The Mouse has been interested in US geography for a couple of years now, but as we’re wrapping up Kinder (OMG how is that possible?) it’s becoming a bigger and bigger enjoyment for him, and we take every opportunity to encourage his love of learning. Last week, we received a letter from his teacher advising that he is being considered for the school’s gifted and talented program. While he is being assessed for the program at school, they also requested that we fill out a survey at home as well, about his interests. When I really sat down to think about it, it was pretty cool to think about all the really fun things he gets excited about: US geography, state history/knowledge, US presidents, and science (specifically astronomy).
As we continue to nurture this enjoyment of learning, we’ve found a couple of tools that have helped up encourage him in the past couple of years, and I thought I would share them here. As a disclaimer, this is not a sponsored post of any kind. I have no been compensated in any way from any of these companies. Also – while the Mouse might love him some books on geography, he’s also super into Lego Star Wars on the Wii … so please, do not for one second believe that my child is all about educational toys 24/7. We have found that these items are easy to sprinkle in to his evenings and weekends though, and that he enjoys them for their fun side, while the Husband and I appreciate that they’re also helping foster his love of learning.
Great States Junior Game:
The Mouse received this for Christmas and we just can’t rave about it enough. The game helps with state shape recognition, what event/industry the state is known for, and the state names/spellings. It’s a very quick play (which I love), with simple instructions that even the Froggy (3 years old) can follow along with. The Mouse hasn’t even had it 6 months, and can pretty much recognize what any state is just by seeing a picture of it’s shape. Last weekend, he spent most of our afternoon walk pointing out puddles and telling me which state they looked like. He’s definitely ready for the ‘big kid’ version, which focuses on capitals as well.
National Geographic Kids United States Atlas:
We picked this out at one of the Mouse’s Book Fairs this year, and he continually comes back to it as one of his favorite reads. All 50 states have 2 pages of maps, photos, trivia and history which he geeks out over. There are also short articles on the different regions of the country, and lots of really great illustrations and photos. We’re both a big fan.
Magic Tree House Book Series:
The Mouse really enjoys reading, and in the past few months has graduated to chapter books. His favorite series of the moment is the Magic Tree House series, specifically the titles that have to do with American History or US presidents (we just finished this one). He likes them because they’re ‘mysteries’ and are way more exciting than other kids books, and I like them because they’re a great bridge from picture books to chapter books. They’re also very quick for me to read to him, and an easy level for him to practice his reading as well. There are a TON of them, although he prefers the new ‘Merlin Mission’ books (indicated by the ‘MM’ on the spine).
If your kiddos are into history or geography, I would love for you to share some of your favorite games or books – we’re always looking for new ideas! I’ll be back next week with a few things that we like to use to help him learn about astronomy!