Are the kids already getting bored with summer? Here’s a project that is not only inexpensive educational, and fun, but one that may give your kids a head-start on a school assignment when school opens again this Fall.
Do an in-depth study of your own particular state.
Every state has its own history, and every state has its own flag, flower, gemstone, song and a myriad of interesting things that have happened there.
Why not have each child, according to his or her age and ability, work on digging up information on one of the items above about your particular state? Even a five-year-old can color an outline map of the state, while a child of high school age might go online to dig up more complicated information.
Here are just a few activities you might include.
1. Find a list of 10, 20, or 30 unusual facts about your state.
2. Who was the first governor?
3. Who is the governor now?
4. How many rivers does your state have?
5. How was the name of your largest city chosen?
6. What is the population of your state?
7. What is the state flower and how was it selected.
8. Find the words to the state song.
9. Can you find a copy of your state’s constitution?
10. Where is the capitol of your state?
11. What is the tallest mountain in your state?
12. What is the average rainfall in your state?
13. What is the deepest lake in your state?
14. Is there a national park located in your state?
15. What is your state gemstone and in what part of the state are you most likely to find it?
16. Do you have an Indian reservation in your state?
17. What are some interesting festivals in the cities of your state?
18. Do you have a state fair? If so, when and where is it held?
19. Who takes over as governor if your regular governor becomes ill or unable to serve?
20. Make a copy of your state flag and explain its colors or symbols.
21. Does your state have a nickname?
22. Name several well-know colleges and universities in your state and their locations.
23. Is your state noted for anything special?
24. Who are the 2 U.S. Senators from your state?
25. Can you find something unusual in the history of your state that would make a good book?
You could probably add dozens of other things that pertain to your particular state, but these should be a good start. You might want to have some age-appropriate books on a convenient table so they can pursue any new interests they develop along the way.
After they once get started, you’ll be amazed at how the kids will begin to dig deeper and deeper into learning about their state. They may come up with stories of early massacres, gold rushes, snake oil peddlers, and crooked politicians so be prepared.
My state of Oregon, (flag pictured above,) has numerous books about “lost” gold mines, the trials of traveling the Oregon Trail, and the early lumber industry that are fascinating to read. Your state no doubt has similar ones.
A nice culmination to this activity is to visit several of the most interesting places that your children have uncovered during this project and let them see first-hand an ice-cave, or a beetle-infested forest, or perhaps try their hand at mining for agates in a commercial agate bed.
Now for the added benefits I mentioned in the title of this article.
First of all, your primary goal of giving them something to do beyond watching TV or playing video games for 8 hours a day will be met. Secondly, they will become more aware of what their state is all about, and hopefully proud to be one of its citizens. And finally, just imagine how useful all this material will be when adapted to reports your kids will be writing when they get back to school this fall.
You might want to make several copies of all the material gathered, and bind them into a nice little handbook with a cover, designed of course by one of the children, of course, so that each child can have his own little state reference book of his own to keep.