Photo Map Activity

hands-on learning mapping

Much research has been done showing that students learn more easily when there is a personal connection made between a lesson and their lives. What if you used your family travels to create a photo map activity?! You’ll display memories and build geography skills at the same time.

One of my fondest family memories is traveling across the country in a Buick LeSabre. Like any family on a grand adventure, we took pictures all along the way. At every stop there was something to marvel at—be it the deliciously smoked beef brisket in Texas or the colossal faces of America’s greatest Presidents in South Dakota. And with each stop, with every picture there is a corresponding memory.

Let’s be honest. We all know that those amazing photos with those wild and adventurous memories inevitably went into a scrapbook—if they were lucky—or maybe even just a crate which eventually got stuck in a closet and may or may not have seen the light of day since.

I have a better idea!

Photo Map Activity

Create your own United States map into a visual reminder of where you and your children have been. Learn the names and geographical locations of each state by marking a map with a photo of you and your family IN that state.

Items You’ll Need:

  • A large map of the United States
  • Photos
  • Pencil
  • Tracing or copy paper
  • Scissors
  • Craft or Elmer’s glue

To make this memorable map, follow these 4 easy steps:

Purchase a map.

Wal-mart, Staples, Hobby Lobby, and Office Depot are great places to find wall maps. You can also search online for large maps.

Print your pictures.

Print your pictures making sure that the photo is large enough to cover the size and shape of the state. Some pictures may need to be 5×7 or 4×6, while for some of the smaller states a 3×2 wallet print may do.

dc field trip

Cut your pictures.

Cut the pictures in the shape of the states. Some may feel confident enough to free-hand this part…Be bold and go for it! For those of us not-so-daring souls, use copy or tracing paper to trace the shape from the map then cut-out the traced version and use as a tracing piece on your photo.

Glue your pictures.

Using craft or Elmer’s glue, evenly smear glue on the back of each picture and then place it on the corresponding state.

If your family does not travel much, or if you feel that you need more photo coverage on your map, why not put pictures of other family or friends who live in other states? For example: If grandparents live in North Carolina, place a picture of them on the map in place of North Carolina; if friends live in Ohio, place a picture of them where Ohio is on the map.

This photo map activity is a great opportunity to create new memories while remembering old ones and reinforce geography skills!

Landmark photos make for a great map while studying American History.

American History

Veteran history teacher Dave Raymond gives a comprehensive history of the United States by applying a Christian worldview to the characters, events, theology, literature, art, and religious beliefs of the nation.
Thomas Purifoy Jr

Author, Thomas Purifoy, Jr

A creative filmmaker who develops unique learning resources intended to advance the Kingdom of God. Thomas helped develop a classical-based curriculum, and taught philosophy, Old Testament, film and history at the American School of Lyon, France. Thomas studied English at Vanderbilt University and is a former Officer in the US Navy. He currently oversees Compass Classroom and Compass Cinema.