Teaching Location DIY

We have this amazing parent at the school where I work who volunteers in one of our kindergarten classrooms on her days off.  And she doesn’t just volunteer in the sense that she’ll make copies, record scores, sort papers, or help run centers…..she’ll create incredible learning activities for kids on her own time and bring them in and donate them to the classroom.

When I saw the set of Russian nesting dolls that she made last spring to help teach kids general location I knew I had to make my own set to use with Georgia and share with all of you.  General location is a tricky thing to understand for young kids.  The idea that we live in a city that is inside a state that is inside a country that is part of a continent that is part of the world is tough.  And kids older than kindergartners have a tough time with this too.

These nesting dolls are a perfect illustration of how this concept works and helps students ‘see’ that a city is smaller than a state.  Here’s what you need to get started:


First:  Paint each of your dolls a different color.  I let Georgia help me with this part.  And it wasn’t the neatest thing to do together–but she loved it.




Second:  Let your dolls dry completely.  I let mine sit for about 24 hours.


Third:  Paint your dolls with the appropriate locations.  I painted Georgia, our house, our city, our state, our country, and the world on mine…..from smallest to largest. I had to employ the help of my very talented mom to paint a few things.



When they’re all done, spray them with a shiny acryllic spray and let them dry.  It won’t take more than an hour for the dolls to dry.



Then, show your kiddo how the dolls fit together and explain to them why each one goes into the next one.  Georgia loves the little one that I painted to look like her and thinks it’s great how perfectly it fits inside her “house.”


And once we went through it a few times it was amazing how a three year old could tell me when I asked her, “We live in Michigan and it’s in the United States, and it’s part of the world.”  She loved telling it to me while she placed each doll inside the next one.  Hands-on learning is fantastic at any age, but especially for the pre-school set who learn best by doing.


Do this!  It’s so much fun and the gratifying feeling that comes with watching your child grasp a tricky concept is a pay-off you deserve as a parent.  Location, location, location…….it’s important!

Post by Maggie Terryn : Mom Colored Glasses