How to Teach Children About Cardinal Directions

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The cardinal directions represented by the four points of the compass, north, south, east and west. Elementary students can understand cardinal directions when they learn about them in a kid-friendly way. To teach kids cardinal directions, explain the relationship between the four directions and then let the kids explore find their way around using those directions. With a variety of educational activities to suit every child's learning style, you can introduce the concept of cardinal directions in your classroom.

Things You'll Need

  • Construction paper and markers
  • Song lyrics
  • Small toy
  • Put up visual aids in your classroom for the four cardinal directions: north, east, south and west. On the east and west walls, place a sign that shows a picture and names one of the cardinal directions. On the east wall, place a cutout of the sun that has an arrow pointing up to show the sunrise; on the west wall, attach a cutout of the sun that has an arrow pointing down to show the sunset. Your classroom is now a tool for teaching the cardinal directions. On the north wall, have an arrow that points up; on the south wall, have an arrow that points down.

  • Rearrange your classroom so that all seats face the north wall. This makes it easier for your students to practice the cardinal directions. Explain that there are four main directions a person can go: north, east, south and west. Show how you have labeled these directions on the walls.

  • Ask the students to stand up. Ask them to point forward; this is north. Then, ask them to point to the right; this is east. If they point behind them, this is south. If they point to the left, this is west. Repeat this for a while and then play a version of Simon Says where you tell them to point in a variety of directions and see how many get it right.

  • Play a song about the cardinal directions. Some children learn better when they have a song or a rhyme to help them memorize information like this.

  • Play a cardinal direction scavenger hunt game. Ask one student to go in the hallway, and hide a small toy in your room. The other students must direct the student from the hallway to find the hidden toy, telling him only which cardinal direction to go. Play this a few times, letting other children have a turn giving and receiving directions.

References

  • Photo Credit MarkFGD/iStock/Getty Images
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