Memorization is so dry and boring. Sometimes it is simply necessary, but if I can make it hands-on in some way, then it goes a long way toward making it more interesting, especially for my first grader.
Little Bill is currently working on the continents for geography, and for a while I was simply pointing to continents on a poster for our sessions. This morning it hit me - if I cut up the poster into continents, Bill can hold them in his hands, move them around into place, and just have more hands-on experience with them which makes learning more fun and makes it "take"!
I just cut out the continents from the world poster and stuck magnet tape (cut into pieces) onto the backs. The continents (and ocean names) are now hanging on our fridge. After we use them for a while I will do the same with a non-labelled poster, since right now he can simply read the continent names. When I do the next poster I will laminate the continents before sticking the magnets on to make them more durable.
Oh and I have this small laminated world map that I put in the cabinet right next to the fridge so that if Bill is playing with the continents alone, he can check what he's done against the map.