Benny and I started working on learning the US states last year with a two fold approach. We sang the "Fifty Nifty United States" song to learn all of the names of the states and were successful with this portion. We tried using the book Little Man in the Map and building with our Geopuzzles North America puzzle for locating the states on the map. This approach did not work for us at all, so this year I decided to switch gears.
A few years back I made US geography lapbooks with the girls. It was a very successful start for learning the states, and both girls' had still retained a large amount of what they learned when I asked them to fill in a blank US map last year. Benny has not been a big fan of lapbooks up to this point because of the writing involved; however, since the geography lapbook is mostly stickers with minimal writing, I decided we would give it a try.
We started last week working with the overall US maps, and this week began with the state of Alabama. We're off to a great start! Benny thinks its easy and the stickers are fun. Yeah!! I believe the approach of focusing on one state at a time paying attention to its shape and having the practice of locating it several times while completing the booklet will be a much more fruitful approach. For more information on the content of the booklets and how we use them, please read my original post. To download the lessons, simply look in the right hand column.