Monday, September 29, 2014

US Geography Preschool Activities: the Wild West

US States Educational Games for Kids

We are starting on discovering the states in a fun, meaningful, and hands-on way.

Of course, we started with our native state and use Melissa & Doug Sound Puzzle as a main aid. For the Wild West theme, we jumped at the opportunity to introduce some more US Geography. Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona were found by My Firefly this month. She enjoyed several awesome cowboy books mentioned here:

Our favorite book of the month is "Charlie the Ranch Dog" by Ree Drummond.

US States Activities: the Wild West.

It's time for a Poppins Book Nook - a book club that goes live on the last Monday of each months.
You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook books and activities here:

The theme for this month is "The Wild West". This is a very exciting topic - it calls for all things cowboys, the places they go, and the things they love to do. Visit the hosts of Poppins Book Nook to find out what the kids were up to, their wild adventures and discoveries.

Charlie the Ranch Dog: Oklahoma

Charlie, a very smart basset hound, described a day of his life on a working cattle ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The story is very cute and engaging: we had to read the book many times and talked about how the life of the ranch differs from what we are used to at home. My Firefly loves the pictures of Charlie's family and friends. Of course, one of the main characters is a black cow named Daisy.

We had to play cows: I made a couple of cows' masks for pretend play. According to the book, cows - those beasts - love sneaking into Mama's beloved vegetable garden to get extra treats. We visited a farm to look at cows again and see what they eat.  My Firefly loved jumping in the straw and throwing it up into the air.

Arizona: Cactus

Our second field trip for this theme was to the store to discover all the cacti of different sizes and shapes. How would you feel if you tried to touch a cactus for the first time in your life? Would the kids remember that feeling later?

Working with the US map.

When we introduced the puzzle to kids for the first time, it was a mess! They started getting all the small pieces out without listening to any sounds or explanations. After all, it is a board filled with all the weirdly shaped green and yellow pieces: so what?

The next time I gave a map to My Firefly, I only offered her one state. We talked about the map, and placed the state in its spot - it worked much better. She was interested to find out more.

Later, I gave her a state for a cow, and a state for a cactus. We also talked about colors on the map when we discovered that a cactus doesn't need much water to survive.

New Mexico: Roadrunner

...and coyote. We watched some of those - new 3D:

The roadrunner below is made from a pinecone and feathers. The instructions can be found here:

The goal for this craft was to learn some new facts:
  • Roadrunners have long legs and can run fast.
  • They have small wings and don't fly well.
  • Roadrunners have strong beaks. They are predators. They hunt on frogs, lizards, snakes, birds and eggs.
  • They are omnivorous: they also can eat fruit and seeds.
  • They don't need much water and can survive in a desert.
  • Roadrunners have long tails which they use to steer when they run.

Texas: Armadillo

My Firefly practiced fine motor skills while enjoying her favorite: beading. I offered her to make a nine-banded armadillo from paper baking cups.

The activity required little preparation. I hope these instructions will not make it more complicated then it is for you! To make the armadillo's head, I formed a cone from a paper cup. In the picture below, I made two folds and fixed them with the glue.

I used a top from a baby food pouch. I threaded the pipe cleaner through the drinking straw. Then I threaded the straw through the holes in a top.

The second paper cup: I made 2 holes in it with the pen, then inserted the straw through the holes.

I glued the 2 cups together leaving the pouch top hidden inside. Then I made 4 cuts and formed the ears as pictured below.

Armadillo is "a little armored one" as translated from Spanish. It is a "rabbit-mouse" according to Native Americans. This craft was a great visual to discover the 9 bands of the body and a long tale, but still see the resemblance with a rabbit and a mouse.

In the picture below, cups with holes and legs made from chenille stems wrapped around a finger. We counted the 9 bends and work together to create a pattern: yellow, pink, blue - legs - yellow, pink, blue - legs - yellow, pink blue - tail.

The tail is made with the wooden beads we had (you can use beads any size). The drinking straw gives support for the armadillo's body, while the chenille stem is flexible for the long tail.


Cowboy fun is never ending! For our next homeschool preschool, we plan to eat baked beans on sandwiches in a tent, pretend sleep while listening to coyote's "talking" outside, and play "cowboys on horses rounding the cows".

I hope you enjoy following a group of these wonderful bloggers - hosts of Poppins Book  Nook!

The wonderful bloggers that participate in the Poppins Book Nook are:  Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~ Simple Living Mama

The Wild West Bundle Giveaway!

Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers
a chance to win a brand new storybook
that ties in with our theme for the month.

Follow Poppins Book Nook on Pinterest
Clip art by: Melon Headz


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