When my kids were younger, they became accustomed to their dad traveling a lot. A fair amount of travel is expected with college and professional sports. There are teams from all over the country playing every Saturday and Sunday and most likely one of the teams had to travel to the city to reach the stadium. While we watched games on tv we would get a map of the United States and locate the cities where the games took place. I got my husband to add to the excitement by bringing a magnet or some other item from the city he visited so that the kids could learn from his travels. We should have put up a magnetic board in the laundry room or in a kid’s room to keep the refrigerator from looking like a magnetic mess.
The kids would ask, “Where’s daddy going this week?” I would tell them the name of the city and the state. They would find the state, then the city. I would challenge them to also learn the capital cities of each state. This scavenger hunt was also a chance to introduce them
to the surrounding states and the respective capital cities. I was not a geography scholar, so I wanted my kids to be better than me. I wanted them to know a little trivia about each city or state their dad traveled to for work so I bought a user friendly book with facts and nice pictures.
I encourage all families to use sports as a way to teach geography. Our family also extends our learning opportunities by visiting arenas and stadiums when we travel. This teaching method has continued to be an optimal way for us to learn. Just this summer went to Palo Alto, California for a high school football combine. While we were there we visited Stanford’s campus, took pictures, visited shops in the area, and ate in one of the cool restaurants in that community. I wish we had done more international geographical trivia. It certainly would have helped me. So, whether your family loves football, basketball, soccer, race car driving, or rodeos, you can use sports to teach. In addition to learning about the geographical locations, you can teach them about the capitals, the people, the culture of the community, the climate, the state and/or country flags, and the traditions of the locale.