Thursday, May 15, 2014

{Booking Across the U.S.A.} Exploring South Dakota

We loved participating in Booking Across the U.S.A. last year, coordinated by Growing Book by Book, and looked forward to participating again this year. 

Last year, we had so much fun with our activities inspired by Nebraska. This year's South Dakota discoveries engaged my boys (2.5 and 4.5) with lots of creative play. 

While we do not live in South Dakota and have never traveled there, my father's parents lived there and his sister still does. In fact, our entire extended family has lots of Midwestern roots and connections, so I loved that our featured book this year was Travels with Charlie: Across the Midwest by Miles Backer and illustrated by Chuck Nitberg. 
I was provided a complimentary review copy, but all views and opinions expressed are my own.

I've loved seeing all of the creative ways different Booking Across the U.S.A. participants have explored their states -- the activities are amazing. 

I also love that the book itself is an activity. Wild Thing (my 4.5 year-old) loves I-Spy style books and playing I-Spy when we go on walks and car trips, so this book is perfect for him as every state is highlighted through a map with pictures of special places (landmarks, state parks, etc.) in that state. On the opposite page, is a rhyme asking the reader to find different places highlighted on the map. My son loves it. Of course, also on each map is Charlie (the dog) who readers can also find. 

One evening when my husband was reading it with Wild Thing, he added an early literacy element to the experience for our son. He would encourage my son to look at the word on the text page, for example "corn" for the corn palace in South Dakota. Then, to find that word on the map page. I loved this added literacy element, and Wild Thing did too. 

The boys also loved building their own South Dakota landmarks with their Legos, which also became an activity that reinforced color learning. To create our own Mount Rushmore, we sorted all of the gray Legos and then built our rock formation/mountain. Then, Wild Thing drew pictures of our family to tape on our rock monument! Perfection!! (Unfortunately, recent camera and computer problems mean I can't share a photo yet...hopefully I'll be able to add one soon!)

I'm also planning a family tree mapping activity for the boys where we trace where in the Midwest different family members have lived or do live using this fun book about the Midwest. For the relatives that are still alive, we plan to ask them what monument or landmark in their state is their favorite and then we'll see if it's in the book! 

Have you ever visited Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial or Badlands National Park? Though I visited South Dakota as a child to see my grandparents, I haven't yet been able to see any of these sites, but I'd love to.  I'd also love to check out the other books in the series as Across the Midwest is part of a series of books about the states of the U.S. 

For more details and to enter the giveaway, visit the main Booking Across the USA page.  Be sure to also visit the other participants in the series for fun crafts and activities for all 50 states:

Growing Book by Book, Everyday Snapshots, Teaching in the Fast Lane, The Educators' Spin On It, Crayonbox Learning, Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, 3rd Grade Thoughts, Mama Miss, Teaching Stars, Fabulously First, Lemon Lime Adventures, True Aim Education, Guided Math, Primary Inspired, Surviving a Teacher's Salary, Second Grade Smartypants, The Brown Bag Teacher, The Preschool Toolbox, Country Fun, Picture Books & Pirouettes, One Lesson at a Time, The Resource(ful) Room, Creative Family Fun, Peace, Love, and First Grade, Edventures with Kids, Africa to America, Teach Beside Me, Elementary Matters, Inspiring 2 NH Kids, Pink Stripey Socks, Kid World Citizen, iGameMom, Second Grade Math Maniac, Rockin' Teacher Materials, Great Peace Academy, Kathy Griffin's Teaching Strategies, Journey of a Substitute Teacher, My (Not So) Elementary Life, Stir the Wonder, Kidding Around Greenville, The Good Long Road, Kathy's Cluttered Mind, Curls and a Smile, Dilly Dabbles, Mama Smiles, Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts, Sprout's Bookshelf, All Done Monkey, Growing Firsties, ALLternative Learning, Delightful Learning, Kids Yoga Stories, and Where Imagination Grows.


  1. Thank you for being a part of Booking Across the USA again this year!

  2. I can't wait to see pictures of your family Mount Rushmore! I imagine that will be a treasure for a long time. Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on!