One of the happiest years of our homeschooling was spent studying the fifty states. We explored regions, memorized capitals, mapped, cooked, baked, and had so much fun making flags and seals.
There are so many different ways to teach children about our amazing 50 states that make up the USA. You can blaze a new trail in your studies or come at it from a different angle.
Here are some creative ways to discover our Fifty-Nifty United States.
When my husband was a boy, his father, a schoolteacher, took the entire family on a trip across the country one summer. They camped along the way. Mike discovered General Sherman in Sequoia National Park, explored Carlsbad Caverns, hiked down the Grand Canyon, chased his brothers in the Painted Desert, and saw Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone National Park. What a trip! The sweet memories have lasted a lifetime!
If you can travel across the USA, do it!
If not, travel in your living room. God Bless the USA: Exploring States and Territories takes you and your children on an adventure one region at a time. Starting with the Southern states, you will visit each state to explore nature, see landmarks, visit popular places, and meet famous people. Along the way, you will learn about geography, farming, and business, too.
God Bless the USA: Exploring States and Territories is divided into 8 sections with an introduction to each section.
Four pages are devoted to each state. Two pages are written in conversational style as we travel the state. We learn about the state by visiting different places. One page is devoted to mapping: following simple directions with a state road map. The final page is devoted to research where children read a book or research online for the capital, statehood date, abbreviation, state flower, state bird, state song, lakes, rivers, and fun facts.
The states and territories are divided up into these sections:
- Southern States
- Mid-Atlantic States
- New England States
- Midwest States
- Southwest States
- Western States
- Pacific States
- Territories & Districts
Cook Your Way Through the USA
Some children would enjoy learning about our 50 states and 5 inhabited territories with cooking and baking.
Divided into the same sections as God Bless the USA: Exploring States and Territories, God Bless the USA Cookbook has information and recipes about each state.
Along the way, you will find out about farming, ranching, favorite foods, and even a few restaurants!
Each recipe has been kitchen-tested for deliciousness. So, get excited about cooking up these state favorites.
Of course, we included Americana favorites like apple pie, steak, casseroles (hot dishes in the Midwest), Philly cheesesteak, key lime pie, chicken-fried steak, and Texas sheet cake.
Yet, you just might come across some dishes you’ve never heard of like Cincinnati chili, Rhode Island’s cabinets, West Virginia’s slaw dogs, gator bites, low country boil, and possum pie.
You can learn a lot about geography when you travel! You might want to take this trip with your family. OR join us at True North Homeschool Academy this fall and travel to every state and inhabited territory in our US Geography class (Jr. High but open to high school students). Purchase online class HERE.
Visit National Parks
We have a huge number of national parks in the USA, even in our territories. Visit the closest one. If you live in the west, they are everywhere! While there are fewer national parks in the eastern USA, there is Acadia National Park in Maine, Great Smokey Mountain National Park in Tennessee, Everglades National Park in Florida, and a few more in our neck of the woods.
The national parks are all beautiful preservations of natural wonders and nature at its finest. You can often camp, hike, boat, fish, and do other fun activities. The parks really gives us a picture of life before asphalt, pollution, and urban sprawl.
If you aren’t able to travel, you can learn about our US national parks with God Bless the USA National Parks Fact Cards.
And for the whole family, God Bless the USA National Parks Memory Game. Even little ones can beat their old siblings with this easy game.
Research with maps. Let children look at maps and work on maps. They can label and color blank outline maps of each state. Or answer questions about state physical maps, political maps, or road maps of each state. It’s a great way to learn about capitals, geography, lakes, rivers, border states, and highways.
Mapping is a great way to learn about our 50 states. Start with a blank outline map. Add landforms like mountains, rivers, swamps, deserts, forests, lakes, hills, prairies, or plains. Symbols should be used like green triangles for trees and upside-down Vs for mountains.
Next, add a star with the name of the capital next to it along with major cities, famous landmarks, and significant places of interest. For example, you could include the Grand Canyon in Arizona and the Everglades in Florida.
Finally, it’s nice to add the bordering states and bodies of water.
Students do a map of each region in our God Bless the USA Exploring States & Territories and road map work for each state.
Create A State Notebook with Maps & Printables
Let children read and research on their own to discover each state. It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, but children should know a state’s location, capital, abbreviation, and some tidbits about the state.
They can use the research notebooking/worksheet pages found in God Bless the USA series. Pages can be printed, filled out, and put in a special “My States Notebook.” Don’t forget to add worksheets about stamps, coins, flags, seals, capitals, and abbreviations (in the books below).
Seals and Flags are a fun way to learn about states because they are so symbolic. It’s fun to guess why the ingredients of a states seal or flag were chosen. After research, you can see if you’re right. Students can use printables to learn more about state flags and seals, and even make a family flag and seal, with God Bless the USA State Flags & Seals.
Abbreviations, capitols, and capitals are another fun way to learn about the states. You can use the printables in God Bless the USA State Capitals & Abbreviations. Students even learn the difference between capitol and capital! Creative worksheets will help students memorize the capitals and abbreviations of each state.
Finally, students enjoy learning about our 50 states and five territories with stamps and coins. As they work through the printable pages, they may uncover a desire to collect stamps or coins. As with seals and flags, state coins and stamps reveal what states are known for and their contributions to the rest of the country. Discover state coins and stamps in God Bless the USA State Stamps & Coins.
Sorting Mats & Puzzles
Children of all ages love state and country puzzles, especially the super-big ones!
Sorting mats pull everything together with flags, coins, seals, stamps, capitals, and abbreviations. These were created especially for those hands-on learners. They can sort and move cards around, as well as visualizing everything together after they are finished. Use the sorting mats in God Bless the USA State Sorting Mats.
We love sorting mats! They are a great way for children to remember what they’ve learned and see a connection between things.
Read Literature Set in Different States
My children love to read! A good writer will bring the setting alive. Since I live in Florida, we have enjoyed books set in Florida like The Yearling, Brave the Wild Trail, Strawberry Girl, and Judy’s Journey.
Older children and teens will love To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper set in Alabama and children will be delighted by My Friend Flicka by Mara O’Hara to learn about Wyoming.
If you are studying Michigan, you can find an age-appropriate biography on Henry Ford. Alaska’s hero dog Balto has a bunch of books to choose from for your younger set. Learn about California’s Gold Rush in By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleishman.
Read Biographies of Famous State Sons & Daughters
Every state has folks that the state is proud of. Learn more about them through biographies. Eight Presidents were born in Virginia: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, and Wilson. Many astronauts come from Ohio including John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. Athletes Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Vince Lombardi, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were all born in New York.
Put Together a Unit Study
This requires a bit of planning. The history, geography, and natural resources of the state are a great place to start. Add books, writing assignments, research projects, and crafts.
More Out-of-the-Box Learning Experiences
Creative assignments help some children thrive!
- Create their own national park
- Design a new sports stadium
- Produce a news show or radio drama
- Make a brochure
- Build a diorama
- Make a relief map
- Plan a tour
- Write a poem or a song
- Plan a city
- Write letters between cousins who live in different states
- Create a website
All of these projects require research that will build their knowledge of the 50 states.
Have fun exploring the Fifty-Nifty United States!
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!