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Ingenious activities to teach the cardinal points to children


North South East and west. We all know what the cardinal points are and towards what place each one points, but even you as an adult can you locate exactly where they are without the help of a compass? Some probably will, but others find it particularly difficult (and I confess that I am part of the latter group). Therefore, faced with this difficulty, in Guiainfantil.com we propose some ingenious and fun activities with which you can teach the cardinal points to children as well as orientation. And by the way, learn them too!

A good way to prevent your children from knowing either locate the cardinal points well in the future it is teaching them from an early age to locate them, both with a compass and by themselves. In this way they will be able to have a better orientation in case they need it to ask for help and reduce the risks of getting lost in a place.

So first of all, let's refresh our memory. Only if you are very clear about the cardinal points can you explain them to your children or students.

- What are the cardinal points?
The cardinal points are the four locations or poles that form the Cartesian reference system, with which we can get an exact location on a map, of any location on the planet. These points are related to the location of the sun (which represents east and west) and we can also orient ourselves by the location of the stars, specifically Ursa Major (which represents north).

- Why is it important to know the cardinal points?
Let's start this explanation with a little history. The great adventurers and astronomers managed to locate every piece of land on the planet, thanks to its Cartesian location. Thanks to that, we now know where each country is, how to go on an excursion without getting lost or how to read coordinates.

But in addition, this orientation system helped them not to lose their way, therefore, no matter what place they were going to explore, they could always return home, since they could locate their north.

These points or cardinal directions are represented by:

  • The North: Also known as the Northern or Boreal. It represents the location of the north pole and we can find it at the top of any map, since it indicates 'the top' of the world and we can locate it through the Big Dipper in the starry sky.
  • The South: Called MeridiĆ³n or Austral. It indicates the location of the south pole, the lower end of the world and the opposite side of the north, which is why it is always represented at the bottom of the maps.
  • The East: Known as Oriente or Levante. We can easily locate it, thanks to the fact that this is the place where the sun rises in the morning.
  • West: Also called the West or the West. Its name derives from the moment where the sun sets, since it does so right over this location, as opposed to the east, which is where it rises.

However, these points can also be related, despite their oppositional nature. For example, in geographical locations we can find locations that are at the points: Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast.

[Read +: Educational resources to learn geography at home]

Now that we have a little clearer what the cardinal points are, we start with what is really fun: learning! And, for this, we propose some games and activities that you can propose to children so that they learn to locate and orient themselves according to the cardinal points.

1. Locate with your body
This activity is very simple, you only need to stand in the patio or garden of your home and look in the direction of the sun, although you can also guide yourself with a compass. Ask your child to open his arms to the sides, where the left represents the west, the right the east, the front is the north and the back the south and ask him to look with one of his arms where the sun is pointing. What will that cardinal point be?

To make it even easier, you can wait for sunset, so that you can see more easily, how your left points to the western sun and thus you can locate the rest of the cardinal points.

2. Simon says
Once your child can position himself correctly, you can play 'Simon Says' with him. It will allow you to practice this new knowledge and begin to develop a sense of the rest of the geographic locations. You can start with 'Simon says ... let's go north' and after a while you can continue with 'Simon says ... let's go southwest' or 'Simon says ... let's run south.'

3. Treasure hunt
The 'Treasure Hunt' is another excellent activity to practice the cardinal points outdoors in an entertaining and very educational way. To do this, use your imagination and place in your garden or in a park, several hidden treasures that your child must search with a map and several clues that you will place with Cartesian references.

For example: 'Begin your search in the center, until you find the four treasures. The sun will be your guide and the adventure begins there. It starts with 10 steps west. Then you have to take two huge jumps to the north ... 'You can leave new clues in each treasure, which have the other geographical directions, to make the activity more interesting and challenging, where you have to accumulate extra points or a' special key ' to get the next treasure.

4. Make up a story
This is a great idea so that your children can review what they learned at night before going to sleep and the information is perfectly recorded in their brain. Use your imagination and create a short story, in which they can locate the cardinal points. For example:

'The sun greets you from the East, it rises early to shine every day, if you want to greet it, raise your right arm. If you want a great adventure, keep going to go straight north, if you want to find the right location, always look north.

If you are looking for a new direction, you can go south and perhaps you will reach the end of the world, you just have to follow the steps behind your back and return through these to return home before sunset, where you must say goodbye to the sun, as it is leaving to sleep on your left, to the west, to be able to rest and bring a new adventure tomorrow. '

You can read more articles similar to Ingenious activities to teach the cardinal points to children, in the Games on Site category.

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