5 Fun and Engaging Ways to Teach Continents and Oceans

One of the important concepts we teach in early elementary is about the great big world we live in. Students will learn about the world beyond where they live, digging into countries, continents, oceans, and more. There is a lot to learn so it is important to provide fun and engaging activities that will teach them the skills and help them practice. I like to include lots of different hands-on learning opportunities during this unit. This is a really fun unit that students enjoy and usually catch on to quickly! Here are 5 engaging activities to teach about oceans and continents that your students will love!

Looking for fun and engaging hands on ways to teach your students about continents and oceans? The activities in this bundle include everything you need to help your students learn the continents and oceans of the world.

1. Vocabulary Cards

When teaching any new lesson or concepts, students need to understand the words that go along with them. 

These vocabulary cards are the perfect way to kick off your unit on continents and oceans with easy to print and cut vocabulary cards to help students learn and master the vocabulary they will be exposed to during the unit.
I like to use vocabulary cards with definitions so students learn new words and what they mean. This is probably the first time students are learning the meaning of words like geography, hemisphere, and continent. If I've learned one thing over the years it is not to shy away from big words.  Our young students are eager to learn and they can grasp these words and concepts if we only take the time to teach them.

These vocabulary word and definition cards can be cut out and used in so many ways! I always start using them as part of our whole class lesson.  After I introduce the word and its meaning, we then talk about the picture and how it represents the word.  I've found that giving students a visual is a great way to help them learn these new words. 

After we've worked on the vocabulary as a class, I like to add the cards to a center.  Students can play a memory matching game with them or simply match up the word and definition on the floor or in a pocket chart.

Finally, these cards can be printed out in black & white and copied so that each student gets a set of cards.  They are perfect for adding to a social studies interactive notebook.

Once you set the stage with important vocabulary words, you can dive in deeper!

2. Student Readers

Individual student readers are a fun, hands-on way to teach about oceans and continents. With 2 non-fiction readers, you have everything you need to teach these topics and engage your students.   One of the student readers focuses on oceans and continents and the other reader highlights information about each continent 

The continents and oceans student readers are perfect for class lessons.All you need to do is print and staple then cut the two books apart. A great way to introduce the concepts in this unit.  I always begin by reading the book together as a class.  Once we are done students love to add these readers to their book boxes so they can read them again during independent reading time.   

These books will highlight the 7 continents and 5 oceans. After reading, there are some questions to review what was learned in the book. 

These student books are the perfect way to introduce oceans and continents to students in a fun, engaging way that students love! 

3. 3D World Map

Having students create a 3D world map just might be the student favorite activity in this unit.  Many students love maps, and when you add that to learning about the entire world you get a very exciting activity.  The students are thrilled when they get to create their very own world map.  

This is a great visual reference that will teach students where each continent and ocean is located and help them learn each name. 
Your students will love creating this 3D world map of the continents and oceans using pop up continents.

It is super simple to make as well. Students will cut out an oval shape on a big blue sheet of construction paper. Then they will color each continent and cut them out in squares to place onto the blue construction paper. 

Coloring and cutting will get those fine motor skills working and is a great hands-on way of teaching! Once everything is cut out, fold the bottom flap and glue your continent pieces onto the construction paper in their proper place. 

Students will end up with a 3D world map that shows them where each continent and ocean is located.  I love watching them tell their friends and family about the new places they have learned about.

4. Continent and Ocean Lap Book

Lap Books are a fabulous resource to use in the classroom when introducing new concepts. They go beyond basic note-taking and allow students to create a unique book packed with information on a certain subject. With activities that are similar to an interactive notebook, the continent and ocean lapbook will be one activity your students love completing.

A lapbook is a great interactive, hands on way to get your students excited about learning everything about continents and oceans during this fun unit.
It is an engaging, hands-on activity students love to create and will help them practice key concepts.  You can use a file folder or a large (12x18) piece of paper to create your lap book. Fold your piece of paper into 3 sections that will open from the center. 

Then get ready to color, cut, glue, and add all the important information from your continents and oceans unit! This lap book includes continent and ocean facts, a world map, key vocabulary words, a flap book about the continent the student lives on, and more! 

Each day I like to add a new piece to the lapbook that coordinates with what we learned about.  But, you can also create them at the end of the unit as a culminating or review activity. 

5. Writing Extension Activities 

Any time I can connect writing to a unit I do.  When students can assimilate what they have learned and apply it in writing, you know they have developed a good understanding of the topic or skill.  Adding some fun writing about continents and oceans is no exception.

This engaging writing activity will help your students record information as they learn about continents and oceans.
The first writing we do is an opinion writing piece.  After students learn about all the continents, they write about why they think their continent is the best.  This could also be modified to have them write about which continent they think is the best.  It's a great way to learn about writing opinions and supporting them with details.

Challenge students with some persuasive writing by having them persuade someone to visit a specific continent.  Similar to opinion writing, students will learn to write details that will persuade others.

Finally, it's really easy to add in some expository writing in this unit.  Whether students do a report on a continent or an ocean, or simply write about what they have learned, learning to write in an informational way is a great skill we can expose our students to.  

Teaching Continents and Oceans

When teaching continents and oceans, it can be so much more than just names and locations. There's so much information available that it can be a time-consuming process to sort through everything and find just what you need.  If you are looking for continents and oceans activities that are geared for early elementary then I have you covered!

I have taken all my favorite resources and activities for teaching about the seven continents and the oceans and put them together in one resource.  With everything right at your fingertips, you can quickly and easily plan your lessons. 

This bundle includes everything you will need to teach all about oceans and continents. 

Looking for fun and engaging hands on ways to teach your students about continents and oceans? The activities in this bundle include everything you need to help your students learn the continents and oceans of the world.

Save These Continent and Ocean Activities for Later!

Save yourself time and energy by pinning this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you are ready to teach your geography unit.

Looking for fun and engaging hands on ways to teach your students about continents and oceans? The activities in this bundle include everything you need to help your students learn the continents and oceans of the world.

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