Sandpaper Continent Globe (buy here) is one of the very first geography materials to introduce to your child at around two years of age, as this activity is primarily concrete in nature (and is less abstract than the Colored Globe presentation. With Sandpaper Globe, you would explain that our Earth is a sphere and that it is made up of land and water. The land on this globe is raised and is represented by sandpaper, which feels rough to the touch, while the water is smooth to the touch. With this material, the child learns to distinguish land vs water, while predominantly stimulating child’s tactile senses.
Further, explain that the land is divided into different parts, and we call these parts continents. Invite the child to feel the roughness of all the continents, and do a brief 3🅿️🌠 Period Lesson. (Read detailed presentation on a 3🅿️🌠 Three Period Lesson here.) Let the child show you a large continent, a small continent, a really small one ~ an island, etc.
Continue by telling that our planet also has water - oceans, which are smooth to the touch on a Sandpaper globe. Ask the child to show you an ocean and do a brief 3🅿️🌠 Period Lesson. You may also blindfold the child, spin the globe, and have the child point to the globe. Where did the finger point to? Land or water? Out of ten times, did the child blind-folded point more to land or water? (Hint: our planet has more water than land, so most likely the child's finger will point more to oceans rather than continents.)
To make this activity more hands-on and interactive, add some transportation units to your globe study.
Here, Adrian placed a boat on water/ocean part of the globe.
Offer a little shallow dish with water to let the child have a sensorial experience with it.
Stimulating tactile senses by feeling the roughness of a continent.
A really small part of the land, surrounded by water is called an island.
Cars go on a continent/land part of the globe.
As a result of this presentation, Adrian (at 29 months) was able to correctly name "water/ocean" and "land/continent" when asked, "What is this?" during the 3rd Period of the Three Period Lesson. Once the child is able to complete the 3🅿️🌠 Three Period Lesson with a Sandpaper globe, it is time to move on to the Colored Globe presentation (read a post here.)