So, this is old news to anyone who has been to our house, especially in the kitchen, but I don't care. I still love that we did this and are doing it.
Months ago, we bought a laminated world map- a giant one, it almost takes up a whole wall in the kitchen. We debated on several places... should it go in the living room, we thought? But there ended up being no wall space it would fit on other than the kitchen, right above the table where we eat all our meals. At first, when it showed up in the mail and we unrolled it, I kind of regretted going SO BIG and putting it in the kitchen. I mean, you have no choice but to look at it. But it ended up being an awesome idea.
It is so big, you can see teeny tiny countries and islands that otherwise go unnoticed or forgotten. Chris and I started using stickers to mark places we have been so far. We daydream about where we want to go next. We think out loud, "oh wow, is that where that is?" We learn from it all the time- you can't NOT learn from it, when it is right there in front of you as a backdrop to your cereal or pasta. Since it is laminated, when the kids inevitably get food on it, I can just wipe it clean. I can also use dry erase markers on it, which can be wiped clean as well.
To begin giving the kids an idea of how vast the world is (Aurelia mainly for now, but I plan to do the same with Azrael) I told her we are "theeeeese small" and "located riiight here" pointing on the map at Pennsylvania. I'm not sure if she really gets it just yet, but that's ok, she will. I also taught her between 25-30 different animals. What they eat, what they look like, where they live, etc.
Now that she knows close to 30 animals, I also plan on finding books that discuss different cultures around the world, and putting it into context in a similar way. Of course, I am keeping it fairly simple for her (she IS only 2.) I use lots of pictures and only give her a few simple facts about each animal/topic that I feel she is able to retain.
I can't wait to really get my use out of this map- it is going to be COVERED by the time we are done with it haha.