My 9-year-old son asked me if our state was part of the Louisiana Purchase. "Um … well … that's a good question, son," was my response. Yeah, I admit it.
I didn't know.
So this little game was as much about helping him learn the states in the Louisiana Purchase, as it was about familiarizing me … and having fun doing it, of course.
All you need to make this game is a the 2-page PDF I made (download it free here), cardstock, some scissors and glue, and 15 game pieces per player (we used small glass baubles).
Print a map game board (page 1) for each player.
Print, cut, fold, and glue the icosahedron die. It contains the 15 states that have land in
the Louisiana Purchase. It also have five "Roll & Return" sides.
Now gather your game pieces and get ready to play.
It's simple. The youngest player rolls first and places a game piece on the state rolled. Each player takes a turn.
If a player rolls and "Roll & Return" is on the top of the die when it stops, they must roll again and remove the game piece from the state they roll, returning it to their pile of game pieces. If they roll another "Roll & Return," they continue to roll until a state appears. If they do not have a game piece on the state, their turn is over.
The game goes fast at first, but I can assure you, getting all states covered takes time. If you expect your child's interest to wane, set a timer for 10 minutes and see who has the most states covered when it goes off.
Playing is a great way to memorize the geography of the Louisiana Purchase and helps kids fine tune their ability to locate those 15 states on a map.
Want a good book to go with this activity? My son read Expanding a Nation: Causes and Effects of the Louisiana Purchase by Elizabeth Raum. This 32-page book is loaded with facts but written in easy two- to four-paragraph chunks, keeping kids from the fatigue that sometimes comes with non-fiction.