Thursday, August 19, 2010

Traveling Geography

We are blessed to have the opportunity to be able to go and visit my sister this fall. We will be traveling from Wisconsin to Virginia and making several stops along the way. Of course, being a teacher at heart I’m hoping that this trip will be filled with not only fun but lots of learning as well. We will be taking two separate routes, there and back. I’ve been busy doing some research on car boredom busters, educational ideas,  traveling ideas, and more. I found a lot of great resources while I was looking stuff up, and as always most of it is just too good to keep for myself – so take some time and explore the great resources below.

Our Trip (In a Nutshell) image The first route we are taking a little longer on and will go through the following cities – we are planning on taking 3-4 days to get to Virginia.

Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin: I want to make a stop to go on a Jelly Belly Factory and Warehouse: but this may be something we have to do some other time being so close to home it may be something we wait on.

Chicago, Illinois: A couple of years ago Tim and I went to the Navy Pier in Chicago and we always said we wanted to bring Treyton back there (he was our only child at the time), so we’re going to actually do it!!

Indianapolis, Indiana:

Columbus, Ohio: I’ve been going back and forth on visiting the Columbus Zoo I found it rated the #1 zoo in the country in two different places and #10 for children’s zoo in the countries according to Parent’s Magazine, but there is also a zoo in Cleveland that’s supposed to be good… we don’t want to do too many zoos (any suggestions?)

Center of Science and Industry(COSI) #2 on Travelocity of things to see in Columbus – a science museum #1 Science center in the country by parents mag.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: We want to do the Duquesne Incline (going up the side of the mountain in a cable car USA Weekend calls one of the "10 most beautiful views in America”) and shopping, there is an adorable shopping center near the incline that Tim and I went to 3 years ago when we visited here.

We also want to eat at Crystal Restaurant a lebanese cuisine style restaurant featured on Guy’s Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives

A possibility is Kennywood Amusement Park

I have heard great things about the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium but this too will depend on time.

Hershey, Pennsylvania: an hour or so out of our way but Treyton knows Pennsylvania as the state that makes chocolate, so I really want to make it to the Hershey Factory.

We are planning on spending 4-5 days  at my sister’s. While we are at my sister’s we will be visiting:

Washington DC: the kids and I have already done DC before (last year), we will do the White House again, but we also want to do the Smithsonian Musuem of Natural History and the Jefferson Memorial (we did the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial last time). My mom mentioned a large carousel located near the Smithsonian Palace that I want to take the kids on.

I found this Article about Kids visiting DC with some creative ideas on how to show kids that are too young to appreciate some of the sites, the “biggness” of what they are seeing.

Shanendoah Valley, Virginia: We will probably be doing the Skyline Drive. We talked about doing the Appalachian Trail (which is walking), but honestly it will probably depend on the weather. This is something my sister really wants to do so she may have some other ideas for here as well.

Mount Vernon: Last time we were in Virginia we went here but didn’t actually have the time to go to George Washington's Home so we just saw the land and gift shop, this time we are going IN!!

imageOn the way home we will be going through these cities:

Cleveland, Ohio: I have a list of ideas for Cleveland but to be honest we probably won’t do alot here. If we do, I’m thinking: Metroparks Zoo, the Bratwurst Factory Tour – (The Bratworks Tour) and eating at either Lucky’s CafĂ© for Breakfast/Lunch or Momocho’s Dinner (both featured on Diner’s Drive-Ins or Dives on the Food Network)

Fort Wayne, Indiana: We have some really good friends who live here so we will be staying with them for a night, and then I read somewhere that Fort Wayne has an excellent children’s zoo

Chicago, Illinois: I doubt my hubby will want to stop on the way through, being so close to home, especially considering that we stopped on the way there but we’ll have to see, if I find something interesting to see or do and what our time table looks like.

Visited State Journal

To give the kids a little hands on action during the car ride, I am planning on having lots of activities for them to do. Including reading books, coloring pictures/maps, tracking our route on a map, and making State Pages for each state we go through.

State Notebook Page

State Notebook Pages (2)

One-Page State Notebooking Page

Crayola’s State Coloring Pages – Love these!

State Coloring Pages

State Worksheets – my favorite was that I could print a black and white or colored state map of each state (with bordering states, without, with compass or without). Very nice.

These State Notebooking Pages were a little detailed for what I wanted for the trip, but I think in the future this would be a great idea.

US Geography Resources from Homeschool Share – I really like the “Where is …?” Pages

US Worksheets

Black and White State Flags

Tourism Sites for each of the 50 states where you can request information on the states: I have requested information on each of the states and will hopefully be able to use our freebies to make our state notebooking pages.

Travel Journal/Fun Spot Pages:

In addition to the State Pages, I thought it would be nice to also have our own personal “Fun Pages” to record our memories of the fun places we visit. I’m not quite sure how I am going to be making these yet, but they will be pretty simple so that the kids can create and write whatever they like on them.

Activity Village had some Travel Journal Pages to print off here.


We will be mailing out postcards to ourselves as we travel as well. That way we have some fun stuff to look forward to when we get back home that we can add to our traveling journal and/or our geography notebook.

Recommended Books (So Far)

I found a couple of books off of “No Time for Flashcards” that I plan on picking up for reading in the car to the kids. And did a little amazon search to find a few others – mind you I have not looked at or seen any of these books yet… just looking right now.

America: My Land, Your Land, Our Land


“The book showcases how The United States is made up of drastic opposites. Each page is devoted to two opposing features such as bright and dark, yours and mine, old and young. Then the illustrations reflect these opposites.”

Celebrate the 50 States image

“not a story book about the 50 states but really an illustrated short form non fiction book about each and every state.  Each page is broken into columns with 2 states ( all in alphabetical order) with a few historical facts, a basic map of the state and fun facts even parents probably don’t know!”

Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America

image “The beauty and diversity of America are celebrated as three children, their parents, and their dog travel across the country in high spirits. Starting in Massachusetts, the family finds interesting details: Dr. Seuss National Memorial, the first post office, and famous people like Deborah Sampson and Herman Melville. The pages are alive with many small pictures, text, and maps.”

The United States Cookbook

Take a Tasty Tour of Americas 50 States

1. In what state were both the lollipop and the hamburger-on-a-bun invented? image

2. Where do the largest watermelons grow and whats the distance record for spitting watermelon seeds? How big is the worlds largest potato chip and where is it now?

3. Theres more to cuisine in America than just burgers and fries. Heres a mouthwatering journey across the United States where youll discove and learn how to make fabulous foods from every part of the country.

Treat yourself to such simple, kid-tested recipes as:

  • Banana Berry Pancakes with Real Maple Syrup from Vermont
  • Key Lime Pie from Florida
  • Deep Dish Pizza from Illinois

50 State Booklist - (Booklist for each state)

Travel Games

State License Plate Game: Okay, I’ll admit it, this is more for Tim and I, but I’ve played this game since I was a kid and I just can’t get over it!

This site has color images of all the current state license plates which I plan on printing off and adding to our state pages.

Travel Bingo


We just recently got into the whole geocaching craze and I am really hoping to incorporate a few stops along the way throughout our trip.

Printable Geocaching Page


Great Food

I found Guy’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (from the food network) list of places he’s been, and we’re planning on hitting some along the way… I mean if they were on the food network they’ve got to be good (right?) and the real beauty of DDD’s is that they are mostly unique, family friendly and reasonably priced places.



I would love ANY other recommendations that you all have. I’m especially looking for fun stops along our route that I may have missed. (I know there is more out there!!)

I would like some good traveling books, DVDs or CDs – this would include just for fun reading books as well as travel related books for our trip. Maybe certain books on the certain states or places we are going.

And for you all if any of you are interested in more resources go here on squidoo!

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