How do you teach states and capitals so kids will remember them? You make the process fun and engaging!
Activities for Teaching the States and Capitals
The US has fifty states, and each one has a capital. That’s a lot to memorize!
You can make the job easier (and way more fun) by using hands-on activities!
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Puzzles are a hands-on activity that kids love.
Although there are many states puzzles, not many of them include the capitals as well.
This version has bright foam pieces for all the states.
It also comes with flags with the capitals printed on them. You can stick a flag onto each state.
Tracing and Coloring
You can print a copy of the US and then use tracing paper to trace the outline of each state.
Students can label the states and capitals with colored pencils.
States and Capitals Bingo
You can make your own bingo cards on a bingo card generator like this one.
You can make some cards with the state names only. Then read aloud the capitals for the students to match.
You can also make cards with the capitals only, and read aloud the name of the state.
Or you can use Seterra, which has loads of online geography games.
States and Capitals Songs
Some kids learn best when the content is set to music.
You can find several states and capitals songs online.
My favorite is from the Animaniacs cartoon. Click here to watch!
States and Capitals Jeopardy
You can turn the states and capitals into a Jeopardy game.
Write the states in categories based on their location: Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest, and Central States.
Cover them with sticky notes and write a dollar value on each one ($100, $200, etc.).
When you pull off a sticky note, read the state name underneath (e.g., “Maine”).
The student must answer in the form of a question (e.g., “What is Augusta?”)
States and Capitals Memory
Write the state on one index card and its capital on another. Do this for all 50 states.
Turn the cards over and play a game of memory.
Arrange the cards in a grid. Turn over one card, and then turn over the card that you believe is the match.
If it is a match, you keep both cards and go again. If not, you turn the cards back over, and the next person plays.
When all the cards have been matched, the person with the most cards wins.
You can start with a game consisting of just 5 pairs and build up to a larger number.
Matching Relay Race
Use the states and capitals flashcard pairs from the Memory game above.
You can turn them into a memory game.
Put a stack of capitals on one end of the room and a stack of state names on the other side.
Pick up a capital and run to the other side to find its match. Then bring the completed match back to the team.
The next person on the team takes a turn.
The game is over when all the cards have been correctly matched.
You can divide the cards into two stacks and have two competing teams race each other.
Or you can play as a single team and compete against yourselves to achieve a record time.
Learning the States and Capitals
These interactive games and hands-on activities will make learning the states and their capital cities a snap.
Try one, two, or all of them!