Whether my children and I are reading about science, history, or literature, I often find myself wanting a blank map they can color, label, or in some way, interact with. Maps on the wall are great for browsing and pointing out locations, but sometimes I want something different.
Blank maps are great tools for younger children to color. They may not know all the country names, but it’s sure gets them familiar with the country and continent shapes. Blank maps are also useful for slightly older children who can write. They can label continents and oceans or country names. Some of my children like to trace maps on our LED light table and a blank version allows them to do this easily. If the map does not have political, country lines, the student can draw and label a continent’s natural features. They can do the same with enlarged country maps.
In these situations, I find myself spending an hour online looking for the perfect map and it’s so annoying! Sometimes, the map is just impossible to find, such as an enlarged, blank map of Estonia. So, in the last year, I’ve resorted to drawing my own maps. It may not be perfect, but it’s often faster than getting lost in the internet.
Recently, I found several online map making tools and I am happy to put my map drawing days behind me. I’m only listing online tools that are free and do not require memberships (free or paid). Who has time to remember another log in?
Online Map Making Tools
I love D-Maps. The site has maps of each continent and country with optional elements to include, such as country names, rivers, counties, major cities, major roads, and lines of latitude/longitude. So, if I want that map of Estonia, this is the place to go. Below, I selected a map of Estonia featuring major cities. Love it.
D-Maps also features historical maps, which I haven’t used much personally, but I hope to get more acquainted with it since the rest of the site has proven so useful.
Owl & Mouse’s Mega Maps
Owl & Mouse, http://yourchildlearns.com/owlmouse.htm, is a broadly focused, free online educational software. They have all sorts of games and resources for reading, writing, numbers, and lastly, maps.
I admit I can get a little lost on Owl & Mouse’s website. There’s so much content that I get distracted and after a few clicks I forgot why I even visited the site to begin with. How can I resist a geography puzzle or quiz? So, I get sucked in and lose another hour.
The value in this site is its MegaMaps. This feature allows you to print maps in a variety of sizes from a single page, or to cover 8×8 pages and fill an entire wall. So cool.
This year, my children are reviewing the countries of Europe and Africa. So, I’m considering printing a 3 page x 3 page mega map of each continent to hang on the wall. It’s so big that there’s space for my older child to write the country name, my animal lover to draw an animal, and my youngest to color it all in. I’ll let you know how it works out.
I hope these tools are helpful to you. Happy map making!