Monday, February 25, 2013

Booking Across the USA: Learning about Pennsylvania

I'm very excited to be participating today in the Booking Across America project hosted by Jodie over at Growing Book by Book - a blog devoted to "nurturing our youngest readers". For this project, a child-friendly blogger from each state will showcase one book related to their state and an activity to go with the chosen book.

I'm representing our hometown state of Pennsylvania and have selected My Little Pennsylvania ABC to go along with our learning activity: A fun, crafty, kid-friendly MAP OF PENNSYLVANIA.

When I came across this book at Barnes and Noble earlier this week, I thought it was perfect for this blog, my baby bookworms who are 3 years and 2 months, and the Booking Across the USA project. Here's why:

1) it has this super cute baby on every page that is dressed up as "something Pennsylvanian" (for example, L is for Lancaster and he's dressed up in Amish gear) - which happens to make learning a little more fun,

2) it's a board book which is great for the "littlest learners" ages 3 and under that are the focus here at Land of Once Upon a Time,

3) it teaches alphabet knowledge and phonemic awareness - important emergent literacy skills,

4) it provides a great basis for a discussion about our state and could easily tie in to a crafy learning activity, and

5) baby bookworm could make connections from the book to her life because we had already visited many of the places in PA (which is a great learning mechanism).

Showing off the cover of the book

J is for Johnstown Incline Plane - a place we have visited! 
After enjoying this book several times, we dove into our craft and learning activity which was a MAP OF PENNSVANIA. It could easily be created with infants, toddlers, or preschoolers by modifying a few elements.

Here are the instructions for this learning activity, if you would like to make your own (for PA or another state).

Gather the following materials:
  • Contact paper
  • Scissors (adult)
  • Finger paints
  • Art smock
  • Large sheet of paper
  • Pen (for drawing the outline of PA)
  • Craft letters (to spell Pennsylvania)
  • Craft stars (for showing where cities are)
INSTRUCTIONS: Begin by either tracing or free-hand drawing an outline of the state of Pennsylvania on to the contact paper. Cut it out, peel off the contact paper, and stick it on to your large sheet of paper.

Then you are ready to paint (and make a mess) - which is the fun part!

Let the paint dry for a few minutes and then peel off the contact paper; your outline of Pennsylvania will be revealed.

Allow the paint to fully dry, then grab your craft letters and stars, and your book! Identify the word Pennsylvania on the front cover, and invite your child to name each letter; play a little search and find game with the craft letters and see if your child can find all of the letters to spell out Pennsylvania.

Once you have found all of the letters, glue them on to your map.

Last but not least, add stars on your map to represent various cities in PA. We chose to identify cities in PA where we had friends or family living, or ones that we have visited.

In addition to this book on Pennsylvania we read a bunch of books on the largest city in PA - Philadelphia, which also happens to be where we live.

Our collection of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia books

1 2 3 Philadelphia by Puck - A counting book for young children
Good Night Philadelphia by Adam Gamble - A perfect bedtime story

The ABC's of Philadelphia by Greg Landry - An illustrated guide to the city

P is for Philadelphia by Susan Korman - An ABC book about Philly illustrated by Philly kids

Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania: Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know - A book with tons of facts for learning

Baby bookworm loves seeing the places that she has visited in these books, and has a list of places she would still like to see.

I'd also like to mention that Pennsylvania is home to a few of our favorite authors: Jan and Stan Berenstain of the Berenstain Bears series (my last post was about their book The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist and learning activities to accompany it), and Mr. Fred Rogers who was from Latrobe! Comedian and educator Bill Cosby is also a Philly native.

Be sure to visit Growing Book by Book for links to each post, but here is also a list of all participating blogs that are full of wonderful kid-friendly activities:

Alabama: Everyday Snapshots
Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days
Arizona: Simply Kinder
Arkansas: Homeschooling in Arkansas
California: Juggling with Kids and The Outlaw Mom
Colorado: Learners in Bloom and Living Montessori Now
Connecticut: The Teacher Park
Delaware: Mama Miss
Florida: Teaching Stars
Georgia: Fabulously First
Hawaii: Teaching With Style
Idaho: True Aim Education
Illinois: Growing Book by Book
Indiana: Teach Preschool
Iowa: Surviving a Teacher's Salary
Kansas: KCEdventures
Kentucky: Chicken Babies
Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog
Maine: Maine Adventure Mom and Country Fun Child Care
Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes
Massachusetts: Mama Smiles
Michigan: Play DrMom
Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory
Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk
Missouri: Ready. Set. Read!
Montana: The Honey Bunch
Nebraska: The Good Long Road
Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts
New Hampshire: Elementary Matters
New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing
New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
New York: What Do We Do All Day
North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog
North Dakota: ND HealthWorks
Ohio: Smart Chick Teacher’s Blog
Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten
Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher
Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time
Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade
South Carolina: Cookies and Kiddos and JDaniel4’s Mom
South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory
Tennessee: No Monkey Business
Texas: Curls and a Smile and Kid World Citizen
Utah: Teach Beside Me
Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog
Virgina: Once Upon a Story, and The Freckled Homeschooler
Washington: Home Learning Journey and Boy Mama Teacher Mama
West Virginia: This Week @ Great Peace Academy and Mamas Like Me
Wisconsin: Reading Confetti
Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle
USA: The Corner on Character        

Disclosure: Some of the book links in this post are Affiliate links.


  1. Very good! Maria Kiepert- Retired Pre School Teacher

  2. Good variety of resources. Loved how you managed to get the state shape using contact paper - great idea for a large shape.

  3. Adorable activity and awesome selection of books!

  4. What a great book to introduce our youngest bookworms to the state they live in! I also love the painting activity! Thank you so much for participating in the Booking Across the USA project. I'm so glad that I discovered your blog!


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