Last year for Christmas I asked for a current map of the world, and my oldest brother (always the professor, encouraging further studies) got me one. I love lying in bed and getting lost looking at it. Not only do I find the shape of the land masses on earth visually pleasing and balanced, but it's educational. I remember being in third grade and having to memorize the countries in Africa. Recently I heard they don't teach social studies anymore, which is where this lesson took place when I was coming along. To counter this sad turn of academic events, I am pushing for everyone to buy a map. A big, pretty world map to hang and study and (hopefully) frame beautifully! If you don't have the wall space, get a globe! About two years ago on Ebay I bought a Replogle globe- http://www.replogleglobes.com/ -that lights up in the middle. Being from the late 70's/early 80's, my globe still has the USSR and East/West Germany so I don't study it for correct cities and countries, but I do love the quiet, studious but playful mood it sets in my living room. One site that is totally reasonable and has pretty much every map under the sun is- you guessed it!- www.maps.com. You can actually find Replogle sold here as well. Prices range from maps sold for $11 to floor globes sold for $7000 and everything in between. Maps serve as great artwork or a globe as a great accessory, and besides framing, are a steal. They look cute in a kids room, smart in a study, and just plain fun anywhere else.
Kids room option:
Great floor globe:
So put on your explorer's best (think tricorne hat and gold-chained pocket compass), and get a-mappin'! I promise you'll love it.