We have a few fun planned activities for our Virtual Summer Camp. One on going activity we’re calling ROAD TRIP USA. Our journey requires no vehicles. We’re going to have the adventure in the sweet space of our home. Our exploration requires a little bit of creativity and a dose of organization. The good news for you is that we’re going to post our adventures as we go along equipped with all the resources you’ll need to make it happen in your home.
My son is 3 years old so my goal is to get him interested in geography by making it fun, not by memorizing state facts. So we’ll weave these “state facts” into play in enjoyable and playful ways.
AREAS OF LEARNING:
- Math & Logic
- Science & Nature
- Early Literacy
- Practical Life
Here is how we’re to make it happen:
- Same plan for each state – My son is only 3 so we’re keeping the learning simple and routine. I want him to be able to know what is coming next and to look forward to it.
- Go in order of statehood – This bullet point is really to make it easier for me to keep track of our progress! This approach also allows me to weave in a bit of history. We’ll start with Delaware and move onto Pennsylvania soon after.
- Storage Bags – As we complete each state, we’ll store the contents of the activity in a bag for safe keeping and later use.
- Start Date – The first day of summer marks the launch of our Summer Camp. With over 90 days of summer and 70 days through August, that gives us plenty of time to cover all 50 states. We’ve completed Delaware so far and will highlight some of that experience in this post.
- Track Progress – I bought two Crocodile Creek USA Place Mats. I cut out the states from one placemat and put small magnet on the back of each state. I left the other mat intact so that we could reference it. As we move through our states, we’ll piece together our USA puzzle. We will be tracking our progress with a nifty jeep on a standard map of the USA that we’ll pull out onto the floor at the start and end of each lesson. We also printed out these FREE license plate printables from The Dating Divas onto magnetic paper to add to our fridge as we make progress.
- Passport - Originally I was going to create our own Passport but then I discovered a FREE, very adorable passport printable online. As we cover each state my son can get a “sticker” to add to his collection. Here is a link to FREE state printables. Print on sticker paper and you’re golden.
- Suitcase – Thank you Little Passports for providing us a wonderful keepsake from participating in their program (which is wonderful, by the way, I highly recommend), a kid sized play suitcase. The suitcase will include the materials we’ll be using for each state.
GENERAL SUPPLIES: Here is a list of supplies that are great to have on hand for the activities. Other specific supplies are referenced and linked below under the activities.
- Printer Paper
- Laminator (not a must have but nice to have)
- White Poster Board
- Crayons and/or markers
- Access to a library
ACTIVITIES: These activities are specific to Delaware but will be applied to each state as we go along.
Math & Logic
Shapes - One of Delaware’s nicknames is The Diamond State so we spent some time drawing, tracing and coloring the diamond shape. For each state, we’ll focus on a shape specific to that state. With most states, the “shape” will be the state outline (Here is a great resource for FREE State Outline Printables).
State Symbols Memory Game – I created a sixteen card memory match. For Delaware I included cards with images of the State Flag, State Shape, Blue Hen Chicken, Peach Blossom, Ladybug, a Diamond, #1 and Horseshoe Crab. You can print a copy of FREE Delaware Memory cards. I will do this FREE printable for each state so be sure to come back and download them.
Science & Nature
State Insect – We took a closer look at the State Insect, the Lady Bug, using these FREE Ladybug Lifecycle cards from Montessori Print Shop. We also spent some time on this resourceful website exploring the anatomy of a Lady Bug. The Horseshoe Crab pulled us in too. We used a black and white printable showing the anatomy and this site describing the crustacean in more detail.
State Bird – We decorated an outline of the state of Delaware with small blue hen chickens. While doing the activity we listened to the sound of a blue hen chicken and talked about why the bird is special to Delaware. I also surprised him with the Audubon Society’s Blue Hen Chicken with authentic bird song. Very cute.
State Flower – We took a closer look at the state flower by printing a coloring page for the Peach Blossom and taking time to seek out real images on the internet.
I printed out a black and white state outline and grabbed our play dough. We created a the shape of Delaware and talked about where various cities were placed on the play dough map.
Flag – I printed out two flags. One with color for reference and one black and white. We took out crayons and markers and I asked him to compare the two and let me know what he thought of them. He immediately started pointing out where the red needed to go in order to match the color flag.
State Shape – With a black and white print out of the state, I chose mini Blue Hens for decorating materials.
Rubbing – We have these great rubbings for insects, birds, dinosaurs etc that my mother sent to us many months ago. Rubbings are so great for younger children. Place the rubbing card under a piece of paper, grab a crayon and rub away. You will get a beautiful design that you can integrate into stories, science, coloring and design.
We Went to “Delaware” Story Board – I wrote My Very First Story Board (see the image below) a few weeks back. I was really excited about how the activity worked out for my three year old. I discovered these wonderful stickers that cover all the states and for a reasonable price you get all the symbols and pertinent state information.
To work on fine motor skills my son cut out a print out of the shape of the state of Delaware. There are a variety of ways you can introduce practical life into each state theme. For example, for Maine, we washed a Moose figurine and peeled a potato. For Delaware, we’re going to work on peaches, peeling, pitting and slicing (and eating of course!). Here is an image from our Maine unit.
REFERENCES: Finally, for your reference, here is a list of resources for you to access if you are looking for something more:
Thank you for choosing to read this post today. I hope that you will join us for this virtual geographical adventure this summer!