Baby Sphinx, at age four, is already showing interest in learning the states, thanks to a U.S. states puzzle that we purchased at our local Dollar Tree. Last week, while actually looking to print out and make a puzzle of my own, that was a blank, I came across this blog with a picture of the U.S. map with toothpicks coming from it and my creative juices started to flow. I wanted to recreate this, on a foam board, so I did!
To create my map, that would eventually become the game that I call, “Pass the Flag,” I printed out a 2×2 template and colored in each state. If you are fortunate enough to have a printer with colored ink, I highly suggest printing in color, unless you need to brush up on your coloring skills. I then cut each section out and glued it to my foam board then proceeded to create my 50 state flags, using small rectangle-shaped pieces of paper and gluing them to individual toothpicks (thanks Miss Sphinx for your help!). Another clever idea might be to use mailing labels since they are already sticky. Once the flags were created, we were ready to play, I mean, learn.
The goal of Pass the Flag is simple, try to plant more flags on the map than your opponent. How do you plant your flag? You start your turn by picking a flag from the pile of flags that are turned over. Once you select your flag, you can plant it by correctly identifying the state’s location. For older children, you can have them identify the capital of the state in order to be able to plant the flag. For our purposes, we did a combination of the two. My two older Sphinxes battled it out for school day bragging rights. If you do not know where the state is, or you don’t know the state’s capital, you can “pass the flag.” You can pass the flag twice (per player) before the “bank” aka “Mom or Dad” can claim the flag and reveal the correct answer. A good way to keep score may be to make sets of flags in diferent colors for each player which we didn’t do. That will be my weekend project.
Don’t limit yourself! This game can be used for other continents and their countries as well . This was a great review for both of my older children and a great learning game for my younger Sphinx. As always, I enjoyed spending time with my children and discussing other state related topics. We strive to make learning as fun and memorable as possible and if that means a little friendly competion along the way, so be it!