Maps Topic Guide

Maps are used for lots of different reasons; they are a good way of conveying information about where places are in relation to each other.

Humans have made maps for thousands of years, and today we can carry a map of the whole world in a phone!

Teach your children about maps using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Create a map of a fictional place or journey.
  • Use our maps challenges resources to investigate information shown on maps.
  • Look at the building you are in on Google maps. Use that outline to draw a map of the area, showing the rooms inside the building too.
  • Ask children to draw a signpost showing where things are in relation to where they are sitting. This post explains in more detail and gives other ideas for developing map drawing skills.
  • Watch the video on this BBC page and give the children a range of real-life maps to explore and discuss.
  • Gather packaging from a range of fresh foods, and mark on a map where they have come from. How far have they travelled? How do you think they were transported?
  • Use an online map to show your journey to school. Are there any other ways that you could travel to school?
  • Write a story with a treasure map in it.


  • Our Maps Pack is full of resources for teaching the topic.

The Maps Pack

Map Facts

  • A map is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional space, either on a flat surface such as paper, or on a screen.
  • Maps are drawn from a bird’s-eye view, meaning that they are drawn as if the person making the map is looking down on the space from above.
  • Because a map is always smaller than the area it represents, a scale must be used to fit on the paper or screen. For example, on an Ordnance Survey map, 4cm represents 1km.
  • The Mappa Mundi, a famous medieval map, has a unicorn on it.
  • Chinese astronomers were creating star maps around 5,000 years ago.


Cardinal Directions Song

A fun song to introduce the points of the compass to younger learners.

Running Time: 2:16

Geography | KS1 | KS2 | Maps

This BBC video is a great introduction to maps.

Running Time: 2:59

Using a compass and reading maps

Mr Measure and his soon follow the instructions on a map. This video is perfect for looking at the points of the compass.

Running time: 4:03

Understanding a MAP & MAP SYMBOLS

A great video to use when looking at map symbols.

Running Time: 3:59


The Mapmakers' Race

A thrilling adventure story with beautiful maps.

Henry's Map

Henry the pig draws a map of the farm.

The Once Upon a Time Map Book

Explore the maps of six fictional lands.

The Girl of Ink and Stars

Older children will enjoy the story of Isabella’s search for her missing friend.

Children's First Atlas

This book introduces younger children to maps and atlases.

Collins Primary Atlas

A terrific atlas for older children to use.


A stunning book of illustrated maps that children love to explore.

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!

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