100 Hands-on Geography Activities for Middle School

These 100 hands geography activities for middle school will help make middle school geography exciting.

Kids don’t want to sit at a table reading a textbook. They want to explore.

While it may not be possible to travel extensively to learn geography, you can certainly take advantage of technology and fun projects to teach your older kids about the earth, it’s inhabitants and their cultures.

World flag puzzle

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Add some of these cool activities to your lesson plans and help your teens discover just how amazing our world is.

Why is Learning Geography Important?

It is important for tweens to learn about geography because it helps them understand their surroundings and the people in it.

Geography teaches them about the different cultures and lifestyles around the globe, as well as the physical features of different places.

This knowledge can help students develop a global perspective and appreciation for other cultures.

Overall, studying geography is a valuable way for kids to learn about the world around them.

Geography Activities for Middle School

Hands-on activities are important when studying geography with middle schoolers because they allow them to explore and learn about different parts of the world in a tangible way.

For instance, by creating a model of a mountain range or a river, tweens can better understand the physical features of these landscapes.

Geography activities can help older kids develop a deeper understanding of cultures. For example, by making traditional food or learning a traditional dance from another country, they’ll better understand the culture of that region.

Overall, hands-on activities provide an engaging and effective way for students to learn about geography. In fact, they work best when used along with a solid middle school geography curriculum.

So, use this list to easily add a few projects to your geography lesson plans.

World Food

During your European or Italy studies, work together to make an Italy shaped cake.

Explore recipes from every country in the world.

While you’re studying the country of Morocco, make some delicious baklava with your tween as part of your lesson.

Use food as part of your geography plans by using recipes to help you and your kids cook around the world.

Figure out where your food is coming from and how far it’s traveling by mapping your food. This says it’s for 4th grade, but you can easily adapt it for a middle school geography lesson.

Discover the unique foods from each state as part of this 50 states menu plan.

What kid doesn’t like making maps that they can eat? Pick a continent you’ve been studying and make a sugar cookie edible map. It’s a delicious and educational activity.

Use this food origination lesson idea to figure out whether various foods have origins in the Old World and traveled to the New World with the explorers or if they originated here in the New World.

Spice up your geography lessons with some food geography – making and eating regional foods.

Learning all the flags can be a huge task. Make it fun by letting your kids make a flag cake to represent their favorite flag.

Famous Landmarks

Visit a bunch of famous landmarks on this Washington DC virtual field trip.

Use Google Earth to Play I Spy with famous landmarks.

Do you remember making a shoebox diorama when you were a kid? I loved creating these little scenes for school. Use this time-tested activity to help you kids discover famous landmarks by having them choose one from their studies and create a scene highlighting it.

If your tweens love LEGOs, combine that passion with their geography lessons by having them recreate the landmarks they’re learning about by making LEGO landmarks.

Enjoy a National Park geological tour from the comfort of your home. It’s an amazing way to see the beauty of some of our most famous geological wonders and landscapes.

These models will help you build famous landmarks using your LEGOs.

Picture of the Eiffel Tower

Cultural Geography Activities

It’s important that cultural geography activities are a regular part of your geography lesson plans.

This all in one Switzerland unit study has everything you need for a thorough study of Switzerland, from the resource materials to the activity ideas. It’s a great way to work on a bunch of subjects while keeping Switzerland’s geography front and center.

This site makes it easy to learn about and listen to music from around the world. Whether searching by country or culture, you’ll find a wide variety of unique music to choose from.

Kids will find themselves in the middle of an Istanbul bazaar as they play the Istanbul Board Game. Players have to race around the market performing typical tasks to collect rubies in order to win the game. This a fun strategy game that makes kids feel like they’re taking part in an Istanbul daily ritual.

Take a look at the money that different countries use with this 60 Countries Coin Collection Set.

How would you spend four days in Paris? This activity has kids research a city they’d love to visit and create a travel journal outlining everything they’d do while traveling to their destination.

Use these lessons to learn all about life in the UK.

Introduce your kids to Central America by having them take on a key twentieth-century Central American figure while playing this role-playing activity. This can easily be adapted to any continent you’re studying and would be perfect as part of a geography co-op lesson.

Tweens will travel to Timbuktu on a journey with Ibn Battuta and participate in a variety of activities.

Columbian girl sewing small basket at market.

Study the Continents

When you’re studying Australia, make sure to learn about their deadly animals. As a part of your lesson, complete this simple awesome, and deadly animal art project.

Use the cootie catcher you loved as a kid to play this continent fortune teller game.

While playing the 10 Days in Africa game, you have to work hard arranging your trip throughout Africa by picking up and exchanging cards to make sure you have countries to visit and the necessary transportation. It’s a fun way to build your family’s familiarity with the continent.

Conquer the continents with this game. A nation will appear at the bottom of the screen and you need to click on the correct map location within one minute.

Take an epic train adventure across turn-of-the-century Europe by playing Ticket to Ride Europe. You’ll have to use strategy to travel through great European cities. 

Online video resources are the perfect way to study the continents. Take some time to explore Africa through streaming video as part of your lesson plans.

Put together this Australia puzzle while you’re studying the continent.

Earth Formations

Here are quite a few ideas for building 3D river models that you can use while you’re studying the earth’s formations.

When you’re studying the ocean layers, make sure to add this yummy edible activity to your lesson plans.

You can use simple household items to build a sugar cave as part of a sinkhole experiment.

No middle school geography course is complete without adding in some volcano activities.

Focus on the mountain ranges in Geography Quest: Mountain Edition.

Help your tween learn various topography terms by playing geography bingo.

Add some art into your geography lessons by working on paper art landforms.

Inside of cave with water.

Holidays Around the World

Sure, you know a lot about how we celebrate Christmas here in the United States, but what about how it’s celebrated in other parts of the globe? A fun way to study the cultural part of geography is to learn how holidays are celebrated around the globe.

One large and two small daruma dolls.

Geography Map Activities

Use this latitude and longitude scavenger hunt to find locations based on their coordinates.

Learn how to make a salt dough map that you can use to make your geography studies engaging.

Create small flag pins and have your tweens use them to pin your map to show the locations you’re studying.

Use these map games for kids in your lesson plans.

Do your kids know how to plan a route with a map? Use this activity to teach your tween map skills using a traditional road map.

Let your tweens practice calculating map scale by playing this game. They’ll work on estimating the distances between two cities that appear on the map using the ruler on the screen.

Learn how to make a wall map for your homeschool.

Get your tween up and moving by playing a few rounds of map skills.

Teach your teen how to make a compass and use it to determine north as part of your middle school geography lesson plans.

Work on latitude and longitude by playing Longitude and Latitude Battleship.

Use QR Codes & Google Maps to work on your older kids’ map skills.

Explore local time and time zones with the help of world clocks.

Teach your older kids how to develop mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments.

Create your own balloon globes as part of your map studies.

Use this worksheet to help your kids practice following intermediate directions.

Turn to technology to help teach geography with apps like GeoMaster Plus. As things like cities, countries, and flags come up on the screen, the goal is to put them on the map where they belong.

It’s amazing just how effective tracing maps can be to help kids master geographical locations. Add some tracing to your geography lesson plans with the help of these map tracing tips & tricks.

A fun way to teach mapping skills is to let your kids use them to help plan your family vacation.

This list of online geography games has quite a few mapping games that your tweens will have fun playing.

See how well your older kids know their geography by having them put together this 4,000 piece world map puzzle.

When you’re working on directions, use this activity to reinforce your cardinal directions lessons.

Two people looking at a map.

Travel the Globe(In Real Life or Virtually)

Travel without even leaving home by taking one of these virtual field trips.

Get out and explore by going on a geocaching adventure.

Learn how to use Google Earth as a part of your geography lessons.

Have your kids choose a country and create a travel brochure to encourage others to visit the location they researched.

Turn a family vacation into a learning vacation. Here are some tips to help you plan a learning vacation.

castle coming out of smart phone.

US Geography Activities

Geography projects are a great way to engage middle schoolers and help them dive deeper.

Make your own U.S. states trading cards to help teach your kids US geography.

This Texas geography unit would be a good addition to your US geography lessons. Inside you’ll also find what you need to do this type of study with whatever states you choose.

When your kids play Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego, they’ll expand their knowledge of U.S. geography, expand their vocabulary, and practice map-reading.

Test your knowledge of state capitals, famous landmarks, and US geography with the All Around the USA game.

Your middle schooler can build their US geography knowledge with this United States atlas scavenger hunt.

Kids will encounter important landmarks, historical sites, and capital cities while moving around the United States while playing Race Across the USA.

While playing the 10 Days in the USA, players will use a combination of transportation and state cards to create a connecting vacation across the country.

Watch How the States Got Their Shapes and see how our country’s borders were created and how they’re still changing.

Learn how to create your own U.S. geography unit study.

Play Stack the States to see if you can answer geography questions and then stack the states until you reach the goal line. This a great app to play on the Kindle Fire if your tween has one.

World Geography Activities

Use these world geography activities in your lesson plans.

Gather a few homeschool families and plan an Around the World day.

Play The World Game to help your tween learn geography facts.

Use LEGOS to build a world map. Here are some patterns that you can use for inspiration.

Put together a geography fair for you and some of your friends to show off what you’ve been learning in your home school.

This world atlas scavenger hunt is a fun way for teens to discover facts while learning how to use an atlas.

Play the Flags of the World game to help your kids learn the flags and countries.

Have some fun learning the different flags by playing flags of the world bingo.

Use gegoraphy puzzles in your middle school geography lessons.

If you have an animal lover in your house, incorporate your child’s passion into your geography lesson plans by researching the animals of the world during your country or continent studies.

Go Trekking the World with this fun family board game.

Study geography by taking virtual field trips around the world.

Close up of colorful salt dough earth's layers model, hand holding a yellow pointer, pointing to the second layer.

Create a portable world map to aid your geography studies.

Race through every country of the world when you play Globe Runner.

Update the classic Flat Stanley with this version where students use a selfie cutout to complete 6 degrees of separation activity.

Map the Olympics by using small informational flags to mark the locations where all of the Olympic games have been held from the beginning to the present.

Geography Fun Facts Podcast for Kids is a weekly podcast that both kids and parents will enjoy.

As part of this geography design project, teens can create their own country.

Some interesting ideas for using music in world geography studies.

Reach out across the globe and become a pen pal with students of the world.

This world geography activity with maps and postcards will help you connect with others around the globe while learning all kinds of information.

As you can see, there are plenty of unique ways to make middle school geography fun and interactive for your kids. So, add some of these hands-on activities to your lesson plans today.

Flat atlas image of world map with colorful countries. Text overlay reads World Atlas Scavenger Hunt.

Which one of these geography activities for middle school are you most excited to try?

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman

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