Explore the United States through Food

I enjoy learning about geography.

Or more specifically, I enjoy learning about other parts of the world, how people live, what is popular, what is the same as where I’ve lived, what is different, etc.

We live in a world full of rich cultures and experiences.

And even in the U.S.A. we have a wide variety of people, places, experiences, etc across the states.

One way we can experience other places is through popular food and drinks.

Why is Is Important to Learn About the States?

Or maybe the question should be – IS it important?

And I don’t have a great answer for that.
Yes, no, maybe?

I think it’s important to understand the world around us and it’s hard to do that without having some geographical knowledge. Imagine learning about the Civil War and having no idea what North or South means or why the southern states were more likely to profit off agriculture and the northern states were more likely to profit from industrialization.

On the other hand, I don’t think it’s necessary to memorize all the states, their capitols, etc.

Why Explore the U.S.A. Through Food

When I set out to teach my kids about the states of the U.S.A. I knew I didn’t want to focus on population, state flag/flower/animal, exports and imports, etc. As a kid, I didn’t find those things interesting in the least. As an adult, I still mostly don’t find them interesting.

But I still wanted my kids to know or experience something in regards to the states.

So I started brainstorming what we could focus on in each state that would likely interest at least one of them.

We made state trading cards, played an election game, and create a giant state map.

And now, we’re working on eating and drinking our way through the states.

Benefits of Bringing Food Into Your Geography Lessons

I’m a firm believer that if you can get a kid interested in a subject you’ll have 1/10th the work to do.

How often do you learn something in which you have no interest and actually retain that information?

For me that answer is ‘almost never’.

Foods and drinks can provide sensory input that helps us use more parts of our brain and body increasing the likelihood that we will retain the information.

And it makes the lesson fun!

How to Use the Food and Drinks of the U.S.A. List

We are, unfortunately, between U.S. State units right now. Royal just finished going through the states last year and Logi-Bear won’t start his state unit until next year.

My plan is to go through about 1 state a week (we’ll cover all of the states over a 2 school-year period) and use some of these recipes as we go!

I’m also hoping we can take the list with us while we travel and eat the foods in the actual state from someone who knows what they’re doing.

How to Expand Upon the Food and Drinks

Perhaps you and your kids LOVE the idea of cooking through the states but you want even more. Here are a few ideas on how to expand this idea even further.

  • Make a recipe book for the recipes you enjoy
  • Take pictures and notes of each recipe you try and make a memory book
  • Draw a picture of each food/drink on a map of the U.S.

What If My Kid is a Picky Eater?

There are multiple suggestions for each state (some are even adult themed) so you can pick and choose what works for your family.

But I totally understand. Baloo has always struggled with some foods and he would not enjoy this nearly as much as my other two kids. So while we will invite him to try these foods with us, I wouldn’t regularly include a food based activity specifically for him.

You’ll have to decide if it’s worth it for your family!

Get the List

You can download the list right here!

And if you want the free state bundle (including the trading cards, election game, and signature food and drinks) sign up for my newsletter below:

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U.S.A. States Bundle


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