Map Tracing Tips and Tricks


Map Tracing Tips and Tricks

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know we are HUGE map tracers!

Earlier this school year I posted about a simple way to learn geography - which detailed our use of Sharpies, tracing paper, crayons, and quality maps. 

Since that time I've received so many questions. 

SO.... it's time for a post to give you more ideas for tracing maps, good maps to trace, and more. 

*This post contains affiliate links.

Why Drawing/Tracing?

We have been inspired to learn much more about geography because of Classical Conversations. 

I love Globetrotting: the Core of Geography - this is a good article to read that details an approach for drawing the world. 

I encourage my son to trace for the following reasons:

  • It develops a habit of attention.
  • It allows for a great looking finished product we can save and put in a notebook.
  • It reinforces our geography memory work.
  • It forces you to look at the SPECIFICS on a map (rivers, mountains, etc...).

For some reason, map tracing is just a HIT in our homeschool. 

Maps to Use

While you can use any maps you choose, I believe it is important that you consistently use the SAME maps and make sure they are clear and simple. Good maps aren't always easy to find. If you Google "maps for tracing" you will come up with all kinds of things.

One thing that is a must have is a GOOD atlas.  We like this atlas from DK Books. It can really be fun to sit down with an atlas and just look through it with your children. There is something to be learned each time we sit down, and I think looking things up in an atlas is a dying art!  

Tracing from a book can sometimes be hard. I've found that having a map on a single piece of paper is easiest to trace.

Some printable online map resources:

  • For CC Connected Users: I love the maps by user lelwalker. These are the maps we use on a daily basis.
  • Super Teacher Worksheets -- some maps available here for free
  • Education Place - loads of outline maps
  • WonderMaps - hundreds of downloadable maps from Bright Ideas Press (We have these maps and if we did not use the CC maps, these would be our maps of choice! They are done beautifully and are a great investment.  
  • North Star Geography & WonderMaps Combo




The supplies are very simple. Just be sure to keep them all in one place and easily accessible.

  • Folder - to keep all of your maps and tracings
  • Sharpies - make tons of colors and sizes available - this will encourage your child to outline, add mountain ranges and rivers, and more details. My son LOVES customizing his maps!
  • Tracing Paper


My son likes to be elaborate with his maps, including keys and all different colors. The sky is the limit! 

How We Schedule Map Tracing into our Homeschool Day

Maps get traced DAILY. 

This is an activity that doesn't need mom, so my child is free to trace when I am busy with his sister. 

He gets his maps folder and tin of supplies and traces the map for the week (I make sure the maps are numbered by the week of CC we are in). 

If he finishes the map for the week he is free to go back and trace a map from a previous week. Most times I have to tell him to STOP tracing because we need to move on to something else!  

As I mentioned, we use the Classical Conversations geography memory work as our guide, but you could trace based on an area you are studying in history, or with your own geography curriculum.


Enjoy the following video - it's such a great reinforcement of what my kids are learning, plus it's just pretty cool to see someone draw the entire world freehand!   



Do you have a formal geography curriculum?  Do your children trace maps?  

This post is part of a new series... Homeschool Tips and Tricks. Each Monday I will try and offer a new tip or trick that will be helpful for your homeschool!