Mnemonic Devices for Geography!


My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles. A mnemonic for learning the names of the planets. .

When you’re faced with a geography memorization task, one way to make it simple is to employ a mnemonic device. Mnemonics (pronounced “ne-mon’-ics") are memory aides in the form of easily recalled rhymes, phrases, or acronyms that serve as a reference for the place names (or other information) that you’re studying.

One example is the common mnemonic device that helps people memorize the names of the Great Lakes. If you simply recall the word “HOMES,” the five lake names fall into place in your mind: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.

But what if you need to remember the Great Lakes’ names in order of their location from west to east? There’s a common mnemonic for that too. The funny phrase, “Sally Made Henry Eat Oreos,” reorders the lakes like this: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario.

Remarkably, the human brain can remember relatively meaningless phrases like “Sally Made Henry Eat Oreos” much more easily than it can commit to memory the actual information you’re trying to learn. Once you recall the key phrase, your mind can go to work filling in names that correspond to each initial letter.

In the rest of this article, we’ll look at some of the common mnemonic devices used to learn geography. However, keep in mind that, often, the best mnemonics are the ones you come up with yourself. It’s easy to do, and in most cases, the sillier it is, the better! A learning trick that’s personal to you and puts a smile on your face will be the most effective.

The 7 Continents

Eat An Apple As A Nighttime Snack

Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, North America, South America

The Countries of Central America from North to South

Gorilla eating hotdog

Big Gorillas Eat Hotdogs, Not Cold Pizza

Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama

The 5 Countries of North Africa from West to East

Many African Tourists Like Elephants

Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt

The Original 13 Colonies of the United States

Cory Doesn’t Give My Mom’s New Noisy Nutty Neighbor, Pam, Rides In Sister’s Van

Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia

The Countries of Oceania

Peckish At Night, Poor Meal Makes New King Send The Valet For Toasted Sandwiches

Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa

The Borders of California

On top, Next to, Also next to, Much down, Precisely West

‘On Top’ means Oregon, ‘Next to’ means Nevada, ‘Also next to’ means Arizona, ‘Much down’ means Mexico, ‘Precisely West’ means Pacific Ocean

The Cities of Argentina in Alphabetical Order

Because Clever Carlos Can Constantly Calculate Exact Fractions, Just Like Little Mister Math, Nobody Really Saw Simple Simon Say, “Sixty, Six Times Ten.”

Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Chaco, Chubut, Cordova, Corrientes, Entre Rios, Formosa, Jujuy, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Missiones, Neuquin, Rio Negro, Salta, San Juan, San Luis, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Tierra de Fuego, Tucumán

The US States

In this YouTube video, Ms. Alexander provides mnemonics and tips to remember the 50 states.

The Countries of Europe

Use silly mnemomics and far-fetched puns to memorize all the countries of Europe.