Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Crafty Classroom: USA Activity Bundle (review)

I have mentioned before that although we carry a lighter load during the summer months, we do not refrain from all educational or schoolish activities.  Learning is a lifelong adventure, and we don't stop just because it's hot outside.  During the summer months, I love to look for learning materials that are fun and light, but can be used to go more in-depth as desired.  This summer we were offered the opportunity to review a USA Activity Bundle from The Crafty Classroom, and it's a great tool for many different types of studies, and can certainly be used all year!

The USA Activity Bundle is a actually a combination of three smaller packs, each of which could be used individually, but can also be combined for a fun geography study.

U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook
This pack includes an activity page for each state.  The activity page includes a US map to mark the state, and a state map to mark the capitol, landmarks, major rivers, or whatever you would want your children to include.  Obviously older children could include more details.  There is also a picture of the state flag, bird and flower to color.  There are small text boxes to label the state's abbreviation, nickname, number of admittance, and to label the flower and bird.  There are also blank lines to write interesting facts or other notes the learner finds pertinent.  You'll need to provide your own atlas or resource for finding the information.  Older students could certainly do a supervised internet search.

At the end of the State by State file are two games:  USA Bingo and Roll Across America.  These are great to use with any geography study for multiple ages, and are a unique resource for children motivated by games.  They would easily help build visual recognition of states.  I suggest printing on card stock and laminating for durability.

U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards

This fun set includes 27 different birds that have been officially named state birds.  Each page includes multiple options.  A full-color bird fact card for children to fill in, a card to color, and a small bird and the name for memory/matching.  These are realistic birds, not cartoonish, which I really appreciate.  All of the states which use the specific bird are listed in a lighter font under the bird's name.  You'll need to find a field guide or other resource to fill in any facts.

These can be used alongside a geography study, but are also useful in other ways.  My younger song loves birds, and has spent the last several months pouring over field guides, reading bird books, listening to me read about birds, identifying birds with me outside, and so on and so forth.  This is another great addition to his bird journal where he is slowly drawing various birds as he learns about them, and the different cards means he can put whichever size fit best.  Sometimes he draws two birds to a page, so the smaller picture fits in nicely.

U.S.A. 50 State Mazes
This is exactly what it sounds like -- an outline of each state is filled with a maze!  This is just a fun tool for state studies, but is a great way to help with identifying the shape of states.  I think recognizing a state by its shape is just as helpful as seeing it "in place" on a map for overall recognition.  This has a K-3 age recommendation, but my boys are 3rd and 5th, and they are great for their ages.

My Thoughts
Combined, these three resources can be used to introduce a state or as a gentle state study for primary students.  Older students will want to go more in-depth, but this is a great starting point, or would make a great review.  This is definitely a "worksheet" based curriculum, but it's fairly casual and easy to implement, because there are no schedules or lesson plans.  In other words, this is not a set curriculum, but rather it is a flexible resource for you to use in whatever way works best for your family!

In addition to the USA Activity Bundle, crew members are reviewing Preschool and Kindergarten level alphabet and reading programs, as well as a K-2 paragraph writing program.  Be sure to check out their thoughts!

Crafty Classroom

Crafty Classroom {Reviews}
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  1. Thank you so much for your thorough review of our USA Activity Bundle. I adore your son's bird drawing, how special to be creating his very own bird journal. Happy Homeschooling! Blessings, Valerie

    1. Thank you Valarie! This was a very flexible resource and I like how easy it is to tie into our other studies!