GPS, or global positioning systems, are a wonderful tool. But they’ve become a big crutch that many of us rely on. There will be times when this technology will be unavailable. Perhaps some of us will go on family camping trips in remote areas. And, as a more dramatic example, some of us may be caught in a natural disaster. With that being said, it would be wise to teach students how to navigate without a GPS. In this article, we’ll go over some of the ways we can help our children learn how to travel without a GPS.
Show students how to use a compass
This is a topic we’ve already discussed in this blog, so we won’t go into extensive detail about it. But the long and short of it is that compasses are essential to navigate. Kids should learn how to use them. And it’s also wise to show children how to create their own compasses. We’ve suggested using a bucket of water and a magnet in the above post.
North, south, east and west — teaching students how to navigate without a GPS
Orienting yourself on a map is the first step to teaching students how to navigate without a GPS. We’d suggest you start by showing your children landmarks. If you live in the Vancouver area, start by showing your children the mountains. It is the easiest and clearest northern point you can show them. And regardless of where your kids are in the city, it’s usually easy to spot Cypress, Seymour or Grouse Mountain. If you’re not in Vancouver, many cities or towns often have a landmark that can serve as an reference point. Show it to your children. And on a clear night, you can also show them the north star.
Explain to students how to use a paper map
Children who navigate with their phones might need practice using paper maps. Teach them the basics of the grid system many maps use. Also, show kids how to refer to destinations via major intersections. For example, if you’re in Vancouver, you can tell them how 41st and Dunbar is in the western part of the city. On the other hand, 41st and Joyce is in the eastern area. And if your children catch on quickly, show them how maps can be used to show other things. For example, an informative chart might show elevation, distance and population. Very detailed maps may include demographic information such as political ridings, GDP and much more.
The final test — teach children how to memorize directions
Sometimes parents get separated from their kids and have no way of contacting them. Go over this article with your kids. Once your children know how to navigate without a GPS, we’d recommend teaching your kids how to find their way to important meeting spots. You could start with the most obvious choice: your home. For example, if you usually take your children to the grocery store, you could show them how to get back to your house from there. Once you feel comfortable with their navigation skills, drop them off at the store and ask them to meet you at your house. Tell them to keep their phones on just in case anything happens. But ask them to try getting home without using their GPS. Obviously, make sure you are doing this in a safe area first.