8 Excellent Resources for Studying the United States


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One of the most memorable activities my kids and I have done in all our years of homeschooling was 50 States Friday. We ended each week by learning about a different state. It was a fun, low-key, unhurried way to study our country.

Following are some of my favorite resources for studying the United States (and one or two that I wish had been around back then).

8 Excellent Resources for Studying the United States

1. The Desk Atlas of the United States

This is a resource that wasn’t around when we did our original study, but I have never seen a more beautifully illustrated atlas of the United States for kids (and their parents!). Each two-page spread is chock full of information about each state. Even the book cover (inside and out) contains interesting facts and trivia.

2. State Quarters

It’s easy to use the quarters themselves by just finding out what is on the back and why it was chosen. We liked to tie in a related book when we could. For example, we were introduced to John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, by checking out the back of a California quarter. We found a fascinating book about him at the library when the kids wanted to learn more.

If you don’t understand the significance of the picture on the back of the state quarter, the U.S. Mint site is a great place for finding out more.

3. State Note Book

The State Note Book from Geography Matters is a fantastic resource for studying the United States. It features a notebooking page for each state with a U.S. map outline where students can color in the state, space for facts about each state, and a sticker set that includes the bird, tree, and flower for each state.

Just add a state flag sticker set and you’re good to go!

4. Pin-It Maps

We love Pin-It Maps, and their United States map set would make an excellent addition to any study of the 50 states. The set includes flag pins for each state, which would make a great learning tool, review, or hands-on quiz. Each pin has the two-letter state abbreviation on the back for an additional learning opportunity.

Plus, the pin map of the United States has the capital and major cities marked so that kids not only learn the names of the capitals but also where each is located.

Of course, edible maps are always fun, too.

5. Crayola’s State Coloring Pages

These beautiful state coloring pages are perfect for younger students without being too juvenile for older kids. They all feature the state flag and the outline of the state. Other features vary but usually include some combination of state symbols, such as the bird, flower, fish, or butterfly.

8 Excellent Resources for Studying the United States

6. State Facts and Trivia

50 States.com was my favorite website for our Fifty State Fridays. It lists facts and random trivia for each state. It was those tidbits of trivia that we always found most memorable. I always tried to come up with a craft or activity based on at least one random fact for each state.

For example, when we learned that Alabama still has a law on the books (or they did at the time we studied the state) banning fake mustaches, we all made fake mustaches to wear for the day.

America’s Story is another fun website for discovering fun trivia facts about each state. And, Pam Barnhill’s 8 for Each State provides fascinating facts, activities, and resources for each state.

7.State Facts and Symbols Books

The {State Name} Facts and Symbols series by Emily McAuliffe is a fantastic series of books. There is one for each state, providing details and big, colorful photographs about various state facts and symbols, such as the state bird, the capital, the location, and more. They were one of my favorite reference tools for our studies.

Also, if you’d like to tie literature into your state study, don’t miss the Around the USA Study from Cindy West. She lists literature options for each state.

8. State Recipes

We always loved to look for foods to make for each state based on either an interesting piece of trivia or a state symbol. This list of state recipes makes a  great place to start.

Eat Your Way Through the USA is another handy resource. There are usually two recipes per state, along with interesting facts about each.

Has your family ever studied the fifty states? What resources would you add?

Original resource list published June 25, 2009

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