What is Physical Geography? (Free Spanish Lessons for Kids) (2022)

What is Physical Geography? (Free Spanish Lessons for Kids) (1)

June 27, 2021 by Luis F. Dominguez Spanish for Kids 0 comments

If you want to teach geography in Spanish to your children or students, you have to make it interesting for them. The good news is that geography is one of the subjects that better captures the imagination of kids around the world.

In this blog post, I’m discussing what geography is and why you should teach it in Spanish to your kids. I’m focusing on physical geography and the terms related to it, both in English and Spanish. Finally, I’m giving you ideas about how to better introduce the subject to your kids and I’m including a quiz about geography in Spanish at the end of the lesson.

Are you ready? ¡Empecemos!

What is Physical Geography? (Free Spanish Lessons for Kids) (2)

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Just type in your name and email and we will immediately send the free PDF to your inbox!

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What Is Geography?

Geography is a subject that many kids love because they find it fun and interesting. Geography class captures their imagination with cool things such as volcanoes, planets, all kinds of living things, and people.

A geography teacher is a person in charge of introducing this science that studies the Earth’s surface, its atmosphere, and the different continents, mountains, oceans, and rivers of this beautiful planet we live on.

What Does Geography Study?

This is a similar question to that of “what is geography?” however, it’s important to make this distinction because geography studies basically two things: people and places.

When geography studies people it’s called “human geography” and focuses on the activities of humans and their effects on the planet. This subject is usually taught at higher levels such as middle and high school.

When geography focuses on places it’s called “physical geography” and studies the natural features of Earth, the environment, and the different natural phenomena occurring on our planet. This subject is usually taught at elementary school because of its potential to catch children’s imagination, and this is the geography in Spanish that I’ll be discussing throughout this blog post.

Why You Should Teach Geography in Spanish to Your Kids

Teaching Spanish to your children or students opens their eyes to a whole world beyond their own culture and community. This global awareness is only fortified when you add geography in Spanish as a way to understand the world through science but in a different language.

Besides, geography is just one more area of knowledge that your kids need to learn to be able to say that they’re fluent in Spanish, just as they need to learn about math, music, or sports in Spanish.

Geography in Spanish

All that said, it’s time to learn some geography terms, geography cognates, and even slang geography words in Spanish. But first, let’s start studying the meaning of geography and its history.

Geography Meaning

Like many words in English and Spanish, geografía or “geography” comes from a Greek word, which in this case is “geographia”. In Greek, “geo” means Tierra or “Earth,” and “graphia” escritura or writing.

In short, geografía means escribir sobre la Tierra or “to write about the Earth.”

History and Geography

El padre de la geografía or “father of geography” is the Greek Eratosthenes who was the first person ever to use the term geografía or “geography,” back in the 3rd century B.C. But Eratosthenes did much more than just naming this amazing science, he also was able to calculate the Earth’s circumference when many people still believed that the world was flat (as they still do in our days). Finally, Eratosthenes calculated the tilt of the Earth’s axis too.

What is Physical Geography? (Free Spanish Lessons for Kids) (3)

Geography Words:

  • la Tierra – Earth
  • el mundo – world
  • plano(a) – flat
  • la inclinación – tilt
  • el eje – axis

Geography Cognates:

A cognate is a word with a similar sound in two different languages, in this case Spanish and English.

  • la circunferencia – circumference

Geography Vocabulary in Spanish

The five themes of geography in Spanish are:

  • La ubicación – location
  • El lugar – place
  • El movimiento – movement
  • La interacción humana con el medio ambiente – human environment interaction
  • La región – region

As a subject that deals with places, location, and regions, geography works a lot with other items that kids love: maps! Let’s learn how to spell map in Spanish, which is also one of the most common geography cognates:

  • El mapa – map
  • El mapa geográfico – mapa de geografía

Use the following geography terms to introduce your kids to different aspects of the world both in English and Spanish.

SpanishEnglish
el planetaplanet
la atmósferaatmosphere
Water Bodies
el ríoriver
el lagolake
la lagunalagoon
el marsea
el océanoocean
el arroyostream
Environment
el ecosistemaecosystem
el medio ambienteenvironment
el climaclimate
el tiempoweather
los recursos naturalesnatural resources
el hábitathabitat
Physical Places
la islaisland
el continentecontinent
el paíscountry
la ciudadcity
el pueblotown
la poblaciónpopulation
el desiertodesert
el glaciarglacier
la montañamountain
el bosqueforest
la selva tropicalrain forest
la playabeach
la costashore
el golfogulf
la penínsulapeninsula
la bahíabay
el acantiladocliff
el archipiélagoarchipelago
el vallevalley
Natural Disasters
la placa tectónicatectonic plaque
el volcánvolcano
el terremotoearthquake
la avalanchaavalanche
el tsunamitsunami
el tornadotornado
el huracánhurricane
el desastre naturalnatural disaster
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Explore more FREE SPANISH LESSONS FOR KIDS! ➡️
Enjoy over 70 unique lessons + free activity packets to download.

Geography Games

A good way to introduce this vocabulary guide of geography in Spanish is by playing games with your kids. Two of the most effective and easiest games to prepare to practice new vocabulary are bingo and memory.

Bingo

Create 3 or 4 different cards with as many as 16 or 20 of the Spanish terms included on the list above, then create a single card for each of the English terms. This way, the competition isn’t only about winning the bingo, but also about learning the new vocabulary.

An alternative way to do this is creating the single cards with the Spanish terms and the bingo big cards with 16 or 20 descriptive images that represent the geography words. This way, your children or students will practice their geography knowledge and their Spanish at the same time.

Memory Game

When I want my students to engage in a new vocabulary topic I always create a set of memory cards that include either the terms in English and Spanish or the Spanish term and a descriptive image.

Maps

If you’re already working with maps, I recommend you to print maps without names and challenge your kids to locate in the map different geography items such as continents, countries, cities, or islands. I’ve just worked on this with my 3rd-grade students learning the capitals of Europe, and they embraced the challenge like few other topics before.

More Games

I recommend you to visit this website to find ideas about more geography games to introduce your kids to this fun and entertaining subject. Most of these games are in English, but you can easily replicate some of the ideas presented there, tweak them a little bit and teach geography in Spanish by playing games with your children or students.

Using Superlatives

Finally, one of the most interesting ways to teach geography to kids is by using superlatives. That way, you capture the attention of kids who always want to know about the biggest, deepest, and tallest of anything. A plus of this approach is that you can also introduce superlatives in Spanish to your children or students.

SpanishEnglish
el/la más grandebiggest, largest
el/la más pequeño(a)smallest
el/la más alto(a)tallest, highest
el/la más largo(a)longest
el más profundodeepest
el más fríocoldest
el más calientehottest

Teach Geography and Spanish to Your Kids

Teaching geography in Spanish to your kids is a big opportunity for you as a parent or teacher, as this is one of the subjects that better fit their interests. Geography also lends itself very well to introduce new Spanish terms and learning both subjects at the same time (geography and Spanish).

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– Erica P. Parent of 1

What is Physical Geography? (Free Spanish Lessons for Kids) (8)

“HSA offers very affordable, quality, one on one classes with a native speaker. My son has greatly benefited from taking classes. We have seen his confidence increase as well as his pronunciation improve, because he learns from a native Spanish speaker. HSA has quick, personal customer service. I have appreciated the one on one interaction and teaching that my son gets from his teachers. He has gotten to know his teachers, which has increased his confidence in speaking Spanish. Our family has been very pleased with our experience so far!”

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What is Physical Geography? (Free Spanish Lessons for Kids) (9)

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Luis F. Domínguez is a freelance writer and independent journalist interested in travel, languages, art, books, history, philosophy, politics and sports. He has written for Fodor’s, Yahoo!, Sports Illustrated, Telemundo, and Villa Experience, among other brands of print and digital media in Europe and North America.

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