Monday, May 30, 2011

Scrambled States Memory Game

My son kind of digs geography, which I want to encourage. (We have a National Geographic World Map hanging above his bed.) Learning all the states in the U.S. can seem like an impossible task to a five year old – okay, who am I kidding, I don’t even think I could remember all 50?! [blushing with embarrassment]

To make it fun, I created a memory game for him. Since every state has to be represented twice to form a match, I thought it best to divide the game (and states) up by regions.
  • West and Southwest: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, Hawaii
  • Plains: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio
  • Southeast: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky
  • Northeast: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey
I made four sets of cards featuring states in each region. Coloring them was a necessity because Wyoming and Colorado are a similar (if not the same) shape. Then, I printed two of each region’s states on cardstock, glued various colors of heavy-duty construction paper to the back of each page (yellow = Plains states, Blue = Northeast, etc.), and cut them out.

When it came time to start our activity, we read Laurie Keller’s book (which I absolutely love), “The Scrambled States of America.” Next we turned the Plains states cards I’d made state-side down, scrambled them up and then arranged them in a nice grid. Each time he turned over two cards to try and find a match, I read the names of the states on the card to him. After awhile, he began to remember their names. I played with him and when one of us got a match, we took an extra turn.

After all the Plains states were matched, he asked to play again. … Of course, I happily obliged.

To make your own scrambled states memory game, click on the regions above to download the states game pieces; remember to print two!


  1. I LOVE this! My daughter loves The Scrambled States book, and I have been trying to think of an activity to go with the book. I will be copying this one! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you sooooo very much! We love this book! I am so thankful for this idea and the printables!! Big thanks. :)

  3. Oh... I keep finding more goodies on your blog! This is great fun! I am starting a Linky Party if you want to link up at

  4. Oh! I love these! But I cannot open them in my browser!
    If possible, could you email each region to

    Thank you so much! And I love all your printables!!! :)


  5. This is just what we needed for my young ones! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. Unfortunately I am not able to open the links. Is it possible for you to mail it to me, please?

  6. I also am having trouble with the links; has the location of them changed?

    1. Unfortunately, when Google Docs became Google Drive, you now have to sign into a Google account to access the freebies.

    2. Even when I am signed in it blocks me :(

    3. Send me an email, Catie and I'll reply with the docs attached. Google Drive can be a pain sometimes. Sorry for your difficulty!

  7. Yeah!!! Thank you! Can't wait to play this with my little ones tomorrow! Blessings!