Do you need help engaging your elementary students when teaching the states and capitals? Do your students lose interest with endless worksheets to memorize and locate the United States’ five regions?
Yes? I can help. Below I have listed ways I make learning the 50 states and capital fun for everyone.
Online State and Capital Videos
Go straight to Google and type in states and capital videos for kids. There are so many visually engaging videos that any student would love to watch. I also love when they have a catchy song to go along with the video. My top picks are listed below.
- Tour the States This is by far my favorite video. I play it every day, and eventually, the students sing along and are mesmerized by the drawings.
- 50 Nifty United States This one worked well with my younger students.
- Animaniacs Sing-Along Geography made fun with cartoons!
State and Capital Online Games
If you want your students to learn about the states, you have to add some technology fun. The internet is full of review games. I listed my favorites below.
- Step Right Up- States and Capitals
- USA Geography- Puzzle Map
- Capital Penguin- States and Capitals
- Conquer the States
Cooperative State and Capital Challenges
In my classroom, I have played a couple of cooperative games that bring out the competitive nature in my students. I do lay down some ground rules, so it doesn’t get ugly, but for the most part, they learn more when they teach each other. Below are two States and Capitals challenges that I use every year.
- Beat the Clock: You can play this game with your whole group. Project a blank map on your whiteboard. Give a set amount of time to fill in all of the states, capitals, or both. Beat the Clock is a silent game. In other words, no helping students by yelling out answers. I will choose one student to start. They go up to the board, fill in one solution, and then pass the pen to a new person. The game continues until they complete the whole map. If a student makes a mistake, another student can correct it on their turn, but that counts as their answer. They win if they beat the clock.
- Draw It: I split my students into smaller groups and give them each a large piece of paper and markers. I set a time limit to complete the challenge. Then I have them create a map. I will usually project what I want them to fill in. An example could be: Draw the northeast region of the United States and label 11 states, 11 capitals, and one ocean. This activity can be adapted as needed. Every group that completes the challenge is a winner. I love that there can be more than one winner for this challenge.
State and Capital Assessment Tools
Assessment tools are a necessary evil. We eventually need to measure the level of understanding. I use products that are print and go easy. I want this quick check to be simple to use and quick to correct.
Amazingly, I made a product that fits all of these criteria. It is one of my best sellers in my TPT store, and I know it will help anyone who teaches the 50 United States.
I also have a Freebie Sample that includes part of the Northeast Region Review. Click below to get that. I will also link the bundle that has everything together for one low discounted price.
What Do You Think?
I hope this post has given you some ideas to implement in your classroom. As always, share your states and capital teaching strategies in the comments below.
PS- Check out this link for more social studies activities from my store.