The World At Your Feet {Giveaway}

by Gigi Ross on November 22, 2013

geography awareness week

I want more than anything for my kids to be good global citizens: respecting all cultures, religions, traditions, languages, and food.

I believe that tolerance is one of the greatest gifts we can give our fellow human beings.

I have this deep desire because I did not grow up as a good global citizen.

My folks were very traditional parents. We were Polish-Italian Catholics living in Chicagoland. Everyone we knew was Catholic. Everyone we knew ate typically American food and celebrated holidays a certain way.

That was what I knew. That was my world. Different cultures were just things you read about in textbooks.

My reaction to anything that was outside of my little world was to think: “This is wrong/weird/icky.”

Once I moved out of state for the first time and got to experience the amazing cultural diversity that is San Francisco, it changed me at my very core. Cultural traditions and experiences that once felt weird, wrong or unsettling to me were now things I welcomed learning about.

I began to practice tolerance. Tolerance turned into acceptance. Acceptance turned into embracing and celebrating these cultures and lifestyles.

Since then, I’ve lived in 6 other cities and been exposed to even more new and varied cultural experiences.

I’ve watched as we’ve traveled a bit with our kids and it’s almost as if I can physically see their minds opening.  It’s amazing to witness, and I feel blessed that we’ve been able to give our kids this gift.

But it’s important to know that you can put the world at your kids’ feet without ever leaving your house. That’s what Geography Awareness Week is all about.

geography awareness week

Having a sense of place is one great first step. As the folks at Nat Geo say, “To tackle many of today’s everyday problems, we must be able to understand the connections that link places and people.”

That’s what I was thinking about this week, as I watched my kids and their classmates literally stand on the continent of Asia with the National Geographic Giant Traveling Map.

geography awareness week

I won the use of this 26′ by 33′ map for several weeks as part of my ambassadorship with National Geographic Kids.

They learned that Asia is the largest continent on our planet, with the biggest population at 4 billion people.  They learned what latitude and longitude are, and where the mountains are in central China. They pretended to swim across the Indian Ocean and laid down in the country of Russia.

My daughter’s 3rd grade teacher pointed out the Philippines and tied it to the news they had heard about Typhoon Haiyan. Kids ran over to Iraq and Afghanistan and said “my dad was deployed there.”

The world was coming to life, and they didn’t even need to leave Carlsbad.

A few days later, I got a giant stack of thank you letters from my son’s 5th grade classmates.

geography awareness week

Awesome, amazing, grateful letters where each child really shared what they took away from this one-in-a-lifetime experience. “I felt like a giant.”  I am thrilled I got to be a part of it.” “Can you bring the map next year?” “Did you know the freshwater dolphin lives near Pakistan?” “I was so excited to see Vietnam – my mom and dad were born there.”

Geography mattered.

Geography matters to everyone. That’s why Geography Awareness Week, celebrated all this week, is so important! Chances are that our kids will need an solid understanding to be successful in their future careers. This infographic from National Geographic shows why geography matters and how it’s an essential skill for many careers.

geography awareness week

I want to thank National Geographic Education for giving my kids, their school, their teachers and classmates, such a wonderful learning opportunity. It was so exciting to watch the kids with the world at their feet.

geography awareness week

Help put the world at your kids’ feet, too. There are plenty of resources on the Geo Week website to get you started. And I’m helping it along by hosting a little giveaway.

One lucky KludgyMom reader will win a copy of the National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers! The 3rd edition is full of bright, bold icons that allows kids to go beyond the printed page and experience online the sights, sounds, and movements of the world’s people, places, and animals. This makes a GREAT Christmas gift.

Enter by using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will end on Wednesday, November 27 at noon. Only U.S. residents are eligible. Your mandatory entry? Leave a comment here telling me what country you’d most like to take your kids to visit. Optional entries are also available.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am a National Geographic Kids Insider. I receive access to products and other benefits, but no compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own.


Chris Carter November 22, 2013 at 9:33 am

That is AWESOME Gigi!!! This looks like a fantastic gift to give my kiddos for Christmas!! XO

Laila (@OnlyLaila) November 22, 2013 at 10:17 am

I would love to take my son to visit Senegal or South Africa one day!

DB Landes November 22, 2013 at 11:21 am

I’m homeschooling my 5th grader for the first time this year. This would be an amazing resource for him.

Nichole November 22, 2013 at 11:40 am

I’d love to take my kids to Belgium!

Elizabeth Flora Ross November 22, 2013 at 11:56 am

This is awesome! Our children are growing up more connected to the world than we were. It is critical they know more about it. I would love to win this for my daughter! Thanks, Gigi!

Kathy at kissing the frog November 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

Ooo, I would love to win this! My fourth grader just won his grade level geography bee at school. Now he is moving on to the whole school bee. He would love to visit Egypt or China. I would love to take my family to Africa for a safari or Australia because it’s so different and beautiful. I would love to take Hubby to Greece or Italy. This is fun!

Wendy November 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I would love to take my little one to France! A mother-daughter trip visiting museums, riding the carousel near the Eiffel Tower, shopping, eating… so much fun. I would also love to visit Denmark as a family, show her a little of where her family is from, visit the original Legoland and the Little Mermaid statue. It was a significant trip when I went, would love for her to experience the same thing.

Susan @Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva November 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Great giveaway – love Nat Geo & my kids do too!

Kristy November 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm

My kids love geography! My son wants to be a missionary to Africa, and my daughter is fascinated with Chinese culture.

Shannon Baas November 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Either germany or ireland.

Casandra November 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I love this blog post. I love making geography a priority! So many children lack an understanding of the vast world around them. The map you used looks absolutely incredible. Its so fun that you were able to show a child where her parents were born! I love encouraging my tiny people to be inquisitive and explore. You could really end up absolutely anywhere in life. My husband and I were both in the Peace Corps, so we’ve travelled a lot. He volunteered in Eastern Europe, I volunteered in West Africa. Learning about the world is so close to my heart. Thanks for this awesome post!:)

Natalia November 23, 2013 at 5:43 am

Gigi, what an amazing giveaway, this is great! Even with as much as we travel, my kids still have a hard time grasping countries and locations. They do, however, ask to take the plane when we have longer than a 1/2 drive! lol! I would love to take my kids to Africa. I think it’s an amazing culture and I would love to show my kids how people live there. Thanks so much for this awesome giveaway! I hope I win!

Ann Fantom November 23, 2013 at 7:43 am

I want to take my daughter to Ireland

Leanna @ Alldonemonkey November 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

We’ve always wanted to take the kids to Spain – maybe one day!

Geri November 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Geography is my daughter’s favorite subject! She has such a curiousity about the world around her- it really amazes me sometimes! The atlas sounds great- would love to have experienced the huge traveling map!

Elena November 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I would LOVE to visit any part of Africa, but most especially Ghana. I recently made a friend who is from there. I would love to see his home town, visit his culture and learn more about his childhood home! :)

Tabathia B November 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm

I would love to visit Canada with my kids to show them where slaves ran to get away from slavery

kelly h November 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the great giveaway! I would love to go to Germany with my family so we could explore some of our heritage.

Lindsey November 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Ireland and Egypt. My favorites!

Natalia November 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I would love to take my kids to Italy to see all the ancient art!

Rhonda G November 24, 2013 at 7:00 am

I would love to take my grandkids to Japan, I was fortunate enough to go there for work, and I know they would love it as much as I did.

Cynthia C November 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm

We would love to visit Italy to explore our roots.

Tabathia B November 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I think we would love france

Georgie C November 24, 2013 at 9:33 pm

I’d love to take my Son to Australia, have always heard how beautiful & amazing Down Under is!

Rhonda G November 25, 2013 at 3:49 am

I think we would also enjoy Egypt. So rich in history.

Tabathia B November 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

I would love to see Hawaii

Julie Smith November 25, 2013 at 11:33 am

My youngest daughter is studying abroad in Japan; I’m looking to take my youngest child to visit her in the spring!

Dixiemom7 November 25, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I’d love to take my children to Israel someday. To see where so many events in the Bible take place would be amazing.

Heather B November 25, 2013 at 11:47 pm

I have always wanted to go to Germany or Ecuador

joni November 26, 2013 at 2:28 am

I’d love to take them to Australia.

Rhonda G November 26, 2013 at 9:21 am

I think it would be great to take my gkids to Africa!

shawna November 26, 2013 at 10:45 am

I would love to take them to Ireland.

Tabathia B November 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Greece or Ireland

Susan Smith November 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I would love to take my kids to Italy

Cynthia C November 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm

It would be nice to see France with the family.

Amy November 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm

I would take my two children to the Galapagos Islands to see the tortoises. We would also love to go to Australia to see all of the unique creatures and the Great Barrier Reef.

Kate Newton November 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm

France for sure. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

Tamar November 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I want to take them to Israel.

rose paden November 27, 2013 at 12:29 am

I would love to take my family to England!

Rhonda G November 27, 2013 at 2:32 am

Would love to go to Germany with the grands.

Tom Lester November 27, 2013 at 9:04 am

I’d love to take my fam to Australia!

susan smoaks November 27, 2013 at 9:05 am

we really want to take the kids to brazil to visit!

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