Teaching a Kindergarten lesson on neighborhoods can be an excellent way to help children gain a sense of direction, distance, and familiarity within their own neighborhoods. Also, this presents a great opportunity in supporting children learning their own home address(es), as this is an important safety skill all children should have mastered by the end of Kindergarten.
This MyMaps activity requires previous class discussions on neighborhoods: what they are, who live in them, and other important features that make up the neighborhoods we live in. Serving more as a summative project, teachers can direct their students in using this tool to showcase important places in their neighborhood that are special to them.
- Using MyMaps, students will create maps of their neighborhoods by pinning four locations: one location MUST be their school and another MUST be their general neighborhood. For example, I live in University Park, so I added that marker as where I live. Some friends may need help with knowing what their general neighborhood is! (After maps have been shared with the class, encourage students and families to add their home addresses for further exploration and more precise locations).
- The last two locations can be anything students choose! A favorite place to eat, a toy store, or perhaps a friend’s neighborhood. Think of two places that you visit often or just really enjoy visiting that you think are important to you and your neighborhood. In my example, I chose my favorite restaurant and the grocery store I go shopping at every week.
- For all four locations, have students add pictures and one sentence stating what that place is.
- Lastly, have students choose any two destinations and pin the route from one to the other so that they may explore the different possibilities for travel. For my example, I chose to do from my neighborhood to school because that is the route I take most often. Allow students to choose their own two locations, or they can create routes for multiple! This will help them see the journeys they take to get to some of their favorite places.
Aside from the directional skills students will gain from this lesson, it can serve as a great community-building activity. Having students share their maps (whole class or small groups) gives them the opportunity to share with their peers, places that are important to them and may encourage others to visit them too, ultimately expanding everyone’s neighborhood!