Welcome to the Bright Idea Zone!

One toy, many ways to play.

Unearth intriguing facts and information that will delight learners of all ages and enhance the placemat experience! Do you want to share the fun with your children off the screen? Simply click to download the printer-friendly children’s version of this page or access your bonus printable coloring pages. Get ready to embark on an educational adventure!

Raise world travelers! One of the best things we feel we can do as parents is raise curious and kind and understanding kids – and we can’t understand what we don’t know, right? At D&J we can help ignite the understanding with our World Map placemat that’s loaded with fun facts and engaging activities while you simply provide a yummy snack. Speaking of snacks, where did that snack originate from? What a better conversation starter than a colorful map of our world?!

First things first, let’s chat about maps!

Did your child know that people originally thought our planet Earth was flat? That’s right! But don’t get confused with this mat, because our planet is indeed a round sphere – we just had to fit everything in one place and decided to make it flat. Keep this in mind as you discover the many countries dispersed across the globe. What you see might actually be on the opposite side of the planet, which means the people living in each of those countries are experiencing the opposite time of day or season! Pretty awesome, right? 

Do you see that fun circle and star on your map? That is called a compass rose and tells you the directions: North, South, East and West. The compass rose also has lines pointing in between those directions: northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest.

The compass rose helps you figure out which way you're facing, and which way you need to go. It's like a map's way of saying, "Hey, remember to use your compass so you don't get lost!"

On your illustrated world map, the North Pole is at the very top, and the South Pole is at the very bottom. They’re both located at the points where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface. It's important to remember that the North and South Poles are very cold and inhospitable places, meaning not many people live there due to the harsh climate. But they are still important parts of our planet, and it's fun to learn about them!

At the center of your World Map Placemat is the Equator, an imaginary line that circles the Earth around its middle. It divides the Earth into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. The Equator is very important because it helps us understand weather patterns, and it's also where the sun's rays are the strongest. Lots of sunscreen is needed if you find yourself closer and closer to the Equator! 

Two other imaginary lines that circle the Earth are called the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropic of Cancer is located in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Tropic of Capricorn is located in the Southern Hemisphere. These lines mark the places where the sun's rays are directly overhead at least once a year. The Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn are named after the zodiac signs Cancer (crab) and Capricorn (sea goat), which are both animals with horns!

An ocean is a large body of saltwater that covers most of the Earth's surface. They are shown on your placemat in turquoise. Oceans are important because they help regulate the Earth's climate and provide habitats for many different kinds of plants and animals.

Did you know there are 5 oceans on our planet Earth? Let’s chat about them: 

The Pacific Ocean - The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world, covering almost 64 million square miles. It is home to many different kinds of marine life including whales, dolphins, and sharks. The Pacific Ocean is also known for its many beautiful islands, like Hawaii, Fiji, and Tahiti. 

The Atlantic Ocean - The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest ocean in the world, covering more than 41 million square miles. It is home to fish, sea turtles, and dolphins. The Atlantic Ocean is also known for its strong currents and fierce storms.

The Indian Ocean - The Indian Ocean is the third-largest ocean in the world, covering more than 28 million square miles. In this ocean you can find sea snakes, jellyfish, and sea turtles. The Indian Ocean is also known for its warm waters and beautiful coral reefs.

The Southern Ocean - The Southern Ocean is the second smallest, but youngest ocean in the world, covering almost 8 million square miles. It is home to penguins, seals, and whales. The Southern Ocean is also known for its icy waters and strong winds.

The Arctic Ocean - The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest ocean in the world, covering over 5 million square miles. In the Arctic Ocean you can find polar bears, walruses, and seals. The Arctic Ocean is also known for its frozen waters and beautiful icebergs.

Each ocean is unique, with its own climate, currents, and wildlife. Exploring the world's oceans can be an exciting adventure, full of wonder and discovery!

Continents are the large land masses that make up our planet Earth. Flip this map over to learn about the seven continents on Earth. 

A country is a place that has its own government and borders. It's like a big community where people live together and have their own set of rules and laws.

There are many countries on planet Earth - over 190, in fact! Each country is unique, with its own language, culture, and traditions. Some countries are very big, like Russia or China, while others are very small, like Monaco or Nauru. Take a second to find those on the map! 

The largest country in the world, by size, is Russia. Russia is located in both Europe and Asia, and it covers more than 17 million square kilometers. That's about one-eighth of the world's land area! Russia is also home to many different kinds of landscapes, including forests, tundra, and mountains.

The smallest country in the world, by size, is Vatican City. Vatican City is located within the city of Rome, in Italy, and it covers just 0.44 square kilometers. Despite its small size, Vatican City is home to some of the world's most famous landmarks, including St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

When it comes to population, the largest country in the world is China. China has a population of over 1.4 billion people! That's more than four times the population of the United States. China is known for its rich history, culture, and cuisine, as well as its bustling cities and beautiful landscapes.

The smallest country in the world, by population, is the island nation of Tuvalu. Tuvalu has a population of just over 11,000 people. Despite its small size, Tuvalu is known for its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and friendly people.

Each country has its own flag, which is like a special symbol that represents that country. The flag usually has colors and patterns that are meaningful to the people who live there. 

Exploring Planet Earth opens your eyes to just how big and diverse our world is! You get glimpses of different cultures and ways of life as you learn about them. But the best way to learn? Traveling and getting to live life in each country–but we know that might not be possible, at least yet. Who knows though, you might find a few countries to visit one day and learn even more fascinating facts (like the best toy stores or toy huts or the best restaurants) while you’re there!