Mr Donn's - Geography Lesson Plans and Activities for Teachers, Games and Learning Modules for Kids, Powerpoints and Videos for Everybody Illustration

Physical and Human Geography

Welcome to geography for kids. Geography is very important because you are nowhere without geography. Scientists divide living things into plants and animals. Geographers divide the world into physical geography and human geography.

Physical Geography: LANDFORMS for kids: The first thing you need to know is that the earth is not flat. You probably knew that already. The surface of the earth is made up of many different natural forms called landforms. Landforms include lakes, rivers, oceans, deserts, mountains, plateaus, canyons, creeks, coastlines, volcanoes, and more. It seems rather odd to call an ocean a landform since it is obviously made up of a great deal of water and doesn't seem very solid, but that is its general geographical name - an ocean landform. Oceans were formed naturally. There is a floor to an ocean - a bottom. So it counts as a solid surface of the earth. And thus, an ocean is a landform.

A gas, like oxygen or hydrogen, is not a landform because it is not a feature of the solid surface of the earth. A man-make lake or hill is not a landform because it was not formed naturally.

To decide if something is a landform, ask yourself three questions. Can you draw a map or point at something and say there it is, and there it has been for the last hundred or thousand or million years or so? Was it made naturally? Is it a feature of the solid surface of the earth? If you answer yes to all three questions - it probably is a landform.

To learn more about landforms, play a landform game and watch a cartoon about landforms, click here.  

Physical and Human Geography: FIVE THEMES for kids:  There are a great many landforms on planet Earth. If you tried to give someone directions using a general geographical landform name, they would most probably be lost in no time. For example, to get to my house, I could say turn right just past the first creek on the left. Unless you had a map and knew the general area in which I lived, and knew which creek I was talking about, and which direction you would be driving, you would never find my house without more information.

To make geography easier to use and understand, geography is divided into five themes - location, place, region, movement, and human-environment interaction.  

Location: Where is it?

  • Absolute: A location can be absolute (specific) as in coordinates of a map using longitude and latitude

  • Relative: A location can be relative - examples: next door, nearby, a short drive, down the road a ways. Or, it can be in the same general location as another location - example: next to the post office.

  • Relative and Absolute Location - Which is it? (youtube cartoon video)

Place: What is it?

A place is an area that is defined by everything in it. All places have features that give them personality and distinguish them from other places. 

If you refer to your school as a place, then that place would include walls, windows, gym, cafeteria, classrooms, people, clothing, books, maps, mops, brooms, hallways, mice (if you have them) and everything else in the school, including the languages spoken.

Region: Unifying or Similar Characteristics

A region is an area that is defined by certain similar characteristics. Those unifying or similar characteristics can be physical, natural, human, or cultural.  For example, if you lived on an island, and that island had a group of mountains at one end of the island, those mountains would be a mountainous region of the island.

To learn more about regions and play some games, click here

Movement: From one place to another

Movement refers to the way people, products, information and ideas move from one place to another. This can be local such as how did you get to school today, or it can be global such as how did humans get to North America?

Human-Environment Interaction

Human-environment interaction looks at the relationships between people and their environment; how people adapt to the environment and how they change it.

  • How do people depend on the environment? (Example: In ancient times, the annual flooding of the Nile River produced good soil for growing crops.)

  • How to people adapt to the environment? (Example: The ancient Egyptians rebuilt their homes each year, after the annual flooding. As time went on, they built their homes above the flood plain.)

  • How do people modify the environment? (Example: The ancient Egyptians built irrigation ditches to help water the crops. In modern times, Egypt built a dam to control the flood waters of the Nile River.)

To learn more about the 5 themes of geography, play a 5 themes game, and watch a 5 themes cartoon, click here.

MAP SKILLS for kids:

Maps, Parts of a Map, Map Symbols

Latitude and Longitude

And More

What are the 7 continents?  Games and Activities (Donn)  

What is climate? The difference between climate and weather, climate zones, games and activities!

TIme Zones - There are 24 time zones in the world

US Geography

The Geography of Ancient Cultures - Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt, Rome, China, India, Mayas, Incas

Free Interactive Geography Games and Activities for Kids

Human Geography: Population

For Teachers:

Free Geography Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities for Teachers - some by us, some by other teachers