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Tag: map

Shortly after I posted about Homemade Magnetic Map of Africa, I decided to make a more challenging magnetic map of Africa for Satori. They are now all white instead of color, thus the added challenge of not accidentally memorizing countries by color (and my original vision). In this second version, I also made it larger, using up two magnetic pages instead of one. It’s now approximately 12″x12″.

Here’s the completed map on a whiteboard. I took out Angola to show that it really is a cut-up puzzle. If you click on it, you can see a larger image, with the separate pieces being more visible.

This time I uploaded these two pages in case anyone wants to use these to print out their own version. I recommend cutting out the countries you can from the bottom map, and then cutting out whatever countries still needed from the top, as there are some redundancies. Feel free to click on these images to see the full-size and download them for yourself!

Africa (top)

Africa (bottom)

The pieces are larger and I’m not so worried about losing them. To see how tiny they were before, here’s a look at Senegal and Gambia, next to my scissors for comparison.

Here’s a selection of country pieces with our latest version. Going from left to right, we have Egypt, Togo/Benin combo, Algeria, and Kenya. You can see one of the largest and the smallest pieces, alongside a ruler for reference. I kept the tiniest countries together (Senegal/Gambia, Togo/Benin, Ruwanda/Burundi).

Because I am not as good at Satori at identifying the country shapes, when I first attempted putting this puzzle together, I kept calling Satori over to ask her which country it was. She’d take the piece, rotate it, and within 2 seconds state the name. After tiring of this, she set this globe in front of me so I wouldn’t bother her anymore. 🙂

I have to say, I have no problems with the online geography game websites, but this white blank puzzle was tough for me. After completing it a few times, I now am much more familiar with the country shapes. This endeavor has been well worth the effort!

One thing I learned back when we studied the United States is that Satori has an uncanny spatial memory when it comes to shapes of states. Learning Africa was absolutely no exception! The past month she’s been drawing Africa maps, coloring them in, labeling them…

Doing the Africa GeoPuzzle a few times…

We’ve worked with Shepphard Software and Seterra now and then… Examining all our maps and globes…

Within a few weeks, Satori has all her Africa countries, names, shapes, major geography features memorized, as well as most capitals. I was searching for some way to challenge her more and I thought of a puzzle we could make at home where we wouldn’t label the country names. I think this was more for my benefit, so I could figure out a way to get as good as Satori in memorizing country shapes.

I know you can use the above websites for challenging games that will tackle these skills. But I thought being able to physically manipulate country shapes would be super fun. I had some magnetic sheets lying around, and thought it would be even more cool if we made a magnetic puzzle.

If you already own a printer, you can make your own magnetic maps for just $7.49 with these full-page Avery Magnet Sheets (set of 5). They say they are for Ink Jet printers, but I printed our map on a laser printer and it turned out just fine.

At first I was going to leave it black and white for the ultimate challenge. Then I realized I would probably photo-blog about it, so we ended up coloring them in. Had I known we’d end up coloring the countries, I would’ve just printed them out in color in the first place. Maybe I’ll make another one. If I do, I will print it out on two sheets, to make bigger countries.

After Satori and I colored in all the countries, I carefully cut them apart. It wasn’t as excruciating job as I thought it would be. Here are all the African countries, including island countries.

Our first inclination was to piece together the puzzle on our magnetic whiteboard. However, some of the pieces are tiny and gravity made them fall when we tried picking them up from the board.

Closer look…

The completed puzzle.


Eventually we used one of the magnetic sheets itself to put the puzzle together. It will also make nice storage, I’ll just put it all in a zip bag and we’re done!

Satori’s knowledge (and mom’s) has come in so handy already! The latest National Geographic magazines had articles on several African countries, so we were able to visualize exactly where the volcano was, where the elusive Coelacanth fish was found, and more. Coincidentally, we had a chance to hang out with two people from Africa – David’s coworker from South Africa, and Satori’s friend’s dad from Zimbabwe. She was able to answer their geography questions perfectly. What’s the northernmost African country? (Tunisia) What’s the only country surrounded completely by another country? (Lesotho) What country is west of Egypt and what’s the capital? (Libya/Tripoli)

We’ll keep on top of our skills by making sure she quizzes herself every now and then using online geography games.

I am not sure why we started with the hardest continent with 53 countries, but next week we’ll be starting to learn Europe!

I was just presented with the map of “The Hole World” this morning out of the blue.

She said I think Hawaii is a spelling rule-breaker after she asked if she spelled it right.

Last week we put up a World Map Shower Curtain. I only regret that we hadn’t done this sooner! You can find this shower curtain at Target for just $14.99 or online on Amazon (ships from Target). Here’s our view while sitting on the toilet, it is such a great tool to catch up on some geography when you’re sitting captive. 🙂

It’s very easy to read and it doubles as a huge write-on/wipe-off map of the world! We can use our dry erase markers to highlight sections of the world we are studying, and they wipe off super easily. Here’s a closeup of Egypt and the Fertile Crescent area we are reading about this spring.

People looking for an inexpensive map might like to mount this on a few large poster board pieces and have the perfect dry erase map.

Right now we’ll be using it as a shower curtain in the bathroom next to our Learning Loft.

after her very own name, is…


Yesterday after reading Lentil for the very first time, I quickly showed her that Ohio is spelled with 2 O’s and a HI in the middle. I was stunned when she wrote it out on our basement floor today!!! But first of all, let’s get to why she was writing on our basement floor. 🙂


It was Saturday night, and I wanted to catch up on Idol with David, but Satori was begging me to work on her new Lentil lapbook. How could a mama say no? I thought it would be a great time to build our first “map”.


It was time for Language Arts rowing day, but I wanted to go over a bit of Social Studies review on small towns. So we took a piece of chalk, a bunch of wooden blocks, and sat down on our basement floor. It is a rubbery workout floor type, perfect for chalk. (Or so I hope, it better wash out easily, lol!) I drew the first example road and labeled it Main Street. I had Satori draw all the rest of the roads – Vine Street and the alley street. We didn’t know the name of the alley street, but all of a sudden she wrote out OHIO! Needless to say, I was somewhat stunned. So I guess we’ll call it Ohio Alley. The wooden blocks represent the buildings of Alto, Ohio, such as Colonel Carter’s house, the Alto library, the church, the park, etc… And of course we had Thomas the train engine represent the steam engine that Colonel Carter arrived to town with.

As you can see quite clearly the word OHIO, she was very proud of writing one of her very first words, that she wrote it again a few times. 🙂


Satori, we’re so proud of you, life is so much fun with you! Surprises everyday!


We also did go over our Language Arts day. I wanted to give her a glimpse into literature by explaining the concept of a story’s climax. So I had her draw a big grassy hill with a definite peak at the top. I attempted to demonstrate the Lentil story events on the hill by talking about them and marking them with an X, until the event where everyone is holding their breath at the climax.


After I explained what the climax of a story was, she wanted to draw pictures of a bear and bear footprints. We looked up on the Internet what bear footprints looked like, then we started to build the story.

Once upon a time a girl and her dog were walking in the woods. It was spring and she was picking flowers. Then she saw bear footprints on the trail… and half-eaten berry bushes… Then the CLIMAX – the BEAR appeared on the path!!! Satori was very scared and her heart was racing. Luckily, Maddie her dog saved her by growling at the bear, scaring him away, whew! She took her flowers home, put them in a vase, and called grandma and grandpa about her day. 🙂

She understood that the only part in the story where she might want to scream was not when she was picking flowers, not when she was calling grandparents, but when she saw the bear! And that is her story’s climax. I hope she doesn’t associate all climaxes with screaming now.

Here is the illustrations of the bear footprint, “the climax”, and the bear itself of Satori’s story. (I almost wrote stori, lol.)


And what’s Satori doing now? She got a huge kick that we were able to draw on our floor, so I just had to take the chalk away. Now she’s playing with her new “town”. Tomorrow our whole family will re-enact Lentil’s story, as part of our Arts day – a good drama, I just know she’ll love this!