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Yes, my kindergartener knows his states (well, some of them)–and he doesn’t even live in the United States! Need a great way to teach geography to kids? This might be it!
Last summer at a garage sale, we came across The Scrambled States of America card game. It’s based on The Scrambled States of America children’s book by Laurie Keller. I bought the game, as I’ve been looking for a states puzzle for my daughter (who’s in second grade), so she could start to learn her US states, as she’s not going to be drilled on that in school here.
We played it last summer, and it was a hit!
Last summer, it was a little too difficult for The Boy, who had just barely turned five. But now that he’s almost got kindergarten under his belt (and therefore knows his letters, and can count, etc.), he’s able to play on his own much better, with minimal help from me.
How To Play
Each player gets a set of five state cards. There is also a stack of question cards. On each turn, a question card is turned over, and everyone has to find a state in their hand that starts with the letter N, or touches 5 other states, or is blue, or is the closest to Missouri–whatevery the question card asks. (Each player gets a US map for reference.)
The first player to answer the question correctly gets to keep the card. The person with the most cards in the end wins.
Now, normally, the second-grader wins by a pretty large margin. However, there are some questions, like, “which state is blue?” or “Which state is wearing something” that are easy for the not-quite-literate kids to answer correctly. Futhermore, the “which-state-is-closer-to [insert state name]” questions aren’t timed–the person who has the closest state wins, so slower players get a shot, too.
For younger kids, this could be really frustrating. (At times, it has been for my own little guy.)
But he keeps hanging in there.
And it’s paying off, because he knows the names of a number of US states. Furthermore, he’s getting an idea of what North, South, East and West mean, plus where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are! I´m pretty impressed.
This gets me thinking of other ways to teach geography to kids in this format . . . a countries of the world game, perhaps?
I think I’ll have to make a Scrambled States of Mexico game!
Or, better yet, find an independent toy store or game store in your town, and if they don’t have it in stock, I bet they’d be happy to order it for you. That way, your money stays in your community.
But if that´s not an option, I can hook you up here.