Where in the World is Anything?


What You’ll Need (Minimum):

It’s a massive world out there — you’ll never run out of things to learn about it. The premise of this date idea is simple: You and your partner test your geographical knowledge by picking a bunch of countries from a list, and then trying to guess where they are on a world map. If you locate a country incorrectly, you go and watch a YouTube video about it. Learning! Together!

I like to think I know a bit about geography, but was also interested in seeing how much I don’t know. Also, I really wanted to see what Emmy knew about the topic. I tend to think she’s more knowledgeable than me about most things, but she contested that notion in this instance. Neither of us remember much of geography from school, and Emmy claims she owes all of her geographical knowledge to playing Carmen Sandiago in the 90’s. The results were bound to be interesting (to me, anyway).

This at-home activity can be done either cooperatively or competitively — depending on what mood you’re in. It goes a bit like this:

  • You each pick 3-5 countries from the list. 
  • Together, you both attempt to locate each country on the unlabeled map, and mark the location of each one. You will have to use your diplomacy skills to agree upon where you both think each country is.
  • Once you’re finished, load up Google Maps and search for each country on your list.
  • If you guessed correctly, congratulations! If not, now you’ve learned something!
  • For each country guessed incorrectly, you now get to go and learn about it. 
  • Search for each country on Youtube and watch a video about it. Feel free to get more specific by adding descriptors such as “culture”, “music” “food” or whatever else you’re interested in.

COMPETITIVE MODE: Same thing, but you both take turns guessing the location of each country, and marking your guesses on the map. You can both use one map and use a different coloured pen each, or print out two maps. The person with the most points, wins!

EASY MODE: Print a map of only one continent, and a list of its countries.

EXPERT MODE: For the geographical history buffs/archaeologists out there, get a list of countries and a world map from a period of antiquity (17th century for example). Test your knowledge on countries that don’t exist anymore!

What we learned:

  • Seals are everywhere. Seriously. Every slab of land not vastly occupied with humans seemed to be swarming with seals. All over the globe.
  • The French somehow claimed a bunch of islands near Antarctica.
  • Armenia is full of really cool old stuff and awesome mountains.
  • Guinea-Bissau is a small country on the west coast of Africa. It lies right next to a larger country, also called Guinea. Surprisingly (and somewhat disappointingly), this is not where Guinea Pigs come from.
  • There’s a buddhist rock carving on the British Channel Island of Sark. At first I thought this was some cool ancient relic, but it turns out it was just some dude who carved it in 1999.

Whilst this activity works best if you have a printed map and list of countries (and access to a printer to print them off), it can be done entirely on a laptop or other smart device. For instance, you can load up the map in Paint or Photoshop and draw in your guesses.

After being in lockdown for the past couple of months due to COVID-19, a lot of us are itching to get back out there and experience more of what the world has to offer. Although restrictions are easing for many, international travel may not be on the cards for a while yet. In the meantime, this can be a fun activity to whet your appetites for impending world exploration. Be prepared to find new holiday destinations you didn’t even know existed.

Have you tried this date idea? Feel free to leave us some feedback below and tell us all the cool things you learned about the world.

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