Want a fun challenge this summer?   Try collecting all 50 states on postcards! A few summers ago, we did not have much travel planned, as this momma had a newborn.  So to make our summer interesting, we decided to create a fun challenge that would allow us to “travel” in a different way. We set a goal at the beginning of the summer to attempt to get a postcard from every single state before we went back to school.

Geography Game

Thanks to modern technology, the challenge is not quite as difficult as it may seem! Reach Out to EVERYONE:  The only way to make this a success is with TONS of help!   Compose a letter/email explaining what your challenge is and why you are doing it and send it to everyone you know.  Ours went along these lines,
We wanted to see if we could collect a postcard from every single state this summer.  Would you mind sending us a postcard from where you live and where you are traveling from?  We would love to learn more about all the different states this summer and could really use your help! Please tell us some cool things about your state on your postcard!  
Also, ask them to forward your email on to anyone they know that lives in a different state. If you are a blogger, post your challenge on your blog and ask your blog friends to help out.  If you are on Facebook, do the same!  You will be AMAZED at how many people will send postcards in to you.   Over half of all the postcards we received were from friends of friends, wanting to help us out.

US Geography for Kids

Map It: To enable us to visualize where our postcards were coming from, we rolled out a big map on our dining table (who really eats dinner in there anyway??) and placed  flag on the state for each postcard we received.  We often received more than one postcard per state, which was great.   We really got to know those states! (affiliate link) Read About It: We checked out some great books from the library that were all about the states – there are some fun 50 State Fact books out there!  After we mapped our postcards, we did a little research about it using our books.  We learned so many things – from what exactly is an armadillo to the fact that there are 3 million lakes in Alaska!! Make One Last Push: If you are getting close to your goal, but there are a few states you still haven’t gotten, reach out to the States’ Visitor Bureaus.  We were able to get our last 3 postcards this way! After reaching our goal, we had so much fun looking back on all that we received – 168 postcards, 21 of which came from Alaska (can you believe it??).  We sorted them all out and picked out our favorite cards – like the one above – as big as my son’s head! Create a Keepsake: Now that we had 168 postcards, we needed to find a fun way to keep them all together.  We lined them up alphabetically, punched holes in them, and bound them together with large rings.  It made a fun keepsake for us to look back upon. It really was a fun challenge!  The kids couldn’t wait for the mail each day and we all (even Momma!) learned so much from it.  Some other ideas to collect could be world countries, famous landmarks, or as many from one state. And if you are looking for postcards about the 50 states, check this out!  This set of 50 gives you interesting facts about each state! Which one will you try? Some other geography activities for kids we love are:

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  2. Great post! And kids so love getting snail mail 🙂 We currently use books that we read and then put the book titles on a world map (based on where the book took place) but I love the idea of the postcards!

  3. Love this idea! And I think my daughter (4) would love to get postcards in the mail… One question, did you just email friends who already had your address? You say to put it up on your blog or Facebook, but I wouldn’t want to put my address out there…

    1. I emailed friends at first and then posted “Hey friends – if you can send us a postcard for a project I am doing with my kids, let me know!” (something along these lines). If they left me a comment and I knew them, I would send them a DM with my address – I didn’t just put my address on display for everyone to see! 🙂

  4. There’s a website called PostCrossing.com You can send and receive postcards from all over the world. It’s free minus the cost of postage and the postcard. I’ve heard of a few teachers who did this to tach their students about other cultures.

  5. I love this idea. That would add so much to a geography lesson. I’ve got this bookmarked for when my daughters are a few years older and would understand it better. That’s brilliant!