CaptureToday turned out to be a bit of a geography day.

We found out that some friends were collecting the state stickers from those little mandarin oranges. Apparently if you can collect all of the 50 state stickers from the Halo oranges, you can win prizes. (link here in case any one else wants to check it out) We decided to join them in collecting stickers and share our doubles with each other to help increase our chance of winning. (fine print: you have to collect all 50 for a CHANCE to win a drawing … and one of the main prizes is a box of Halo oranges. I think that’s one of the last things you’d want after spending months eating those things just to collect the stickers … but anyway, we thought the game was still worthwhile because it would give the boys a fun reason to interact with maps ;). )


I printed out the US map that is provided on their website and N insisted that he wanted to color it. It wasn’t a very color-able map though, so I did a quick google image search for “printable map of the USA to color for free” (or something like that) and found something much better. Of course J wanted to do whatever N was doing, so I printed one out for both of them. We tried a few different activity prompts with the maps, all of which worked to some degree for a few minutes ;).

  • Color in a state that I name.
  • Circle the name of the state (coloring in the lines was not going well) that you choose.
  • For J (2 y.o.): Repeat state names after me as you scribble on the map (he liked this!)
  • For N (4 y.o.): You get a chocolate chip every time you can find a state that I name. (Ha, coloring of any sort was not going over well today!)
  • You get a fishy cracker for every state that you can name (partly reading/partly memorizing).


CaptureN has a US map placemat (Melissa & Doug The United States Write-A-Mat placemat – affiliate link) that he always chooses for mealtimes, and sometimes we’ll do similar short games like these during lunch. Through frequent small conversations but relatively little effort, he’s learned about half the states so far. He likes Idaho because he would always forget the name and say “I don’t know” so I told him he was close … “I don’t know” rhymes with “Idaho.” He thought this was ridiculously funny so now he always points out that state.

20170601_104904The coloring sheet activity didn’t last all that long, and we haven’t actually bought the oranges yet so we couldn’t start the sticker map, so instead I brought out our magnetic map. We got this from Scholastic and I love it! (Similar product here: T.S. Shure Map of The U.S.A Magnetic Puzzle and Playboard – affiliate link) Each state has pictures on it so we get to talk about some of the main characteristics of each state as we piece the puzzle together. N usually can focus long enough to put together the whole puzzle with me, but today was not one of those days. He placed a few states then wanted to move on, so I just got this picture.

Little brother climbed up on the table at this point and started putting pieces on the board (he loved the magnetic part!). He kept shouting, “I found a united state!” as he slapped a new piece down somewhere on the map. 🙂

We also have an inflatable globe ball that we sometimes play with, but it’s been deflated for the winter since it was being used more as a Destroyer Of The House than an educational tool. Perhaps I can test their upgraded maturity levels this summer and try to re-introduce it. 0_o

And for the record, I have a Pinterest board full-up of map ideas. I have the occasional dream of decorating a room (or a house?) with maps … but then i wake up and realize I need to spend my time cleaning our simple, but lovely, but very un-thematic house, rather than decorating it.

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