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Geography for Kids: 8 Awesome Atlases

It’s so important for kids to understand (and appreciate!) geography these days! 

The world has become a much smaller place now that social media has taken a front seat in our lives.  It seems to be a daily discussion at our house — a current event, the coming of the Olympics, a great photo in my Instagram feed illicits the question “Where is that place?

And one of my FAVORITE ways to introduce the places & culture from around the world is by using an atlas.

Unlike when we were kids, atlases aren’t just a ‘boring book of maps’ — they include so many cool details.  In fact, the one item on our 10 Things to do Before Your Next Road Trip list that is so popular with our readers is the Kids’ Atlas! 

So sit back, relax and browse some of our favorite books that explore the world along with some fun map activites the kids will love too!



Virutal field trips, world news reports and easier travel opportunities bring every country in the world right to our front door!  Not to mention the number of times kids learn about different countries at school. 

I love to have an atlas around the house for all those “Where is that?!” questions that come up when we’re discussing places around the world.  We’re including links to each of these wonderful books along with other geography resources so you can check out which ones your kids will enjoy the most!


 Fun geography activities for kids using maps, globes and atlases

Even though an atlas is by definition a book of maps, I’ve still found it super helpful to have a actual map or globe on hand as we browse these books.  I think being able to see the entire world at one time really helps kids to get a better idea of country sizes, location and distance. 

We have a few types of maps that we use at our house including a Kids Dry Erase World Wall Map that’s perfect when we want to record items — for example, when we map our summer reading activities

It’s also great to have a Kids Desktop Globe especially when you’re discussing time zones or lines of latitude and longitude.  If your short on space, try this Inflatable World Globe . We also love using a Explore the World Placemat World Map placemat or Mini globe Mini Tilt Globe


 Related Activity:  Why Every Home Needs a Map!


One of our new favorites!  The  Atlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe is a wonderfully oversized book with such amazing illustrations.  We love the cultural details for countries from around the world — the book includes an insert shot to show where in the world each country is located but the real draw of this atlas is the incredible details given to natural landmarks and local celebrations.  Perfect for kids ages 4 – 14 years old.


 If you’re hitting the road this summer, bring along the National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas: Maps, Games, Activities, and More for Hours of Backseat Fun.  The kids will enjoy learning about fun places around the US while they play games and finish geography challenges and puzzles.  A fun activity book for kids ages 6 – 12 years old.


Another oversized book, Maps has gorgeous illustrations of the wildlife found around the world.  I really love how this book can expand your child’s vocabulary for both geographic terms, cultural items and animals too.  Geo-location inserts are included on each page so it’s easy for kids to get an idea of where on the globe various countries can be found. 


The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book: Mind-Blowing Stuff on Every Country in the World is an amazing look at the people & culture from around the world.  We LOVE the cool details found in this book — so many things you don’t learn in school!  Each country has a small highlight map that kids can use to find its’ location on the world map located in the back of the book.  A great read for kids ages 8+ especially as they study world history.


Younger kids will enjoy this interactive My Pop-up World Atlas with bright colors and illustrations.  Each continent has it’s own dedicated pages with flaps, tabs and gorgeous illustrations that feature people and landmarks from around the globe.  Perfect for kids ages 4 – 8 years old.


While not having as much detail as other atlases on our list, the Barefoot Books World Atlas does a nice job of highlighting the natural enviornment and how the world is interconnected.  Kids will enjoy the flaps, mini-books and sidebar details about countries and oceans around the world.  An intro to the worlds for kids 6 – 9 years.


If you’d like a more traditional atlas, especially for road trips, try the Rand McNally Kids’ Road Atlas.  Kids will be able to follow along as your family travels all the main interstates across the country.  The atlas also has a travel puzzle and details for each of the states.  A great option for kids ages 8+ who want to follow along while you travel.


Using amazing photography and fun details, the National Geographic Kids World Atlas is a wonderful resource book to have on hand for all those homework projects the kids will have over the years.  The book includes geography games, picture puzzles and more fun ways for kids to learn about countries around the world.  A good resources for ages 8 – 15 years old.



kids geography books and activities

If you love taking virtual trips around the world, be sure to see our other book lists too!

Around the World in 30 Books

Book Series that Take Kids Across the Globe



Map Your Summer Reading

10 Culture & Map Activities for Kids