It seems reasonable that my favorite theme so far this year has been Around the World, since I love to travel more than I love most things...and it's something I enjoy sharing with others (especially my 3-year-olds!). We recently received some large maps to put up in our block area and for a while it was interesting enough to just point to places and learn about them (with the help of our trusty computer). Eventually, it wasn't enough, so we started adding more.
At first, I just started posting pictures of "celebrations" we had from different holidays around the world. We celebrated Chinese New Year, Hinamatsuri Day (Day of the Dolls), and a few others. Since I just got the maps, I missed all the holidays earlier in the year, but now I know to take lots of pictures for next year! We connected these pictures to their respective countries with some yarn. During the first week of our travel unit, I added a "Princesses of the World" floor puzzle to the block area, and we have put it together a few times now. It describes dresses from various cultures, which we also then mapped.
Next, during Travel by Air week, we mapped out different places we have flown to. I gave each of the kids a plane with their name on it, and they were able to stick it on the map wherever they liked after sharing their travel stories with the class. This was a major hit, and I typed bits of their stories up to post with their airplanes later.
The last thing we mapped was my favorite so far, and it was inspired by the book Around the World on Eighty Legs. I requested it after seeing the cover somewhere, and it just so happened to work out well with our map theme. The book has dozens of short poems about various animals from each of the continents (except North America and Europe). We have been reading from this book all week. The kids are even requesting for certain animals to be re-read! After we read a poem, we took turns mapping pictures of the animal in its native continent. The end result looks pretty cool!