Children play a game using the cardinal directions to locate different objects around the classroom.

What You Need

  • Ten or more pairs of everyday, easily recognizable objects
  • Signs saying North, South, East, and West
  • Compass rose (optional)

What to Do

  1. Introduce the concept of the cardinal directions and the compass and help the children locate the direction North. Let as many children as possible take turns doing so.
  2. When children can easily identify North by pointing in that direction, review how they can find other directions when they know where North is. Have them hold direction signs and stand in the correct place in relation to North. They will need to know these concepts: South is opposite of North; East is opposite of West.
  3. To play Compass Tag, place direction signs and pairs of similar objects in different parts of the room. For example, place one board eraser in the North, another in the East. Then ask a player to tag one of them by saying: “Find the eraser in the East.” The player must move to the correct eraser and tag it. Continue until every child has had at least one turn.
  4. Every few turns, remove one sign, until only North is left. Also, rotate the objects so that they are in different positions.

Teaching Options

  • As children become familiar with following directions, have them give directions themselves.
  • Move the game outdoors, to the gym, or to another space, again starting with children finding North with the compass.
  • Show children various maps with compass roses. Point out how North is usually (in most present-day maps) at the top of the map. Explain that they should check this position every time they use a new map. To help children become more familiar with the device, draw a simple compass rose, duplicate it, and distribute copies. Have children decorate the compass rose as they like. Then use the repeated motif to make a border around the room.