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Leisure

Teach Your Child How to Read a Compass

Learning how to read a compass is a very simple procedure. If you and your family are outdoor enthusiasts teaching your children how to use a compass is not only important, it’s a necessity. Understanding North, South, East and West can be a difficult aspect for young children, therefore it is suggested that you teach older children who understand the concept of the compass.

Grades 3rd – 6th
When teaching young children how to use a compass the first aspects you will need to teach them are the directions on a map. Show them where North, South, East and West line-up on the map and on a compass. Letting them know that no matter where they stand in the world, the compass always points toward the North Pole, due to the magnetic field. The compass is an amazing device as it is attracted to the north automatically, all the time.

CompassOnce you have the compass outside hold it up and explain to your child if they are needing to go south to go home or find their way to something, they hold the compass up and watch where the needle points. Once the needle lands and points toward the north, they will need to go the complete opposite direction to go in the way of south.

When you are traveling in the car, continuously explain to your child the direction you are going, “We are taking I-35 North to the doctors. EThen on the way back home, “now that we are traveling home we have to take I-35 South, North and south run parallel. EThis will give them a sense of locations.

If you don’t have a compass, you can also teach them how to create a compass out of their wristwatch. The wristwatch you use should not be a digital watch. Hold your watch up in the same way you would a compass, with the 12 right out in front of you. Have your child pick a piece of grass or use a toothpick and place it on the edge of your watch so it will cast a shadow. Turn your watch until the shadow cuts the hour hand and the 12 completely in half. The 12 is now pointing south and six is pointing north. In the Southern Hemisphere this is completely the opposite.

As well as teaching your child how to read a compass with a wristwatch you can teach them how to create one, from nature. This method only works when you know what time it actually is. Go outside in your backyard or in a park and draw a large circle, from the center of the circle draw a line toward the sun. This line becomes your hour hand; now draw a line for the 12 hand, directly in-between these two lines point South.

If you have a little time you can also teach your child how to make and read a Sun shadow compass. The first thing you’ll need to do is find a large enough stick that will cast a shadow (about 2-3 feet) place the stick in the ground. At the very end of the shadow, place another small stick or a stone. Wait for about a half-hour and place another stone or stick at the end of the shadow, it will have moved on just slightly. Draw a line going from the tip of the first stick to the tip of the second both stick or stone you placed, this line becomes the East-west line, the first stick will be east and the second will be west.

Main points to address:

  • While traveling (no matter how short or far you are going) let them know whether you are taking East, West, North or South routes.
  • Teach them a variety of ways to make and read a compass.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Leisure.

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