We read the book Mapping Penny’s World by Loreen Leedy in which a child draws a map of their bedroom. We toyed with the idea of having the class draw pictures of their bedrooms, but wanted to have a visual at the time they were drawing as a reference. After reading another book, As the Crow Flies by Gail Hartman that showed a map from a flying crows perspective, we decided to go to the highest point on our playground (on top of our slide) to get a visual as if we were a bird in flight.
After climbing to the top we asked the question, “If someone wanted to see what our playground looked like, could you draw them a map?” We started by taking a good look at the shape of the grounds. We noticed our playground is rectangle shaped, the same as the paper we were using to sketch on. While drawing we used the corners of our paper to mirror the corners of the playground. We pointed out identifying features (the snack tables, the big tree, the “boat”) to draw first and then filled in things in the middle (the slide, the sand boxes ect). We briefly touched on the concept of directions, using vocabulary like north, south, east and west and compass rose.
Once we had a rough sketch of our playground we moved back inside to use colored pencils. It was tricky to fit everything we wanted to draw on one sheet of paper. The children had to plan how big they could draw certain structures.
Everyone worked super hard on their playground map. Some of the children were really into making their map realistic while others had fun making their playground festive with rainbow colors!