Mapping my neighborhood in German

Go on a neighborhood adventure to identify everyday words in German.

You'll Need

  • Large piece of construction paper
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Charcoal (optional)


45 minutes

Learning Stages

By Susie McKee

Susie McKee is a mom, an artist and an art teacher. She has been teaching for 14 years and loves her current position as the K–5 Art Teacher at Nea Community Learning Center, a public charter school in Alameda, California. Susie is inspired by the art all around us and is always on the look out for new ideas to use in her projects at home and at school.

This map making activity combines so many learning skills--and is a fun way to learn German words for everyday things in your neighborhood.


  1. Discuss “What is a map?” (A visual representation, usually flat, of a part of the Earth.)
  2. Make a quick list of the things in your neighborhood that you want to learn in German and include them on your map (e.g., cars, trees, houses, and flowers).
  3. Take a walk up and down your street (just your block). 
  4. As you walk, notice the colors of the houses and the names of the streets that border your block.

Assemble and Decorate Map

  1. Start your map by drawing a double line down the middle of your piece of white paper.
  2. Draw a line at the top of the paper and at the bottom of the paper, about two inches from the top and bottom edge. 
  3. The line down the middle is your street, and the lines at the top and bottom are the streets at the ends of your block. Add a line down the middle of the streets with a yellow crayon (This will show up nicely when you watercolor over it in black).
  4. Now, leaving room for the sidewalk and front yards, begin drawing the houses along your street. It may be helpful to go outside and sit on the sidewalk so you can look at the actual houses as your draw them. Be sure to draw your family and pets standing in front of your house as well as trees and bushes, too.
  5. I suggest using crayons (not pencils) for this because they resist the watercolors and show up beautifully. The crayons are mostly for outlining, you will fill in the color with the watercolor paints. When you have finished with the crayon, paint everything with watercolors and watch your street come to life! 
  6. Now, using the list below, make labels in German for all of the things in your neighborhood that you included in your picture:

    house: haus
    window: fenster
    door: tur
    street: strabe
    car: auto
    sidewalk: burgersteig 
    family: familie
    neighbor: nachbar
    friend: freund
    cat: katze
    dog: hund
    tree: baum
    flower: blume