8 geography curriculum ideas for 4th grade

8 Engaging 4th Grade Geography Curriculum Ideas for Homeschooling

Inside: An engaging curriculum for 4th grade geography is a combination of books and hands-on resources. Read on to find out more details about each of them and get more ideas you can incorporate in your geography study for 4th grade.

Welcome to our journey through 4th grade geography!

As we embark on this exciting educational adventure, I chose to focus on materials that are dynamic and diverse.

I feel geography is more than just memorizing maps and capitals and I want to make sure I use this subject as an opportunity to keep developing a love for learning and curiosity in my son.

This year, we’re taking a unique approach (which proved to work time and again for us) that combines structured learning with the flexibility and joy of free exploration.

Our curriculum for 4th grade geography is a combination of books and hands-on resources. Read on to find out more details about each of them or check this post to see what curriculum we chose for 4th grade for the rest of the subjects.

4th grade geography curriculum and enichment ideas-monkeyandmom

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4th Grade Geography Curriculum Overview

This is the first year we will do any formal geography (until now we just discussed it and read from various books, nothing structured).

While I intend to use a spine and add some formal work, I still want to keep it light and fun for Marc. That’s why I chose it as an elective from our school, Bridgeway Academy, which means less pressure and no testing. We just need to submit some samples of what we’ve done.

We love using Evan Moor for various electives because their workbooks are so light and engaging. We loved using their Daily Geography series (check my review of the series) as well, but it was geared more toward the U.S. and I really wanted to tackle Europe this year. If you want a focus on the American Continents, check out their Daily Geography Grade 4.

For the main spine, we use two books from Evan Moor:

  • Skill Sharpeners Geography Grade 4 – this covers broader topics from around the world.
  • The 7 Continents- Europe – this focuses on Europe.

Additionally, we are also using what I call enriching or supportive materials:

  • The Usborne Geography Encyclopedia – for quick references and beautiful explanations.
  • The Barefoot Books World Atlas – a beautiful atlas and an app we adore.
  • A Child’s Introduction to the World – gorgeous book with clear explanations of geographical elements and the continents.
  • Sticker books – just for fun to do while I read aloud.
  • Games and manipulatives – to make geography hands-on.
  • Let’s Go! Geography – a wonderful hands-on, engaging curriculum for k-5 that deep-dives into various countries.

Just in case you want to do things differently, I also found some intersting looking unit studies and apps for you.

If you’re looking for something Europe-specific, these Europe Unit Study printables are the perfect addition to any curriculum to spice things up.

And what is geography without some tech fun? The best geography apps are those that work for your family, so don’t be shy about trying out multiple apps and games. They work wonders in cementing those concepts.

geography grade 4 homeschooling
Geography curriculum for 4th grade

1. Skill Sharpeners Geography for 4th grade

The two main books we will use as curriculum this year are from Evan Moor. I just love their workbooks!

The first one is Skill Sharpeners Geography 4. It’s a very colorful and light workbook. It’s divided into sections that contain reading texts, answering questions, a review, an activity, and a short written assignment.

I chose it because it covers a lot of geography-related topics from all over the world. It’s light enough and easy to do independently by Marc.
See some examples below and how Marc filled them up.

skill sharpeners geography grade 4

We loved the “care package” activity. We quickly pulled a box and started brainstorming what items someone might need on a long voyage at sea.

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I helped him think of the aspects of living at sea by asking him questions:

  • When you are at sea, there are strong winds and the sun is harsh, what would you need? (sunscreen)
  • Being all day long on a ship can become very ……? (boring) So, what would you do to chase your boredom away?

    At this point, he started suggesting the sailor needed a phone LOL! I told him they wouldn’t be able to charge it and wouldn’t have a signal. His solution was he would take a very long electricity cable with him from land. Typical Marc. …. So we discussed how books could help. He immediately ran to bring all of his Harry Potter collection…

You can see more of what he chose below.

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Care package for a sailor activity

For the last activity, he had to write a journal entry.

Since writing compositions is something he loathes, we discussed it together. Marc wrote it down on a scrap of paper and he will copy it in the workbook later.
It was really cool activity, imagining himself as a sailor-explorer finding a new island.

We chose one island from Magellan’s map (pictured in the book) and then searched Google images to see what it looked like, how it would look like from the sea, what sea it was in, etc.

Then we imagined what you might find there, what sensations the sailors might have experienced, what their dinner must have been, and so on. It was a fantastic exercise in imagination and creativity. It was also a great occasion to reinforce descriptions use the five senses, which he always tends to forget.

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2. Evan Moor- The 7 Continents – Europe

The second book by Evan Moor is The 7 Continents – Europe.

One reason I love Evan Moor is that you can choose the PDF option for most of their books and this is one of them. They have a full collection for each of the continents in PDF or print format.

I got this with my one-year Teacher Filebox subscription but gave up the subscription because I wasn’t using it enough and because I couldn’t use it to print full books, just pieces of them which didn’t work well for us. I had to then combine all files into a book that we would use (we are not fans of “loose” papers or systems that use the pieces of curriculum each week because we simply don’t have enough space to keep them).

The printed pages on this one are not of good quality because I was running low on toner …oops!

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I like the book because it treats a whole continent from multiple perspectives, starting with the relative and absolute locations, size of countries by population, country size, landscapes, animals, cultural aspects, and more.

It’s suited for older students (grades 4-6) and I would have probably chosen it from 5th grade up, but since we are doing geography as an elective Marc will just be introduced to each topic and I have no high expectations of him remembering much.

I also love the fact that he can work independently from it (YAY!)

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I made a printable from 7 Continents Europe with the mountains presented in the book because I felt the need for a little more colorful presentation.

3. Usborne Geography Encyclopedia

Usborne Geography Encyclopedia is an ideal tool for enriching any 4th grade geography curriculum.

This comprehensive book offers a detailed overview of various earth science and geography topics. It’s packed with information about our planet, covering physical characteristics, and offering a continent-by-continent look at the world’s peoples and governments.

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Usborne Geography Encyclopedia

What makes this encyclopedia stand out are its rich illustrations, superb photographs, clear explanatory diagrams, and detailed maps. These visual elements make it not only informative but also engaging for young learners.

The book is organized by subject, covering aspects like planet earth, rivers and oceans, earthquakes and volcanoes, world ecosystems, and peoples of each continent.

This structure allows for an organized and approachable introduction to geography and world cultures.

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Usborne Geography Encyclopedia

Furthermore, the encyclopedia includes internet links throughout, which are incredibly helpful when explaining new concepts to children. These links lead to videos, fact files, and additional activities, enhancing the learning experience by providing opportunities to explore topics further. This feature has been priceless for us because it means I don’t have to dig for appropriate videos and activities anymore.

4. Barefoot Books – World Atlas and App

Barefoot Books World Atlas is just a gorgeous book and a perfect enrichment for your 4th grade geography curriculum of choice.

This book, written by Nick Crane and illustrated by David Dean, is not just informative but also a visual delight for kids and parents alike.

Each section is laid out by geographic region, filled with colorful and detailed illustrations that bring our world to life. It’s perfect for kids aged 8-12, making it just right for 4th graders.

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The atlas goes beyond just maps and countries; it dives into the diverse cultures, animals, and ways people across the globe take care of our planet. It’s an eye-opener for young minds about the interconnectedness of our world.

One of the coolest things about this book is the interactive features. There’s a pull-out map and fold-out booklets and panels, which are all hand-painted.

These elements make learning geography hands-on and fun.

We loved exploring this map, finding countries, or marking geographical features they learn about. It’s a practical and engaging way to learn.

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And here’s a fun addition – there’s an app that goes with the Barefoot Books World Atlas!

The app turns exploring the globe into an interactive experience. Your child can spin a 3D globe on the screen, tap on different countries, and learn so much more. They have a free and a paid version, and we opted for the paid add-ons for more features.

5. A Child’s Introduction to the World

A Child’s Introduction to the World is another gorgeous book that I urge you to check out.

It’s well written so that the terms used are very accessible to young kids while the information isn’t dumbed down.

There is a whole collection of these books and they are all beautiful! I love how it explains pretty complex terms like the hemispheres in an easy-to-understand manner without losing anything from the essentials.

I feel Marc understands things better if we explore them from different perspectives, and that’s what this beautiful book is offering us: a way to reinforce the concepts we are learning in the spine geography curriculum.

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I LOVE the gorgeous hand-painted illustrations and the interactive parts of this! It comes with a foldable 3D globe that’s just pretty and small stickers that kids can stick on the globe as they go through the book.

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The careful balance of illustration and information doesn’t overwhelm 4th graders but it also offers enough information to either rouse curiosity to find more or simply to answer more questions. We love studying maps, and trying to pinpoint capital cities in major countries and Marc if having fun reading the facts out loud to me.

Geography through reading (and literature-based-learning) in general offers learning in context and I love how various facts we read about just stick better than if we solely followed a geography curriculum on its own.

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A Child’s Introduction to the World book

I appreciate how words that might be unknown to kids are explained in a seamless manner inside the text, like the root of “sub-Saharan” pictured above. This is beautiful while you read it aloud because kids won’t interrupt to ask you to explain what words mean.

All in all, A Child’s Introduction to the World is a beautiful book, worth having in your homeschool collection, especially if you want to teach 4th grade geography naturally, just by exploring beautiful resources.

6. Sticker Books for 4th Grade Geography

In our exploration of geography, we will be incorporating two delightful sticker books to add an interactive and engaging element to our lessons. There are many more available and you can pick and choose depending on what topics you want to cover in your 4th grade geography specifically.

The first book we will use is the Usborne Sticker Atlas of the World, a vibrant and informative book that offers a hands-on approach to learning about different countries and cultures. Usborne’s range of sticker and geography books are well-known for their ability to make learning fun and memorable, so be sure to check out their other titles as well.

Alongside the Usborne atlas, we’ll also be using a second sticker book that I stumbled upon in a second-hand store. It’s been sitting on our shelf, eagerly awaiting its turn to be a part of our learning journey. I believe it’s going to be a fantastic addition, especially when we delve into specific topics or regions.

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So if your kids like a more hands-on approach, make sure to stash a few sticker books or even coloring books (Marc doesn’t like coloring).

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7. Manipulatives for 4th Grade Geography

And now the super FUN part! Using hands-on for teaching a 4th grader geography is the way to go! They are more likely to remember details if they use their senses to cement or even acquire information. So we place a special importance on manipulatives.

But what manipulatives are there for geography? We found puzzles (we LOVE the ones where the puzzle pieces are shaped like the countries not like a regular puzzle piece), an inflatable glove that’s easier to use and carry around than the classical ones, and cards to play games with.

If you have more geography manipulatives in mind, do let me know in the comments. I am always on the lookout for these.

So the first one up is a wooden puzzle we found locally. We have both a World Puzzle like this and the Europe Puzzle pictured below. Marc learned so much from these! There’s no need to drill him on countries because after playing with taking these apart and putting them together again, the names of the countries just stick in his head. What’s more, he is also learning the relative positions of each and is now able to say the neighbors of some countries. Which is basically all I want from a 4th-grade geography curriculum.

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I made a short video of M. trying to solve the puzzle. It’s obvious he doesn’t yet know all the countries’ locations but he will learn them by play and repetition.

8. Let’s Go Geography – Curriculum for 4th Grade (Enrichment)

And I am saving for last the coolest resource of all to enrich geography of all!

An awesome gem I discovered a couple of years back and I kept postponing buying it because we weren’t into geography at the time.

Let’s Go Geography is a comprehensive and interactive homeschool geography curriculum that has been designed to cater to various learning styles.

This curriculum allows children from Kindergarten to 5th grade to explore different countries, diving into their cultures, maps, flags, and more.

Let’s Go Geography is a wonderful curriculum developed by a veteran homeschool mom, Carol Henderson, who still teaches geography and history in co-ops today.

This program is all about hands-on, incorporating activities like map exploration, flag coloring, video watching, writing projects, and crafts. These activities keep children engaged and excited about learning geography.

Each pdf treats a single country, and it contains information about it, a coloring page, nice photos, links to videos, and a fun craft project. I love how she keeps expanding this so it already has a pretty big collection of countries.

See the video posted below to get a glimpse into how the PDFs are laid out.

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I absolutely love using this curriculum for going down rabbit trails. It would be impossible for us to cover all the countries, but whenever we have a country that seems interesting or pops around in what we read or study about, I like pulling out a PDF from Let’s GO Geography and just exploring it with Marc as much as he wants to, no pressure.

Let’s Go Geography also offers a great deal of flexibility, allowing you to use the lessons in any order and at your own pace. This flexibility is beneficial for tailoring the program to fit the specific needs and interests of your child or group.

Additionally, the curriculum includes craft projects for younger students (Grades K-2) and journaling pages for older students (Grades 3-5), providing a balanced mix of creative and reflective learning activities.

I love them because they are different. They were made with homeschoolers in mind and have very interesting information about each country. You can go to her website and download a sample of Alaska to see it for yourself. 

They are very easy to adapt to multiple grade levels, easy to blend in with other curricula (which I am planning to do this year)! They provide not only information but hands-on learning and interesting online videos. I am sure we will have a blast going through some of them this year.

Final Thoughts

Learning about our world doesn’t have to be a rigid or overly structured process. In fact, I feel the more flexible the approach, the better.

Our 8 Engaging 4th Grade Geography Curriculum Ideas are a testament to this philosophy, blending structured learning with a variety of quality, engaging materials that can be pulled out as needed or used as a spine for our studies.

The key to a successful geography curriculum, especially at this critical stage before middle school, is to keep it light, fun, and engaging. Kids should enjoy the process and develop a genuine interest in discovering more about the world around them. This is where hands-on learning becomes invaluable, even as students grow older and face more academic demands.

I can’t wait to see what this year brings and to hopefully manage to transmit an interest for geography in Marc as he is exploring all these beautiful resources.

Do you have any other recommendations? Did you discover a geography must-have? Let me know in the comments so I can check it out and other parents might get inspired as well!

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