As a person who never studied world geography (or maybe slept through it?), I find it fascinating with the idea that my children are able to draw maps of the world freehand by the end of 7th grade! Although it seems impossible, taking baby steps to get there certainly has made it possible for us. (And to think I could barely fill in the state names on a blank copy of a U.S. map by the end of 7th grade!)
With our lower elementary level children, we practice tracing maps and drawing circular “blob” maps (sort of inconsistently, ahem…) in addition to our geography memory work. But I’ve wanted to have a slightly more accurate “blob” map to work with so that it becomes more natural to transition to the actual shapes of the continents. So, after a year of procrastination…
There are two sets – one to use across an entire sheet of paper (for simply learning to do this freehand on a sheet of paper without a template) and another that uses a more accurate spacing for the major circles of latitude (since an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper is not wide enough for accurate spacing).
Scroll down to download an example of each map, or purchase a formatted PDF digital download of the entire Continental Blob Mapping Packet for your family or classroom, along with simple instructions for use. This pdf now includes the Southern Ocean!
Continental Blob Mapping Packet
Item: Continental Blob Mapping Packet Family or Classroom License
Price: $4.99 (for family or classroom use)
Format: PDF Download (13 pages)
Are you a director of a co-op or school? Purchase the community license!
Our 4th grader is using these to memorize the placement of the continents without looking at a map. For those who previously read our Breakfast Notebook post, this is included as one of our notebooking activities. It takes less than 5 minutes (unless we are working on a grid map).
These templates provide another version of continental “blob” mapping using a combination of triangles and rectangles with curved edges – simple drawings that can still be easily memorized but a bit more accurate than the circles and ovals we were previously drawing.
The maps below do not include the Southern Ocean. The Southern Ocean update, along with additional maps (such as the blobs without labels), are included in the Continental Blob Mapping Packet.
Blob Maps with Equator & Prime Meridian Only. To download a free copy of each page shown below, click on the captions below each picture.
Blob Maps with Great Circles. To download a free copy of each page shown below, click on the captions below each picture.
How we’ve used blob maps during our notebook time.
I especially enjoyed his interpretation of Oceania. (Hey! That’s how I would draw it!)
Note: We have taught geography for a few years now, so our 9-year-old has seen the world maps over and over again. And he’s traced laminated maps with markers over and over again. Repetition is what made him familiar with the extra details, but the blob maps have helped him to place the continents more accurately on a blank sheet of paper with very little effort.
If you’re looking for instructions on drawing each continent in greater detail, I recommend the Draw the… [Continent] books by Kristin Draeger. During our study of American history we use Draw the USA to memorize the states. It’s a great way to simplify memorizing how to draw the USA free-hand. We also love using Pin It Maps to learn capitals and physical features.
Purchase a formatted PDF digital download of the entire Continental Blob Mapping Packet with simple instructions.
Are you a co-op director? Purchase the community license!
Price: $9.99 (reproducible for community use, up to 60 children)
Format: PDF Download (13 pages) – Community License