Yes, my kindergartener knows his states (well, some of them)--and he doesn´t even live in the United States!
Last summer, I was at a garage sale, and came across The Scrambled States of America card game. It´s based on a children´s book of the same name. (I haven´t read the book.) But I picked up the card game, as I´ve been looking for a states puzzle for my daughter (who´s in second grade), so she could start to learn her US states, as she´s not going to be drilled on that in school here.
We played it last summer, and it was a hit.
Last summer, it was a little too difficult for Joey, who had just barely turned five. But now that he´s almost got kindergarten under his belt (and therefore knows his letters, and can count, etc.), he´s able to play on his own much better, with minimal help from me.
How to play
Each player has a set of five state cards. There´s a stack of question cards. On each turn, a question card is turned over, and everyone has to find a state in their hand that starts with the letter N, or touches 5 other states, or is blue, or is the closest to Missouri. (Each player gets a US map for reference.)
The first player to answer the question correctly gets to keep the card. The person with the most cards in the end wins.
Now, normally, the second-grader wins by a pretty large margin. However, there are some questions, like, "which state is blue?" or "Which state is wearing something" that are easy for the not-quite-literate set to answer correctly. Futhermore, the "which state is closer to [insert state name]" questions aren´t timed--the person who has the closest state wins, so slower players get a shot, too.
But he keeps hanging in there.
And it´s paying off, because he knows the names of a number of US states, and is getting an idea of North, South, East and West, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans! I´m pretty impressed.
I think I´ll have to make a Scrambled States of Mexico!
Want a Scrambled States of America for your own? Click on the picture of the game box shown above, and an additional browser window will open and connect to amazon.com.
Or, better yet, find an independent toy store or game store in your town, and if they don´t have it in stock, I bet they´d be happy to order it for you. That way, your money stays in your community.
But if that´s not an option, I can hook you up here.