Idea No. 3 for kids + summer: Learn your states

Summer is winding down, so I’m sharing just one last idea for keeping kids productive when school isn’t in session.

Last summer I wanted to teach my boys two things: each state’s location on a United States map and a little about the Constitution. We didn’t learn as much about the Constitution as I would have liked (we mostly got through the historical context and why the Constitution was needed), but the boys did plenty of practice in state location.

I printed copies of a United States map that only showed state boundaries, and I put these in plastic sheet protectors. Each boy got a dry-erase marker and would label as many states as possible (and could easily erase the page after every use).

As the weeks went by, I started timing them for five minutes to see how many states they could label, or I would have them fill out the map as fast as they could and try to beat their previous best times.

We also bought this big floor puzzle of the United States. Most (unfortunately, not all) the pieces were shaped like the actual states, so the boys learned to identify state location and shape by putting together the puzzle. This activity would be especially good for kinesthetic learners.

One more thing: My eight year old started collecting state quarters, and it became a family activity to help him find each state. This made state names more familiar, and he learned a little about the states based on the images on the “tails” side of the quarters. •

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