Wednesday, July 7, 2010



We are a little anal about not having many toys with batteries in the house. Maybe that’s why any “talking toy” is very special to Anna. I wanted to get her a good US Map puzzle for a while, and I also wanted our deeper study of US to coincide with Independence Day. So on 4th of July she received her own special “birthday of America” gift – Melissa and Doug US Sound Puzzle. I had two reasons to buy a sound version of it - Anna doesn’t care much for normal puzzles, and I wasn’t sure as to how to pronounce correctly some states and many capitals (the puzzle says the name of both the state and its capital as the piece is placed on it). Little Man in the Map

We read an interesting book while working on the puzzle – The Little Man In the Map. The book starts with pointing out 5 states that make an outline of a man – I have never noticed it before. Anna was able to find it pretty quickly in the picture above – she took those puzzle pieces from the board. The book goes ahead giving some sort of clues about each of the States and also about their division into regions. All that was way over her head, and in the middle of the night she woke me up and informed me that Montana monster face (that was a clue in the book) is scary and she wants this book out of her room now. My main complaint about the book is its awkward rhyming, but I still recommend it for older kids and highly visual learners.

Scrambled States of America

We also finally read The Scrambled States of America. Anna didn’t like it at first and expelled it from her room, but then suddenly wanted it back and wanted me to read it again. I was pointing out the states to her on her puzzle, so she could connect to the story somewhat better.  I thought that the book is pretty clever and might interest a wide range of kids, but only older children and adults can fully appreciate some of the cultural jokes in the side stories of the book.

I am not sure if we are going to spend more time on the United States during this pass through. I am trying to follow Anna’s interests in our geography journey and even though she is excited about her puzzle, she doesn’t seem to be too inclined to get any deeper into either a general study of the United States geography (mountains, lakes, rivers) or into any of the states. However, it happened more than once already - she returned to a particular topic in a few weeks. I do have something else planned for the next week if I see that she is ready to move on, and I think that we will do a deeper dive into California soon as well. Stay tuned and visit History/Geography linky at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn for other history and geography journeys.


Christy said...

We have both of those books; I expect my kids to enjoy them more as they get a little older, but we do use them for our states studies.

Reagan isn't a big fan of puzzles either. Collin will sit and do puzzles all day long!

Fairion said...

This is the second recommendation for the Scrambled States book. I am putting it on our list for when we do our United States Map study in a few weeks.

Pathfinder Mom said...

Anna's hair looks so adorable up like that!

We saw Scrambled States on TV recently. I liked it, but it really seemed like you needed a lot of "inside knowledge" about the states to get the jokes in some cases. It was cute. I took a look at the book but passed on it.

Kelly said...

I will definitely be looking for the Scrambled States and Little Man in the Map. One of my "summer school" ideas/units is to work on US geography and some other related things like America the Beautiful(the song), and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Debbie said...

Great little start to the United States. I wonder how Selena would react to that first book. We have a nice US puzzle that was given to us, but it is still way above Selena's ability. I need to find a little easier one for her. Thank you for linking up this week!

Joyful Learner said...

I was going to say her hair looks so cute up!

It never occurred to me to get the sound version. Great idea! JC wasn't much into puzzles but she grew to love them!

The Unscrambled States DVD is so funny. That's what got JC hooked! We have yet to continue our states studies because she's not interested in the flag or state facts (truthfully, neither am I!). I'm still looking fo a more interesting way to learn about the states (without having to travel to each one which might be the most fun!). I'm leaning towards literature based to hook on some facts.

Mom and Kiddo said...

Kiddo was obsessed with Scrambled States for so long. He used to play imaginary games with the states as the other players. He also loves "Scrambled States of America Talent Show".

FrogsJumpUSA said...

It hurts me to hear that any child would be scared off by Montana. I made him a friendly "monster" so he would be easy to remember. That is why he is smiling and dancing "The Mowy Jive" with The Little Man In the Map to entertain the rest of the states on p51. They are all clearly having a very good time.
Andrew Martonyi
Author of The Little Man In the Map With Clues To Remember All 50 States and the coming book to teach the capitals: The Little Man In the Map Teaches the State Capitals.

Raising a Happy Child said...

To Andrew (who doesn't have his email enabled):

Thanks for commenting on my post! Take no offense - you are in good company. Last night it was The Grinch book that got expelled from the room in the middle of the night, and before it was The Monster in the End of the Book. I did point out to her that Mo is a fun state and a friendly monster, but she doesn't like any books that have even remotely scary things. She will grow out of it, and we will definitely get your book again.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

I totally understand your desire to keep battery powered toys out of the house! We have very few of them since they seem to cripple the kids' imaginations, aren't very eco-friendly, and lose their appeal once the batteries run out. Though I can see making an exception for that puzzle -- it looks like a great learning tool!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I was glad to read Mr. Martonyi's explanation of the monster being friendly. There are some scary things in the woods around here, but MT is a very friendly state :)

Ticia said...

Slow internet connections are driving me nuts :).
I've heard a couple of recommendations for The Man in the Map, I need to remember to look for it.