Eight for Each State – Idaho

Welcome to the Eight For Each State US Geography tour. I am so glad you are joining us.

Be sure to check out all of our US Geography resources to help you plan a complete study of the USA.

US Geography Idaho Feature

When I think of Idaho, I think potatoes. Who doesn’t? While potatoes are a huge part of Idaho’s identity, we found many other exciting things to tempt us to visit this strangely shaped state.

From gems, to interesting music, to stunts, and tall tales of real mountain men, Idaho was an exciting state to study.

1. P is for Potato by Stan and Joy Steiner

When we begin with one of these books from the Discovering America series, out US Geography study always goes well. These books are full of unique information of each state. We always read the rhyme on each page, as well as the extra information on any page the girls want to know more about. For Idaho, we read more about the Hot Springs, Appaloosa horses (also mentioned in the Washington book), and the txistu.

Other nonfiction books for Idaho:

2. An Introductory Idaho video

Idaho – Visit the 50 States

3. Idaho the Gem State

Idaho is the only place other than India in the whole world where star garnets can be found. The mountains of Idaho also contain opals, jasper, agate, petrified wood, and nearly every other precious gem.

Just like you can dig for diamonds in Arkansas, you can look for your very own star garnet in Idaho. Be sure to put the Emerald Creek Garnet Area on your list of places to visit on your next trip west!

For some good pictures of Idaho gems, visit Geology.com, and Outdoor Idaho’s “Gem State.” For Information about where to find different gem deposits, visit Idaho Gemstone Deposits, and this map from Outdoor Idaho.



Learn More with Nature Guide: Gems. Can’t make it to Idaho but still want to dig for gems, not a problem! This fun kit could be a great addition to make US Geography come alive when you are thousands of miles away from the nearest gem mine.

Us Geography Idaho Potatoes

4. Fancy Potatoes

Ruth made this dish almost entirely herself. I am so surprised at how her confidence in the kitchen has grown through our US Geography study alone.

We found our recipe in our US Geography food standby The United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From All 50 States by Joan D’Amico. This book has been a valuable resource for us as we look for fun recipes to try for each state.



5. Sacajawea

While we talked about Lewis and Clark in our Louisiana state study, I wanted to focus on Sacajawea here because she was born in Idaho.

American Landmarks Video Art Course

Captured as a young girl, sold to another Native American tribe and then sold again as wife to Toussaint Charbonneau. Be aware that any children’s version is probably not the real version of the story.

Children’s books about Sacajawea:



6. Basque Music

The Basque people live in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Some of them migrated to the United States and settled in Idaho. Their culture and music is still celebrated by their decedents today. Enjoy this video of a Basque music. The flute like instrument is called a txistulari.

7. Evel Knievel and the Snake River Jump

Just for fun, this Evel Knievel stunt from the 1970s is a good one to watch. Skip to the end if you want to see just the stunt and not the pre-show.

Evel Knievel Snake River Jump 2

8. Mountain Men

After Lewis and Clark returned from their expedition to the Pacific, many men followed their trail as fur trappers. These men became known as Mountain Men. Many of these trappers would meet each year near Bear Lake in Idaho to trade, resupply, and tell stories, some true, some embellished, and some outright tall tales.


 P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet (Discover America State by State) Idaho: The Gem State (Exploring the States) Idaho (Hello U.S.A.) Nature Guide: Gems (Nature Guides) Mega Gemstone Mine Dig Kit The United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From All 50 States Sacajawea Who Was Sacagawea? Sacagawea Sacagawea: Journey into the West (Graphic Biographies) A Picture Book of Sacagawea (Picture Book Biography) It Happened in America: True Stories from the Fifty States Mountain Men: True Grit and Tall Tales



  • Sarah says:

    This is great! We moved to Idaho after living in the South, and we were totally unprepared for the fact that it is a land of mountains, lakes, and forests! I always thought it was flat potato farms! I’m going to bookmark this post to use with my kids in the fall for geography–it’ll be very helpful when people back home ask us what’s here besides potatoes 😉

    • Jessica Lawton says:

      I am so glad this can be a help to you! Enjoy your new state and all it has to offer. Be sure to come back and tell us about any interesting places that are not on the list.

    • Ollie says:

      I will deineitfly share! You can do them without the fancy Cut-n-Seal gadget, just use a fork to crimp the edges, but I’m hoping this will speed up the process and make it easier (and more fun!) for the 3 of us to try this recipe together.

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