Neighborhood Maps

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12067

Can you tell someone how to get to your house, or explain how you get to the grocery store? Drawing a picture would make it easier. That's just what a map is, a picture of a place! Now, make your own!


People and Their Environment, Social Studies

Social Studies
learning style
Auditory, Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Take a good look at the map above. Where do people work in this neighborhood? Where do people live in this neighborhood? Where do people play in this neighborhood? What can you tell me about your neighborhood?

The image at the beginning of the lesson shows a map of a neighborhood.

What is a map? Tell your definition to your teacher or parent before reading on.

A map provides a visual representation of the physical features in a neighborhood. Physical features include things like buildings, roads, parks, and mountains. What are some of the physical features shown on the map above?

In this lesson, you will learn how to read a map, then create a map of your neighborhood. But first, if you missed or would like to review the previous My Neighborhood lessons, find the Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar.

A map tells you what is in a place and how to find your way around a place. Before you begin making your own map, it is important that you understand how to read some of the components found on a map.

Often, the map key is located off to the side of the map. It is also referred to as the legend. Sometimes the map key is labeled and sometimes it is not. A map key tells the reader if symbols or colors are used to represent different things on the map. Not all maps have a map key. The map at the beginning of the lesson does not have a map key because it is obvious what each of the images on the map represents. For example, you were able to tell your teacher or parent where people work, live, and play without having to look at a key.

Watch the video English Singsing clip, Kids vocabulary - Map - Using a map - Learn English for kids - English educational video. When you are finished watching this very short clip, tell your teacher or parent what information the map key was showing:


Most maps also feature a compass rose, or something that tells you which direction is north. If you are not familiar with the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west), listen to the song “Cardinal Directions Song” from Mr. R.'s Songs for Teaching:


  1. When you are finished listening to the song, get out a compass. If you do not have a compass, your teacher or parent likely has one on their phone. Most phones already have a compass installed, or you can download one from the app store for free.
  2. Use the compass to find north from where you are standing.
  3. Then, look at the map below. Show your teacher or parent what symbol or image is used to show which direction is north.
  4. Keep in mind, a compass rose is not always labeled with the word, "North."
  5. Why do you think it is important to know which direction is north? Share your answer with your teacher or parent.

pirate map

You just learned two important parts of a map. Tell your teacher or parent what these two parts are and what they are used for.

Remember, not all maps will have a map key or a compass rose, but it is important to be able to recognize and read these features when they are present, because they will help you better understand what is in a neighborhood, and how to find your way around a neighborhood.

When you are ready, move on to the Got It? section to practice creating your own neighborhood map.


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