I recently realized that I wanted to work more on United States geography with my children. The older two have a basic knowledge of the states and capitals, but I wanted to go a little more in-depth about the culture and highlights of each state.
I wanted something we could do as a family to give them a good foundation and be fun. We have been saving up to take a cross-country vacation the year my oldest is a senior, so I thought it would be great to use the geography study to help plan the trip.
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Free Geography Printable
For the spine of our study, I created a geography printable (available in our resource library) to use with each state. Since I want to include this as part of a high school geography course for my teens, I am having them split the states and each complete the form for 25 states. I am also going to do a few states with my younger boys.
Then we will come together as a family and have them share about the states they are covering. I plan to do this one or two states at a time so that it is not overwhelming.
Then, based on the information they found about the states and their interests, they will plan out potential routes for our cross-country trip to include as many unique attractions as possible, given our time constraints.
Even if you were not planning an extensive trip, you could have students plan dream vacations or maybe a little weekend getaway to something special in your own or neighboring state..
In addition to the research and state-by-state forms, we will include food in our study. Many states are known for certain foods. For example, Georgia is known for peaches, North Carolina has two kinds of regional BBQ, Louisiana has crawfish and gumbo, and Texas has brisket.
As we learn about each state, we will try to make a dish from that state. Our family finds that food makes learning enjoyable and helps create memories, and these memories help the other information stick with them better.
Geography Games and Activities
The core of our course will be the state-by-state forms and the fun food that we include with each state. However, there are a few other games, books, and activities that I want to include throughout the study, and I think those will be especially important for my younger children.
Ticket to Ride doesn’t have as much specific geography. Still, it does help children get a better understanding of the location of major cities, and I have to mention it because it is one of our family’s favorite games.
In addition, we have several fun games that revolve around the national parks. This is a great way to learn more about the history and geography of different locations. They are also great places to put on a travel itinerary.
Our favorite National Park games are Trekking the National Parks Trivia and a National Parks memory game.
I will include some of the art lessons from You Are An Artist’s American Landmark Course for my budding artist. Our art membership contains this course, but you can also purchase it as a standalone.
There are many great lessons, including Yellowstone Falls, The Grand Tetons, The Golden Gate Bridge, and more. If you have the membership, there is also a course that includes some great map paintings that would pair well with this study.
I intend to check out various library books about each state and the attractions in that state. However, we also are enjoying the Campground Kids book series. It is a fictional series, but each book introduces the children to a different national park.
For the actual travel portion of our study, we have our National Park Passports and a Scratch Off US Map. We love the National Park Passport program because it gets the kids excited to go to new parks, and once you’ve purchased the passport, the stamp is like a free souvenir at each new location.
We will also participate in Junior Ranger programs at various parks during our travels.
Can You Help Us?
Whether planning a big trip or just wanting to cover more geography, I hope this study helps you have fun while teaching more about United States geography.
I would love to hear about your favorite places to visit in the United States as we learn more and plan our trip. Also, share your favorite geography books and games in the comments.
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