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Read the USA- Pacific States

This year, we're studying US Geography with Notgrass's "Our 50 States" curriculum!  To countdown for our new school year, we're doing a huge series about all 50 states showcasing lots of books and other items we can use to learn about them individually.  I'm finding myself being really stretched about my own knowledge of the states and what make them unique.

Last week when I did the menu page for this series, I showcased a colorful map book called, "The 50 States: Explore the USA."  It arrived this week, and the kids can't stop touching it and flipping through it.  They love going to the familiar states and pointing out all the places we've visited and where our loved ones live.  Because the book is set up in alphabetical order, it is also helping them learn ABC order, how to use an atlas, and how to spell the states' names.  I'm excited to continue to use it throughout our school year and beyond as a great reference.

For our blogging trek around the USA, I'm starting close to home and with what I think are the easiest states.  Let's visit the states that border the Pacific Ocean and see what we can find!


California is probably one of the most well-known US states in the world (do you disagree?  Tell me in the comments).  It's home of the towering redwood forests, the sunny coastland, and Mickey Mouse!  There's tons to explore in this state, so scroll down to dive right in!

50 Hikes with Kids: California- If you like getting outside with your kids, this guide book would be a great asset to your collection.  Go explore!

All Aboard California- Climb on board this preschool geography book as you take a train through the landscape of California and see all the top sights.

Going to Disneyland: a Guide for Kids- Part activity book and part guide book, part scrapbook and part planner, this book is 100% fun for upper elementary aged kids going to Disneyland.

Stretch to the Sun- This books tells the story about the largest tree in the world, home to numerous animal species and a monument to the passing of time.

If You Were a Kid During the California Gold Rush- Strap on your Levi pants and grab your metal pan- it's gold panning time!  Learn about how gold was panned, why it was such a big deal, and how the gold rush changed California and the west in this living history book for kids.

C is for California- "D is for Death Valley" and "R is for Redwoods" in this cute ABC board book for the youngest Californians.

California Quail Toy- This little quail stuffed animal makes realistic bird sounds to help your child learn how to identify them in the wild.

Who Pooped in the Park: Death Valley- I love the idea of this series as guide books for kids to each of the national parks.  This book talks about Death Valley and the animals who have survived to make it home.

Safari Ltd Desert Toob- Use a bit of cornmeal for a sensory bin and add these desert animals for a quick learning activity that encourages kids to learn the names of the animals, talk about desert survival, and do some pretend play.  Matching cards for the desert toob can be found on my blog.

California Condor Toy- Restored from near extinction, the California condor is a vulture-like bird that plays an important part in the state's ecosystem.

Coyote Toy- One of the animals that roams across California is the coyote.  Known for their yapping communication, these dogs are a treat to see.

Seashells, Crabs, and Sea Stars- We like this beach guide for learning about the animals in the ocean and along the shoreline.  Since most of California is beach, this would be a great book to add to your vacation bag.


We love going to the Oregon Coast for vacation (read more here) because we love whale watching.  There's more to the state than coastline like mountains, prairies, and Oregon Trail stuff.  Learn more about this independent state by scrolling down and clicking on the colored text.

Curious Kids Nature Guide- This great book for Pacific Northwest kids, because it covers more than 50 different species of animals from the region.

If You Were a Kid on the Oregon Trail- Join a brother and sister as they travel west with their mother along the Oregon Trail to meet up with their dad.  Learn some of the landmarks, triumphs, and hardships of the journey in a child-friendly way.

Three Bears of the Pacific Northwest- When a teddy bear gets lost, two real bears help him find his family again.  It's a very sweet story for all northwest kids.

Covered Wagon- Make your own covered wagon with this craft kit, then load it up with miniature crates and bags for a trip across the country.

North American Animals Toob- Set up a sensory bin with dirt or beans and learn the names of the N.A. animals with these small toys.  You can also get free printable Montessori-inspired 3-part matching cards on my blog!

Mallard Duck- Oregon state university's mascot is a duck, which makes this mallard toy very applicable.  It's great for a toy collector.

B is for Beaver book- Explore what makes Oregon unique with this fun duel-level ABC book.

Safari Ltd Star Fish- One of our favorite things to do in Oregon is to visit the tidepools.  Take home a starfish for your bathtub by clicking the colored text.

Pioneer Costume- When you're traveling around the state to visit all the Oregon Trail stuff, be sure to get costumes for your whole family so your Christmas card will scream "Homeschooler!"

Beaver Toy- Oregon is called the "Beaver State" because of its role in the fur trade and the settling of the west.

Portland ABC- Explore Oregon's most well-known city in this fun and colorful alphabet board book.

10 Little Monsters Visit Oregon- Travel along with the monsters as they count and visit all the landmarks and places in Oregon.

Let's Count Oregon- In this board book, kids learn to count some of the states famous animals.

Beach Walk- Part activity book, part nature guide, this companion book is perfect for your next beach trip whether you live near the beach or just get to visit once a year.


I grew up in Washington state, so I'm sensitive to all the stereotypes about the rain, the apples, and the nation's capitol.  Most people don't know how ecologically diverse the state is, from the coastal tidepools to the high mountains, from the rainforest (yes- rainforest) to the desert.  Scroll down to learn more.

Bigfoot Toy- Did you know that Washington is the home of Bigfoot?  According to the Travel Channel, there is a better chance of spotting Bigfoot in Washington than anywhere else in the nation.

Apple Lacing Toy- WA is the highest producer of apples in the country, so I guess our apple stereotype is well-earned.

Camping Play Set- From the mountains to the desert, Washingtonians love to be outdoors.  Whether camping, hiking, fishing, boating, skiiing, or whatever, you're likely to find a lot of people outside at all times of the year.  Give your kids a taste of the experience with this pretend play toy.

S is for Smore- Learn more about camping and celebrate smores with this fun ABC book.

Space Needle Puzzle- Build your own Space Needle with this metal model kit that's part puzzle and part

E is for Evergreen- This ABC book has two levels of knowledge for both little kids and older adults.  Explore the state letter by letter.

Smore Kit- Instead of buying all the ingredients for Smores separately, click on the colored text to get all of them all together.  You can also find more Smore recipes on my road trip blog.

W is for Washington- It's yet another alphabet book, but this one is aimed at toddlers and is made into a durable board book.

Green Toys Ferry Boat- Seattle is made up of many islands and peninsulas

How do Apples Grow- Curious little tots will enjoy this apple life cycle board book to learn how a seed becomes applesauce.  Click the colored text to see all the books in the Hello World series.

Looking for Bigfoot- If your kid is interested in Bigfoot, this book explains all the legends and sightings and answer lots of questions about the big ape.


As a Washingtonian, my impression of Alaska is that it's just "more" than what we had in my state.  More mountains, more snow, more mosquitoes, more whales, more of everything!  I clearly need to more about Alaska.  If you do too, scroll down for some great ideas.

Once Upon Alaska- This tabletop picture book is written specifically for kids and features fun rhymes and amazing photography.

Under Alaska's Midnight Sun- In the far north of Alaska, the sun never sets all summer long, making it the "land of the midnight sun."  The story talks about one girl as she enjoys the extra long summer days, communing with nature, and spending time with family and friends.

Totem Tale: A Tall Story Story from Alaska- By the light of the moon, the totem pole comes to life and all the animals are free to enjoy their independence.  But, come morning, will they be able to reassemble themselves in the correct order.  Kids will learn what it means to be the "low man on the totem pole."

If You Were a Kid at the Iditarod-  Kids can read all about the famous dog race that happens every year in Alaska and learn how mushers get across the tundra.

Alaska's 12 Days of Summer- In this parody of the Christmas song, all the Alaskan animals are discovered one by one, starting with a single bear.

Schleich Grizzly Bear Toy- One of the things Alaska is known for is their bear collection, like grizzlies, polar bears, and kodiaks.  These toys are great for small world play.

Salmon Life Cycle Set- Around 90% of the world's salmon comes from Alaska, making this a great time to study about the pinked-flesh fish.  You can find matching cards and other learning printables on my blog, too.

Alaskan Wildlife Toys- Alaska is also well known for their bald eagle population and other wildlife like arctic seals, wolves, elk, caribou, and more.

Children of the First Nations- This book looks at what it means to grow up Native American in Alaska and explores some of their history and traditions.

Bull Moose Figurine- In Alaska, moose can be seen walking down the street of the cities and towns.  They're everywhere!  So shouldn't you have a few in your house too?

Whales: An Illustrated Celebration- Alaska is famous for it's whale watching as it's miles of coastline are home to the biggest mammals on earth, like orcas, blue whales, humpback whales, and more.

Arctic Animals Toob- These small figurines are great for small world play and sensory bins.  They can be played with in real snow, water, ice, water beads, fake snow, or whatever you have on hand to make an arctic wilderness.  Get printable matching cards for the figurines on my blog to add even more learning fun!

L is for Last Frontier- This Alaska alphabet book features two levels of information, a short, rhyming prose for each letter and a longer explanation for adults, making it a book that will grow with your family.


The most disconnected state in the USA is the islands of Hawaii.  Known for being the vacation destination for the nation, this is the land of tropical beaches, beautiful scenery, and exotic animals.

Ohana Means Family- This sweet, rhyming book follows a hawaiian native family as they prepare for a luau.

Rock-a-Bye Baby in Hawaii- This rewrite of the classic "rock-a-bye baby" song is set in the islands as the warm breeze gently

Safari Ltd Dolphin Toob- Set up a water sensory bin or a warm bath and teach your child the names of these dolphins from around the world.  You can get more ideas for learning about marine mammals and Montessori-inspired 3-part matching cards for the toob on my blog.

Polly Pocket Pineapple Purse- This is an entire tropical world inside a tiny purse, which makes it great for an airplane trip activity.

Shave Ice in Hawaii- Learn colors and several flavors of shaved ice in this fun and colorful board book.

Toy Ukulele- This instrument was invented in the islands, so it makes since that your child might want to learn how to play this instrument if you're studying Hawaii.

Pineapple Lacing Toy- Most of the pineapples in the USA come from Hawaii.  Your child can practice their fine motor skills with this lacing toy.

High Tide in Hawaii- Travel with the Magic Tree House to the islands to learn all about surfing.  Be sure to grab a surf board for practicing at home, too!

A Kid's Guide to Hawaii- Part guide book and part geography resource, this book is designed to get kids excited about their beach vacation, while also being a good source of information for your research report.

A is for Aloha- Learn all about the state of Hawaii with this fun ABC book.

Hawaiian Ocean Lullaby- Count Hawaii's beautiful ocean creatures with this soothing book for bedtime.

Whew!  One down, only nine more to go!  Scroll down to add your favorite state to Pinterest (you can also pin the collages).  Then, click on the US Geography picture for the rest of the US states.

Pin It!

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