Are you looking for a fun, hands-on, engaging way to study geography as a family? Look no further! The GeoBear Project will help your kids travel the world this summer without actually leaving home.
What is the GeoBear Project?
The GeoBear Project gives kids real-world geography experience as they follow the adventures of stuffed animals that travel the world.
The GeoBear (or GeoCat or GeoHamster) will start its travels with a friend or family member who is leaving your town. They don’t have to go far at first, because your GeoBear will then be handed off to another traveler who will take care of your GeoBear.
The final destination is unknown (don’t you love a mystery!), but all along the way, your GeoBear will check in with postcards and emails. Hopefully, they will find their way back home at the end of the summer with a Ziploc bag full of interesting brochures and souvenirs along with a journal.
When I was a middle school social studies teacher, the GeoBear Project my students participated in was the highlight of our year! Almost every day we came to school, our class had postcards from around the world in our mail pile.
Students actively marked their GeoBear’s travels on a world map. As the GeoBear traveled, we would learn about the countries the stuffed animal was touring while we were sitting in school.
What will my kids learn?
Your kids will learn that geography is more than just “where is it” on the map!
Geography includes such interesting topics as
- Location – where is it and what is it near?
- Region – what makes this region unique? Is it language, religion, physical features?
- Place – what physical & human characteristics are there?
- Human-environment interaction – have people built roads, dams, and canals? What about endangered species? What crops are grown here?
- Movement – how do people travel? What about imports & exports?
In fact, these are called the 5 Themes of Geography, and the GeoBear Project gives you a relevant way to learn about all these aspects as you trace the travels of your stuffed animal.
What ages can participate?
This activity is ideal for upper elementary kids, but really any age can participate! I originally did this activity in the classroom with middle schoolers, but this time around, it’s my five year old who is sending her GeoCat on an adventure.
Individual kids can send GeoBears out in different directions and see whose gets the farthest. Or, you can send out one GeoBear as a family and follow the adventures together.
This activity is also great for co-ops, because the more the merrier. Sometimes GeoBears are having such a fun time that they forget to come home or send emails. So if you do this in a group, you’re sure to have enough mail to spread around.
Are you in? Do you want to know how to set up the GeoBear Project for your kids? It’s a great summer activity because your kids will hardly realize they’re learning!
If you want the full GeoBear packet with instructions and project printables, then you can find it at 4onemore.com
Abby is a former public school teacher, now homeschooling her five children. She’s in the trenches just like you and knows it can be challenging to be home with your kids all day while you struggle to keep up with the housework and educate your kids (and maybe even work on the side!). She blogs over at www.4onemore.com and hosts the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.
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