- U.S.A. 50 State Mazes
- U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook
- U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards
USA 50 State Mazes
Each page of the “U.S.A. 50 State Mazes” contains a full-page maze in the shape of a state. This is a favourite of my daughter’s as she loves solving mazes. The mazes are more fun than educational. I’m sure there’s some educational benefit to helping her learn the shape of the state, but as a maze only takes her a couple of minutes (or less) to solve, I have zero issues with her doing a maze just for the sake of fun. It’s a great prelude to the next activity.
U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook
The “U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook” has a one page per state activity page. There’s some coloring work and a small amount of writing.
The child will need a kids atlas of the US to reference in order to complete the worksheet.
I had a bit of trouble finding a US kids atlas at my local library in a predominately french province of Canada. But I did find a great free online reference tool at National Geographic Kids.
The only downfall was it didn’t have a map of the rivers, lakes, and mountains that the worksheet asks for. I was ok with that tho, as my goal for this year is for my daughter to learn the names and location of the states, the capital, and the name of one place in each state that would mean something to my daughter. For example, Walt Disney World is in Florida. We’ll save learning lakes, rivers and mountains for when she’s older.
U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards
The “U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards” are more nature learning than geography. There is one page for each of the 28 state birds. (Multiple states have the same state bird.) There are 4 sections on each page that are meant to be cut out.
One section has a state bird to color. When we first started, I gave my daughter the page of the bird from the state she was working on to color. However, there is also a state bird to color on the State-by-State Activity worksheet, so it seemed silly to get my daughter to color the same bird twice, even tho it was a different image of the same bird. So instead I have decided we will do the state birds at a later time, after we have finished going through all the state activities.
Another section has a coloured version of the state bird along with a small area for a child to write any notes about the bird. The coloured bird can be a good reference for the child when coloring the bird. Generally tho, we preferred to just google an online image of an actual bird when determining colors.
And the last 2 areas to cut out can be used as a matching game for a fun review, matching the name of the bird & state(s) to the image of the bird.
My Final Thoughts
Since there are many new and big skills for a Grade 1 or 2 student to learn (learning to read, hold a pencil, spell, math, etc.), I personally am not a huge fan of focusing too much attention on subjects like Geography or History until a later age.
However, the mazes are a fun activity most children will surely enjoy and the state-by-state activity sheets don’t give the impression of “work” either. The activity sheets contain a lot of coloring type learning and any writing is minimal enough that at least my daughter did not mind completing them at all.
The way I see it, if my daughter can spend a short amount of time each week doing an activity she enjoys and by the end of the school year has learned the names and locations of the states, in my book, that’s a win.
So we will continue with this objective throughout her Grade 2 year. There are 2 games included in the Activity Notebook that look like a fun way to practice. There’s a State BINGO and a board game. We also have a free iPad app (Travel Zoo – Map the World) that my daughter sometimes plays that will provide further practice.
I also like that the United States geography activities mentioned above develop my daughter’s research skills, as she needs to reference different materials to find the answers.
The U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards I think we will leave for another year if we do a bird unit. Since we’re Canadian, knowing which bird belongs to which state is not something I really care for my daughter to spend time learning. But the other components of this bird pack will be useful in any future bird study.