The Scrambled States of America (Hardcover), by Laurie Keller. Kansas is bored (see excerpt). So he decides, with the help of his best friend, Nebraska, to throw a party. All of the states come. They decide at the party to swap places for a change. This seems to be a great idea, at first. But then Kansas, who changed places with Hawaii, is now more bored than ever stuck out in the ocean by himself. The southern states are freezing in the north, and the northern states are getting sunburned in the South. Eventually, normalcy returns as the states go back to their usual spots. The book's charm is multilayered, with a main story that is enjoyable and witty, alongside clever commentary from the states peppered throughout. I added this one right to our wishlist (probably soon to go into our shopping cart), along with the sequel, the Scrambled States of America Talent Show.
"All day long we just sit here in the middle of the country. We never GO anywhere. We never DO anything, and we NEVER meet any NEW states!"
Bookworm's interest at 2 years, 2 months: For a long time, we couldn't get past the first page (which is just a U.S. map), because he is so enamored of playing with maps lately. But I have read him the entire book twice now, and he stares in rapt attention, pointing now and then to particular states he recognizes. It is definitely geared toward older children, but I think since he likes it now, he'll REALLY like it later. He also loves the maps and images of the states at the end of the book. I tried to get across the concept that the states have moved all around and are now in the wrong places, and that they are being funny. I think that is as much of the storyline as he can pick up right now.
Related Activities i.e. 10 Geography Activities for Two Year Olds
Our son's interest in geography has exploded these last couple of months, but it is a bit of a challenge to come up with games that are suitable for his age level. I know some of these may be better suited for an older child, and I would never suggest pushing your child if he/she is not interested. Here is what our son most enjoys:
2. Who lives where? We have many relatives spread around the globe, and I like to ask him who lives in what state/country.
3. Rhyming. He enjoys finding place names that rhyme ("Nebraska and Alaska," "Nigeria and Algeria," etc.)
4. Places Out of Context. The back of the Scrambled States book contains a few pages with images of each state and some facts. I was surprised to see how many of the states he could recognize out of context this way. So I thought today that I might try to create some cardstock states, with or without the state names on them (maybe I'll write the name on the back of the card). I think he'd have fun with those.
5. Stories/Facts About Places (a.k.a. "Mommy tell you!"). I got a little sick of names one day, and started trying to tell him simple facts about each state, such as "Mississippi has a big river" and "California has a famous bridge."
6. Talking About What States/Countries Are Near Each Other. I don't know if this deserves an entire number entry on its own, but he likes to do this. If we have him find Arizona, for example, he'll say "Arizona near California and Nevada!"
7. Iphone Games. I downloaded a geography game to my iphone last week, and he loves clicking on it and trying to make it buzz or ding, but to really play would require, at the very least, being able to read. I would like to find him a simple country identification game, where I read the question to him and he locates it on the map, but in general, I think most of the games are geared toward older kids.
8. Puzzles and Board Games. So far, we just use a melissa and doug states puzzle and our globe. The games I have seen seem better geared toward readers. I just discovered these Geopuzzles, which look wonderful and are available for five continents. I just leave the states map assembled on our coffee table. We sometimes look at Risk together too, but since some of the place names have changed and many aren't labeled, it is a little confusing for him.
9. YouTube. We have not found many geography videos he loves (have any suggestions? please share!), but a couple of cute ones are this continents video and this one re: countries. He generally only likes videos with songs.
10. Books. Last, but not least! So far we have only really read the Scrambled States and our atlas (thanks Britt for that idea).
How do you have fun with geography in your house? Have you posted about any geography related crafts, activities, games, etc. on your blog? If so, please share a link to your post in the comments.