Teaching The 50 States to Kids: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

October 8, 2012

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Book of the Week GIVEAWAY:  GO, GO America by Dan Yaccarino

Why we love this book:

The Fabulous Farley Family is all ready to read maps, ask directions and jump in the car for a fun family journey that will take them all the way from Maine to Hawaii. Join them and you’ll enjoy a fun-fact filled adventure that will help you discover our weird and wondrous United States of America! We love this book because growing-up we were the Farley Family! Every summer our parents crammed our family into a little car and we camped our way across America. The nostalgic illustrations in Go, Go America are just too endearing for us to resists!

Go, Go America Book Giveaway

The Farley Family travels from state to state teaching us wacky facts at each stop. Do kids like dry memorization of the 50 States? NO, of course not! Yaccarino manages to actually make learning the 50 states fun.

An Introduction to Geography and

the 50 States of America

Over the next few weeks we’ll share an Introduction to American History for Children. With the 2012 Election just a month away, this is the perfect time to introduce a theme on American History. This week we’ll start with the basics by learning the 50 States of America. But first let’s consider the big picture . . .

Solar System Model by children

Solar System Model, MacGyver, age 5

The Big Picture!

With young children, I have found it helpful to begin with the big picture and work towards the details.  Geography and History are very abstract concepts for children. It is hard for them to think past their own neighborhood and experiences. As adults we have to bring the big, wide world to them. In kindergarten MacGyver studied our Solar System, creating a model of the planets. At age 9, This model still hangs in his bedroom. The early introduction to our solar system gave him a starting place from which to understand our world.

The Seven Continents of the World

In first grade, MacGyver learned the Seven Continents. Again, we were moving from the big picture adding more details. Learning the Seven Continents is easier than memorizing countless countries or the 50 States of America. Learning the Seven Continents was an enormous step in learning the geography of our world. When learning about any subject, I can easily refer MacGyver to a specific continent:

  • The elephant we adopted was rescued in Kenya. Kenya is in Africa. Can you locate Africa on the Map? Can you find Kenya?
  • Columbus was born in Italy. Italy is in Europe. Can you locate Europe. Let’s find Italy
  • Mommy is traveling to Cambodia. Cambodia is in South East Asia. Can you locate Asia? Let’s find Cambodia.
  • You get the picture. Knowing the Seven Continents helps me get MacGyver in the ball park.

Teaching children the seven continents

FREE Printable World Maps

Teaching Children Geography

The Seven Continents by Wil Mara

Another excellent Rookie Read-About by Scholastic. At age 8, MacGyver could easily read this resource book independently. The color photos and simple text highlight basic geographic facts about the seven continents.

The Scrambled States of America Game based on the Book by Laurie Keller

If you are teaching the 50 States you need this game (and book)! I never thought such a simple game could be so much fun and teach children so many basic facts about the 50 states. MacGyver is in love with this game! How would you like your children begging to play an educational game?! The Scrambled States of America really does teach children the 50 States and where they are located on the map. For a complete overview of how this game teaches the 50 States check-out our full review of this fun game and book.

Teaching children geography

United States Coloring Book by Winky Adam

The simplicity is what I like best about this coloring book. Arranged in alphabetical order, each page includes a big black-line outline of one of the 50 states. Captions beneath each illustration identify state’s nickname, motto, flower, bird, tree, capital, main rivers, mountains, and other facts. Perfect introduction to the 50 states.

I’ve actually made copies of the pages as MacGyver colors them. Not because I’m trying to break copyright laws! This simply allows us to rearrange the pages as necessary. The coloring book is neatly arranged in alphabetical order; however, sometimes we might want to sort them by geographical regions or put them in order by the date they became a state . . . . Having the pages loose allows us to use the pages many different ways.

Maps, Charts, and Graphs by Modern Curriculum Press

Maps, Charts, and Graphs is another highly reviewed series. I’m not a workbook type of teacher; however, this simple series engages students in beginning map reading activities and teaches them how to communicate graphically. It’s almost like each page is a scavenger hunt using symbols and maps. You can read the description of skills taught in each book to determine a starting point for your child. Above I’ve linked to the one that specifically teaches states and regions.

Helpful Internet Links:

Teaching children Geography

Geography Overview Book for Children:

A Child’s Introduction to The World: Geography, Cultures and People – From the Grand Canyon to the Great Wall of China by Heather Alexander.

This book reminds me of our set of encyclopedias, packed with beginning geography information. “Part One: Where Am I” introduces children to geography and basic map reading skills. “Part Two: Welcome to the World” travels the world, teaching children about each continent. The book has lovely illustrations and a pop-up globe with reusable stickers.

*Okay, just for the record, there are a few typos in this book. Taking this into consideration, I think the information and illustrations are still worthy of our home library. But I wanted to let you know, in case a few typos will drive you insane.

Life with Jeannine

Go, Go America Book Giveaway


We’re GIVING AWAY one hardcover copy of  Go, Go America by Dan Yaccarino

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

Let’s have a try at Go, Go America ourselves. What’s a zany, strange or fun fact about your state?  (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, October 11, 2012

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, October 12, 2012. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!

Sharing this week at:

Hip Homeschool Moms

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