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Puzzle Maps & Geography Game

July 17, 2012

I try not to let the 'comparison bug' bite me, but every once and a while it does.  I am human!  It's just that lately I've noticed pins on Pinterest for "How to Get Your Child to Learn All 50 States" or something of that sort-- well, here's my failing; Big Brother is 5 and doesn't know all 50, yet!  I've had intentions to do some sort of Geography study last Fall and over the summer, but the idea of doing a coloring page and finding it on the map isn't appealing-- to T, or myself!  So what am I to do?!? 

We've read The Little Man in the Map, put together our Geography puzzle, colored coloring pages, played Scrambled States, added food incentives.... and I finally have said, "So be it!" We'll just keep on keepin' on, and he'll eventually learn.  At this age, it's all about exposure... right?!  At least that is what I tell myself ; ) 

While he's still in the process of learning all 50 States, we recently picked up a book called: Puzzle Maps: U.S.A. by Nancy Clouse.  It's an older book and was on an end shelf at our library.  It caught my eye so I picked it up and I am glad I did.  It is a really neat book!  It addresses that maps may be all different sizes and colors, but the shapes of the states never change.  The author then uses the shapes to make different pictures!  It is a very creative approach to Geography! 

Here is what we created: 
Can you guess what State this is?  
These 5 States make a Rooster!  Do you "see" it?!
Do you know what 11 States make up this dog?!  
Neat, huh?! 

For another Geography activity, I came across the idea of putting treats on the different States and as T names them, he can keep the treat-- which I thought was a great incentive, but it also resulted in a sugar high!  So, I had to re-think the concept a little bit and used it with our Scrambled States and Melissa and Doug Money Set-- no sugar high and he's learning to count money in the process! 

Here's what we did: 

We set up our puzzle and laid pennies, nickels, dimes, and a quarter (on our home state) on the 50 States.  We used more pennies than nickels or dimes to practice making change.   We played Scrambled States per the directions, except if we both had State cards in our pile that answered the question, we both get to take the cards.  If you don't have the game, this may sound a bit confusing!  As we make a pile of our State cards, we also take the coin off that State. 

For example, if we drew a card and it said "States that start with A" and T has Alabama and Arizona, he takes the coins off those States.  If I also have a State that starts with "A,"  I do the same.  Adding the monetary element excites T a bit more.  After all the State cards are gone, we both count our money to see who has more.  I have told T that after we play with pretend coins a couple more times, we'll play for real money!  That is another reason we play with more pennies than any other coin!  : )

Check out my Social Studies: Geography/ History  Pinterest board for more ideas!


Phyllis said...

For my kids, we studied one state at a time and each time we were finished I would "quiz" them with a black US map. Each week they would have to put in all the states we had studied. It was easy at first to put in one state, and grew progressively more difficult as we added new states, but the old states, since they were reviewed each time became solidly memorized. No worries that your five year old doesn't know all the states. There is lots of time.

Phyllis said...

That was supposed to be "blank", not "black" BTW.

All-of-a-Kind Family said...

This looks like a lot of fun. I'm going to look for that book, too!

Kristina said...

Thank you for the blank map idea! I am not exactly sure how many he knows as in State name and location vs. just the State name... It would help me narrow down what exactly he needs help with!

Kristina said...

Like I mentioned above, it was a very creative approach to learning the shapes of each State! The dog came from the book and it had many more great ideas to try as well : )

Keitha said...

What a wonderful idea to use the states to make shapes! We like to sing the 50 Nifty song while pointing out the states on a US map. You can find the Fifty Nifty song on Youtube.

Lindsay said...

What a creative way to learn the states! If it makes you feel any better my son is 5 and I don't think he even knows what state he lives in ;-) he is just not interested right now! But I like your ideas for exposure!

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom said...

Wow I must really be in left field. My oldest, who is 8 years old, knows perhaps 20 of the states and can rattle off facts about those states but we did not start on our big 2 year journey into the states until this school year which began this week. Our family focused more on learning about the world and geography around the world first so they know all of the foreign countries. I love your creative ideas to learn the states and may use some of your ideas for my daughter. Thanks for linking up this week to my Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop!

Jennifer Fischer said...

My oldest is only 2.5 yo, but he LOVES maps so we love seeing new map ideas!

Stacey Jones said...

This looks great. I homeschool my 2 boys and we could use this when we study different countries.


Carrie said...

Oh, how fun!! We will have to check out this Puzzle Map book. We are introducing the states through a post card swap arranged by another blogger. It is fun for my daughter to receive the post cards and eventually I have a craft idea that involves a map of the US and the cards. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

Rebecca English said...

Some great map activities. Its hard not to compare what you're child is doing but as long as they are interested and keen to learn I think that is the main thing.

Thanks for linking to the Sunday showcase,

Kristina said...

The post card swap sounds like so much fun! I hope someone does it again!

Cheerios and Lattes said...

What a great game/learning activity. Thanks for linking up on Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you'll be back again this week with some more of you great ideas.

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