Janod Magnetic World Map
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A visually stunning representation of the beautiful diversity of the world, this Magnetic World Map makes a perfect addition to explorations of physical and cultural geography.
A large magnetic map shows colour-coded continents and regions of the world. The map itself measures 46cm by 28.5cm, making it a stunning and eye-catching feature on the wall or an inviting provocation on the shelf or table. It can either be hung up on a wall using the string at the top or can be placed flat on a table. Accompanying the map are 201 small magnetic tiles, each depicting symbols and icons associated with the various countries and locations. These images include people, places and landmarks, native animals and cultural icons. The child, or group of children, work to match each symbol to its country of origin.
The symbols provide a sensory clue to their 'home' through the colour-coding that matches the map to the magnets. Many of these rely on very subtle changes in shade so it helps to draw the child's attention to very nuanced variations.
For younger children the task can be scaffolded by introducing the magnets incrementally. For instance, the adult could initially prepare the activity to include only the symbols associated with one country or region. After introducing each set one by one the adult could then help the child synthesise their learning by providing all the magnets together. Another way of structuring the experience would be to provide one category of symbols at a time, such as just the native animals, so there are fewer pieces to work with initially. This would make the task more achievable and would also help the child to focus on engaging deeply with one particular element.
For older children the map can be simply a starting point for detailed discussions about geography and can be a springboard for other projects, research or experiences.
The set comes with a control sheet that shows the "correct" location for each one of the magnetic symbols. This can be used by the child as a self-correcting mechanism so they can engage in independent reflection (or discussion with peers) about how their placements might differ from the "official" version and why they made these choices.
The symbols that show people do tend to be reflective of fairly traditional or iconic cultural features (such as a Russian girl holding a Matryoshka doll) but I believe they stop short of portraying stereotypes. This is an important feature as unfortunately many 'around the world' games still reinforce negative cliches associated with specific countries. The Magnetic World Map, by including other features such as native animals and prominent landmarks, is trying to build a broader picture of each area's physical and cultural geography and it takes a respectful approach to this goal.
The size, scope and complexity of the activity makes it perfect as a collaborative experience. A group of children can work together to discuss their observations and aid each other in placing the icons.
The manufacturer's recommended age range for this material is 5 to 12 years. Please note that some of the small parts may pose a choking hazard, particularly for children under 3, and they are magnetic so can be harmful if swallowed.
For legal reasons we never contradict these recommended ages but I can anecdotally share that I have personally used this material with children aged 3 and 4 who found it engaging and informative and required minimal scaffolding from an adult. I also find it a really enjoyable activity and a piece of aesthetically attractive decor, and I'm 30!
The Magnetic World Map is from the highly regarded Janod range, which is well-known for its innovative and developmentally appropriate educational toys.
Please note: Due to the dimensions of its box this item attracts our Heavy/Bulky Goods shipping fee of $25. This is a flat fee so you can add other items to your order and your shipping cost will remain $25.