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My Favorite Hands on Map Activities

Map Skills Are An Important Concept

Learning the basics of mapping skills is an important concept for our students. Having good map skills is crucial, despite having an iPhone that can do it for you nowadays. That being said, teaching map skills can be challenging sometimes. So, I wanted to share with you my favorite hands on map activities.

These fantastic activities are definitely the way to go – whether you are teaching in person or virtually!

Hands On Map Activities

  • Read a map book

This will always be high on my list… especially for little ones.  Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Imaginative play map activities

Learning through play is the most natural way to introduce and reinforce just about every elementary school concept. The Primary Pack shared this inexpensive activity your students will love doing. Fill a box with felt roads, streams, houses, buildings, & trees and let the kids build and play in an imaginary town.

  • Map your yard or playground

Letting your kids do this for their own yard (or bedroom or house) or something at school, like the playground, is a great hands-on map activity.

  • Map puzzles

Try this floor map puzzle with your students or have kids make their own by drawing a map on the back of an inexpensive dollar store puzzle! Inexpensive & fun!

  • Make a salt dough map

If your kids are a bit like mine, anything they can get their hands dirty with is always a good time! Mix up a batch of salt dough, and have them sculpt your state, country, or even continent. Here’s an easy salt dough recipe.

  • Scavenger Hunt

There’s no better or more fun way to practice map skills than with a scavenger hunt! And since kids need to learn both paper & digital maps, you can do this activity both ways, as well. 

Digital Map Activities

It would be remiss to not include hands-on digital map activities … especially this year! 

Soooo many resources, online activities, and ideas for different map activities in your classroom. Be sure to check this one out!

A fun  & interactive map making on-line game!

Get your students up & moving with this map skills rap song! 

I love these because there is little to no prep work for you (always my goal!) and the students LOVE these digital hands-on map activities. Learning & reinforcing things like: general map skills, cardinal & intermediate directions, map grid, and latitude + longitude. Bonus is that they’re already made & totally customizable … one less thing for your to do list!

If you’re new to Google templates, check out one of my recent blog post to learn more. Plus, you can always message me if you need more support! 

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Hey there!


I design curriculum and am a self proclaimed tech nerd! I love designing resources to make teachers’ lives easier. In addition, I blog all things education. Let’s get to know each other and connect!