Make Your Own: Pin Maps

Looking back we did quite well with the Montessori Geography sequence last year. The more time I spend with the albums, the more I understand how everything weaves together. However so much of the geography albums cover what I’d consider “science” topics. It’s amazing, but we didn’t learn much actual physical geography!

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With a year and a half of homeschool under my belt, and at least another ahead, I feel better able to prepare and plan. I’ll have a “first year” and a “fourth year” elementary student. We’re going to start big and slowly move to more specific work. My little needs to work with land and water forms, with the world map, and we’ll see about getting to our home continent. My big can do more detailed work with major world landmarks, and can decide if she wants country or continent work later in the year.

That being said, you know me – time for a DIY!

I started searching around for map images. I found great FREE maps on and They have a lot of great, different types of map. I chose to use physical maps of the world and continents. Most of the continents have a version with the country boundaries outlined, and those are the ones I used.

Have a browse around the sites and choose your own map – but, if you want quick links, here are the ones I used:
The World, physical map
Africa, physical map with country borders
Asia, physical map with country borders (this map is ok)
Europe, physical map with country borders (second map from top)
North America, physical map with country borders
South America, physical map with country borders
Oceana, physical map with country borders (this one has a watermark)
The United States, physical map with state borders

Other supplies needed:
– foam core board
pins (these let me color code my flags)
– double sided tape (both 3/4″ and 1/2″ width – but you might plan better!)

I did a little editing of the North America and Oceana maps to hide the watermark – you might find better maps, or it might not bother you.

I uploaded each image to the website following the same process as my Make Your Own: Peg Board. Using tabloid/ledger sized glossy 20pt cardstock, each map cost me around $1.67, minus a coupon amount.

At home, I’m printing two copies of each map on cardstock to use as control maps.

As mentioned in the Peg Board post, I picked up foam core board at the dollar store, cut the sheet in half with a rotary cutter, and used glue dots to stick the two halves together.

I used free materials from Pin-It Maps, along with pin map flags from Montessori Print Shop (link to pin map flags), and some flags I made myself in Microsoft Word.

Then, it’s just a matter of assembly. I cut all the flags with my paper cutter, folded them in half, and used double sided tape just a bit longer than half the flag to wrap around the pin and hold it in place. I chose a set of pins sorted into ones with different colored heads, because I need my pins to match my flags. It’s not necessary at all. A few of my flags did pop open with the thicker paper, and I used Zig 2-Way glue to seal those ones tight. Most of the flag assembly got done poolside, and then the kids also helped while watching the Olympics!

My flags are stored in 2 for $1 containers from the dollar store, and the control maps are stored in page protectors.

The dots on my large maps, and the dots and labels on my control maps are done by hand. Using the list of pin flags, I pulled out our National Geographic Kids World Atlas, and started adding dots. I labeled continents with green dots (and printed the flags on green paper), oceans with blue dots (and printed on blue paper), and navigation points with silver dots (and printed on silver paper. These items comprised set one. I also went back and added major waterways with teal dots (printed on blue paper), major islands with pink dots (printed on white paper) and major landforms with orange dots (printed on yellow paper). These will comprise a second, more complicated set of pins more appropriate for my Upper Elementary kid.

One tip – to draw the navigation lines, like the equator and the two tropics lines, I lined the map up in my paper cutter and used the cutting bar as a guide to draw the lines. This held the map square and I felt it was less likely to slip than if I’d used a ruler.

Daisy wanted to get stuck right in! She knew a good percentage of the basic world map flags, and was mostly able to deduce the rest, guessing that Oceana was the smaller continent with lots of islands, and that South America was below North America. Both kids seem to be excited to get started with this. I’ve started the North America map flags, but Fungirl wants me to stop and work on Europe.

1 Comment

  1. I love this! A lot of thought and effort was put into this. I’m so happy to stumble upon this post on IG. Now I don’t have to wait for PinItMaps to release their other maps. Thank you so much for sharing 💖

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