Activity 2: Our school from above

Choosing colours and shapes to create an aerial map of school.

Learning goal

  • To consider shapes and positions of features when making a map.

EYFS outcomes

Development matters

Understanding the world

  • Draw information from a simple map.


  • Select, rotate and manipulate shapes to develop spatial reasoning skills.

Characteristics of effective learning

  • Creating and thinking critically.

See Development Matters (non-statutory curriculum guidance).

Understanding the world

ELG: People, Culture and Communities

  • Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps.

See Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage, 2021.

Before the lesson


Support and challenge

Adults can use the opportunity to discuss and/or support with:

  • Identifying the meaning of the 2D shapes, lines and patterns on the photograph.
  • Identifying and naming features on the photograph.
  • Discussing and encouraging comparisons with how things look on the map in 2D versus 3D when on the ground.
  • Selecting and choosing shapes for the children’s own map creation and encouraging them to think about what shape they will use for particular purposes, e.g. circles to represent trees, rectangles to represent buildings, benches, etc.
  • Introducing and supporting the use of new vocabulary.


  • above

  • aerial

  • bird's eye view

  • feature

  • feature names (e.g. bench, building, field, gate, hall, hill, house, playground, pond, road, steps, tree, woodland)

  • find

  • identify

  • look

  • map

  • photograph

Curriculum opportunities

Created by:
Sophie Pickles (EYFS),  
Geography specialist
Sophie is an¬†expert Early Years consultant. She has spent many years both teaching in Reception and leading, in her role of Head of Early Years and senior manager at an outstanding-rated, child-led setting. Sophie now works with many national educational…
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