We built our geography lesson today, off of Laurie Keller's The Scrambles States of America. This book is a lot of fun, and very educational, if your children haven't read it, I would highly recommend it. There are a number of fun printables available on Keller's website, to go along with the story, both for geographical knowledge, and reading comprehension. And, we have a Scholastic Video version, that tells the story in animated form, that the little ones really enjoy.
Gamewright, has put out a board/card game based on the book, too. It is for ages 8 and up, and does require some fast reading. But, it's excellent for teaching geography trivia, such as states' capitals, nicknames, border states, and so on. And, even better, it's a fun, and challenging game.
After playing a few rounds of it with the older children this morning, I left them to play on their own, and slipped away to help the little ones put together our Melissa & Doug U.S.A. floor puzzle.
We have several United States puzzles, but this one is a favorite, because the pieces are large, and most of the states are separate pieces. Each state is labeled with its name, capital, and a picture of something common to it.
Of course, the best part of our lesson, was frosting the United States cookies I made with my oldest daughter, yesterday.
She traced out the states for me, on a piece of wax paper, taped over a United States place mat.
Then I cut the states out (marking an R for right side, on the front of the pieces).
And, we used them as templates for cutting out state shaped sugar cookies. I thought this would be a long tedious process, but it turns out it's fairly easy to cut out 48 states, we didn't do Alaska or Hawaii, from sugar cookie dough. We baked the larger, and smaller states separately, so the tiny ones wouldn't burn, and then left them to cool overnight, so they'd be ready to frost today.
While I made the frosting, the children worked at unscrambling our cookies. It was a difficult job, because the cookies had morphed some in the oven, but also a good chance to practice finding congruent shapes, by comparing the cookies to our placemat.
Then, they helped to frost some of them, and tried to put on the two letter abbreviations. So, they not only got to practice the abbreviations, but also piping frosting - which they found out, can be tricky.
For more geographical fun, be sure to check out the geography link ups at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.
It's great to be a homeschooler.