US] 

coverFamilies who enjoy board games might want to consider Name That Country!, a board game designed to help kids learn the names and locations of the countries of the world. It does the job well, for as long as it lasts. However, once kids have learned the facts--and it shouldn't take too long for children ages 7 and up--the game becomes tiresomely easy. [Buy Geo Bee Challenge Board Game Amazon.com for approximately $20 US] 

 

Families who enjoy board games might want to consider Name That Country!, a board game designed to help kids learn the names and locations of the countries of the world. It does the job well, for as long as it lasts. However, once kids have learned the facts--and it shouldn't take too long for children ages 7 and up--the game becomes tiresomely easy. [Buy Name That Country Game Amazon.com for approximately $20 US] 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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November 2001/Updated March 2004
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