Fun and Simple Ways to Learn the 50 US States

T is for Tar Heel book and NC notebooking page

The US States are a fun subject to study with children and there are lots of different ways to go about it.  I thought I would share some of the multi-sensory strategies that we have used.  Near the end is a FREE printable you can download!

Blog post cover Fun and Easy Ways to Learn the 50 States

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Puzzles of the United States

I first introduced our boys to a map of the United States with a floor puzzle when they were preschoolers.  My oldest loves sports so I printed out the names and logos of the NFL teams onto cardstock and taped them on the appropriate states with painter’s tape and he was totally hooked.

This was the puzzle that we used:

We also enjoyed collecting the commemorative quarters from each state and placing them on a map of the United States.  It exposed the boys to the names and location of each state.  The picture on the back of the quarter for each state led us to research the story behind the picture.

Books about the United States

Our local library has all sorts of books about the states, but our favorite series by far is the series of alphabet books like this one:

There is one for each of the states.  They contain great drawings of all sort of facts about the state’s history, ecology, and people. There are in-depth explanations of at least 26 facts in each book.  We would read aloud through some of the book each day throughout a week.

I like to get the hard copy of these books so the boys can flip through them on their own, but they are also available electronically through Hoopla, which is a service our library supplies.  This was great for weeks I forgot to plan ahead and needed to pull the book up quickly!

US States Notebooking Pages

Around 1st and 2nd grade, we became more structured in our study of US States. Each week we would read a book in the series above and we would complete a notebooking page about the state. We loved these notebooking pages from The Crafty Classroom.

Indiana notebooking page

The boys would color the pictures while I read and fill in the information as we found it in the book. At the end of the reading, they would pick a fact or two to write on their notebooking page. In the front of the notebook, we kept a US map so they could color in each state as they finished the corresponding notebooking page.

US State Songs

A super fun way to learn about the states is to watch videos of each state’s song and other songs related to that state.  This is all possible with State Songs of the 50 States!  The first time I showed this to our youngest, he kept wanting to watch more and more videos and was sad he had to go to bed.  The videos chosen for each song do a great job of highlighting some sites or history about the particular state.  And you can learn about state symbols and download the sheet music for the state songs if you would like.

Map Work

A few years ago, I found a relief map of the United States at our local homeschool consignment store and so we always pull this out when studying the states.  This summer, though, I discovered a new way to use it!

Sarah Mackenzie shares the idea in her book, Teaching From Rest.  She suggests giving your child a blank map along with your educational map and have him fill in some of the information, such as five states and one or two bodies of water.  Then the next day, just give him the blank map and see how much he can fill in on his own from memory.  Once he has done this, give him the educational map again to fill in anything he has missed and add a few more pieces of information.  Continue in this manner so your child commits a few more pieces of the map to memory each day you work on it.  My older son loves this activity!  To him, it is a competition with himself to see how much he can commit to memory.

US State Games

Games are always a fun way to review information and the Scrambled States of America is one we like to play.  The goal is to match a ‘riddle’ to one of your states, such as “Is north of Nebraska” or “Capital starts with S or T”.

I love Professor Noggin’s Trivia Games and would love to buy them all!  There is one for the United States, but I have not purchased it, yet.

 For apps, Stack the States has been a fun one!

Ticket to Ride is a fun game that is played on a map of the United States.  It is a great for family game night.

US State Sorting Mats

If you have been around the blog for awhile, you know I love our sorting mats and so of course, I had to start creating some for the US States.  They are a great way for me to assess how much the boys have learned without it feeling like a test!  They also allow them to practice what they have learned and use their critical thinking skills to figure out the information they haven’t committed to memory, yet!

They can match cards to each state that contain information like the state flower or animal, the state flag, the outline of the state, when it entered the union and lots more facts!

Sorting mats for Florida, NC and Alabama with an answer key and corresponding cards.

You can check them out here:

Cover for US Geography Sortings Mats Southeastern States




Cover for US Geography Sorting Mats: Western StatesProduct cover of US Geography Sorting Mats Bundle of All 50 States




FREE US State Matching Worksheets

Want a simpler way to have your children match information with each state?  Download these Matching US States and Flags Worksheets for FREE!  There are ten worksheets with each one containing five different states.

Two printed worksheets. Each showing the outline, name and flag for five different states for children to match by drawing a line.

Download the Worksheets

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