Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Maps for The Young and Clueless

This is what your child sees from the booster in the back seat. 
Here's an unhappy side effect of keeping kids in the backseat forever and never letting them walk anywhere: they have no idea where the hell they are. On top of that, once they turn fifteen or sixteen, they will be allowed to get in the car and drive, even though they've never developed any meaningful navigational skills.

So what?, you might say. They'll just plug in the car's navigation system, or ask Siri for assistance, or even call me for help. Well, I say that's just ridiculous. Personal navigation skills are vital, and can't be taught from the back seat. That's why a kid needs a map of her city, preferably mounted on foam board, hanging in her room. Purchase a good street map (we live in LA, so I chose one with detail but not every single street). Mount it on thicker foam board using rubber cement and a plastic smoothing device found at your local art supply store. Hang it on the wall and break out the push pins. Show your kid where the house is, where the school is, the grocery store, the grandparents' house, the best friend's adode, and anyplace else of interest. Pin these places, and I don't mean Pinterest. Trust me, the kid will study it, learning the lay of their land in an entirely new way.

You can find a vast variety of wall maps (rolled, not folded) at Maps.com. And this gift idea would work for any child, in any city. It's one easy way to teach some very valuable life skills.

No comments: