We love books and use them throughout our topics and themes. It’s something that we have done since the kids were very young. One of our favourite resources is our collection of Atlases. The kids love to explore maps and the world and having a great atlas can really help their learning as well as expand their horizons. So we’ve put together a collection of our favourite map and atlas books for kids from toddlers to teens that we hope you will find useful and support your child as they learn about the world around them.
The Best Atlases for Kids
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I still have my favourite atlas that I got as a child. It was more than just maps, inside it explained a lot of physical geography and it is something as I teach my kids now that we refer to often.
We have included a selection and our views on them below. We recommend looking inside on Amazon to see what you think as they do vary in what is included.
Atlas and Map Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Even your youngest kids can explore and learn from an atlas. The National Geographic Kids My First Atlas of the World: A Child’s First Picture Atlas is an ideal starter for even your preschoolers. It includes great pictures, introduces the continents and a little about the physical geography of the planet.
Even your very little learners will love First Atlas true to the Miles Kelly style it’s full of bite size bits of information and bright and colourful illustrations.
My Pop-Up World Atlas is another find and one that we love to look at. It’s got great colourful images and pop-ups on pages from the Sydney Opera house to the Scandinavian countries that pop up off the page. It also features, dials and booklets and more a real interactive atlas for kids.
Our last recommendation for your toddlers and preschoolers is the DK First Atlas: A First Reference Guide to the Countries of the World. Of the 4 we have picked this is one that will last into the first few years of school it provides a little more information including about climates and breaks down the world into smaller parts.
Reading stories is another way that we try and encourage learning with our toddlers and preschoolers. These 3 books about maps tell stories of the children and where they are in the world.
Looking for more great Geography Books check out our Review of the Horrible Geography Collection.
Atlases For School Kids
Along with a dictionary and a thesaurus, an atlas is one of the most useful books to have to support your child’s learning at home once they start school.
It really comes down to personal preference for which of the above books you choose. I like them all but for different reasons.
The National Geography Kids World Atlas I found was great to use after the National Geographic My First Atlas and although there is a book in between in the series of Atlases of kids the jump was fine and we combined the two with our kids when they were in first few years of school. For high school, it is worth looking at the Student edition as it is even more in depth.
The Smithsonian Children’s Illustrated Atlas unlike the other two focuses more on the continents and countries of the world with details about them and interesting facts. Although ever country isn’t mentioned there is a focus on the main North American and European countries in much more depth as well as few on the other continents to present information so you can compare and contrast them.
We love the Children’s Illustrated World Atlas to present more information and relief maps of the countries and continents. Although is lacks the extra knowledge of the National Geographic one it still has a lot to offer for children that wonder about the people and customs of the countries.
If you are looking to extend the physical geography to learn about the Earth, rocks, and more check out our pick of the best Earth Science books for kids that will support this theme.
For secondary school (middle and high school) we have 3 that we recommend. The Collins School Atlas Learn with Maps is very similar to the one that we used in secondary school when I was there. It has detailed maps with added information and is very popular in UK schools.
Another classic although more familiar in the US schools is Merriam-Webster’s Student Atlas. Again it’s got detailed maps, added information, and lots of information about human and physical geography. It’s the next step on from the Atlases above and comparable in quality to the National Geographic Student’s Atlas.
Rand McNally’s Atlas of World Geography is a great version and is written specifically for middle and high school students (or secondary in the UK) it combines the 4th-9th grade book and the 9th – 12th grade book giving one that is helpful and useful at home.
Whether you are using them for reference books to support homework or to use with homeschooling we hope that these provide you with the best atlas books for kids. If you have any others that you would recommend why not add them to the comments below.
Want even more Geography reading inspiration then check out our fantastic books on earthquakes and volcanoes for kids.
More Geography Themed Resources and Activities on Rainy Day Mum
Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.