Using Spanish to talk about information that your child already knows is an effective way of exposing her to the language. If a child is familiar with certain information, she can draw on what she knows to understand Spanish. This is one way of providing comprehensible input, and comprehensible input is essential to language acquisition.
School-age children are familiar with basic geography and maps. Doing geography activities in Spanish and reading Spanish picture books related to geography are good ways to expose children to vocabulary and structures in a context where they understand the language. In addition, many country names and geography terms are cognates, that is, words that are similar in Spanish and English. This makes them easier to learn, but unless a child hears and reads these words, she has no way of knowing that they are cognates. Children absorb this vocabulary by working with geography concepts in Spanish.
These are a few resources related to geography that can be used in teaching Spanish.
Click this link for Spanish language maps. Use the menu bar at the top to select a continent. Below each continent map there is a list of country links to country maps and information.
Click this link for a map and basic information about the United States in Spanish. The oceans and place names are in Spanish. The country facts are in Spanish and English. The map can be printed or downloaded.
Click this link for an activity in Spanish with questions related to geography. In addition to personal questions (What country are you from? What country are your parents from?) the activity involves labeling the oceans and countries of North America on a map.
This link is to a crossword puzzle to practice the oceans and continents in Spanish. The clues use simple Spanish vocabulary and structures.
This link is to a word search game to print or to play online. All of the terms are names of continents and oceans in Spanish.
Online games and quizzes:
This link is to a site with many online map quizzes in Spanish. Quizzes such as Continentes y Océanos (under Mapamundi) and El relieve de América del Norte (under América del Norte) work well to teach Spanish vocabulary and place names to Spanish language learners.
Picture books about geography in Spanish: