Sometimes parents and teachers are left puzzled because their young preschool and kindergarten-age children refuse to pick up a pencil and show no interest in drawing or coloring. And as we know these two fine motor activities are very important as they prepare children for writing and indirectly benefit brain development in a major way.
We might not realize it, but when we offer a young child a coloring activity that engages them we might be beginning the training of little fingers and young mighty brain to become a surgeon who will be performing life-saving surgeries in the future. We can’t possibly overestimate the importance of fine motor exercises at young preschool and kindergarten age.
Like with many other subjects, under the umbrella of teaching Geography, we can incorporate
- a hands-on kinetic learning that excites children,
- cultural study that opens them up to the world,
- training of hand and finger muscles that is so crusial for their day to day life,
- learning about colors – extension of sesorial learning.
Here is an example of how a simple exercise such as learning about different countries of the African continent, their flags, and their location on the map can encompass and accomplish so many goals mentioned above.
Africa being an incredibly diverse continent, presents a great challenge for children when it comes to learning its political geography. I have no illusion thinking that my kindergarten-age child will remember and learn to identify all 54 countries and 4 territories, their flags, and geographical location.
However, all I look for is a spark in the child’s eyes and interest. If the child is engaged and loves this learning experience, all I am concerned about is the process – making sure it is engaging and developmentally appropriate.
I created the Flags of Africa printable with 3 part cards and blackline master to allow educators to use this resource in various ways and choose what works best in their setting.
Here is how we used Flags of Africa 3 part cards and how you might like to use in your classroom.
Print 3 part cards and blackline master with the cursive tracing font. The printable also includes a print font version and a student booklet with space for independent writing.
Gather coloring pencils, a pencil for tracing/writing, a stapler.
Line up labeled picture cards with flags and corresponding country’s names. Place picture cards and label cards somewhere near. Invite the child to match the flag to the flag and the label to the label.
Set 3-5 pairs of picture and label cards aside.
Using those pairs as a reference, invite the child to trace/copy names of the countries, color the flag and highlight the country location on the African map.
Repeat over the course of time until the child gathers all countries and territories in his or her book.
As an extension, if the child is interested, have the child locate different countries on the world map or globe.
If you have younger children under your care, print both sets and cut cards without cutting labels off. Play a matching game or shuffle cards and invite the child to find matches by playing a memory game.