Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Unscrambled United States - Geography Fun For Kids (and another cookie project)


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.

13 comments:

Jolly Green Mommy said...

I love the cookies. What a great way to integrate everything. I know I would be able to remember which state is which if I made them like that.

Raising a Happy Child said...

So awesome. Can Anna come study in your cookie school - you just seem to have so much fun teaching everything through baking. I am sure she would enjoy it immensely.

Tonya @ Live the Adventure said...

You are so creative! What a neat and fun way to learn the states!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Tonya - Thanks! But, I don't know if it's creative, or bored - what else do you do with six kids, on a rainy day?

Natalie - Of course, we'd love to have Anna, but I'm afraid my sugar fueled horde might be a bit much for her :)

Ticia said...

Oh man, only you would make 50 states cookies.
I have a Texas shaped cookie cutter, but man I can't imagine tracing all that out.

WonderMer said...

This is awesome!!!! I already warned my 7 year old that we were hitting Social Studies HARD this next quarter. I can't wait to use this cookie idea in our learning!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Ticia - Before I started cutting the dough, I did look to see if I could get a 50 state cookie cutter set - but really, it didn't end up being bad at all. It was easier than the periodic table! :)

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Wow! That is one serious cookie project! I didn't know Melissa & Doug made a US state puzzle... I'll have to look out for it!

Wonder Mom said...

Love this! I am bookmarking it and HOPING to remember to do it as we start our postcard swap...

(Oh, and I also LOVE that book...and her other stuff too...)

Debbie said...

I love everything. Those cookies are fantastic though. I will have to look into that book. We will definately remember that game for when Selena is a bit older.

I love how hands on you are with your kids!

HomeRiver said...

Thanks for a great blog!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

HomeRiver - You're wecom! And, thanks for the compliment :)

Linda said...

How fun! I'm definately doing this with my children this summer! We have the same placemat for tracing.