Welcome to the Eight For Each State US Geography tour. I am so glad you are joining us.
Arkansas, I think, is one of those states gets overlooked way too often. With Texas right next door and the deep south to contend with, Arkansas gets a bit lost. We enjoyed so many things about this state. So much in fact, there are several places we would love to visit. Something we just might get to do because it is on one of the routes we take to visit family out west.
Enjoy some of these resources for your US Geography tour as you look at just a few of the amazing things about Arkansas.
A good introduction to a state helps whet our appetite for what we are about to delve into. And after studying so many states, it is helpful to have a quick and easy way to set our current state apart. Here is our favorite book to get us started.
Arkansas (Hello U.S.A.) by Domenica Di Piazza – This is our go to series for information and quick facts such as state flower, flag, tree, famous people ect… It is above the beginning readers, but limits information more than the larger thick state books at the library. Find a good series for your child’s level and stick with it.
N Is for Natural State: An Arkansas Alphabet by Michael Shoulders – If your library does not have this series, consider investing in this collection. My girls love these books. They poor over each one. The text is interesting and the illustrations never disappoint.
2. State Video by Socratica
Socratica Visit the 50 states video – Short, sweet, fun.
3. Diamonds and Diamond Mines
Arkansas is the only state in the US where you can mine your own diamonds and keep what you find. What fun! It is also the only place outside of South Africa where diamonds have been found at their source.
- Crater of Diamonds St. Park – This site is full of interesting facts, history, pictures, and videos about the diamonds in Arkansas. Click around, explore, talk about the different diamonds that have been discovered there. Do they look like how you would expect them to look?
- How To Make A Diamond – Bang Goes the Theory – BBC One – This was a fun video!
- Diamond Mining – How are diamonds mined and formed? Documentary Film – Modern Marvels episode on diamonds and diamond mining
- DK Eyewitness Books: Crystal & Gem by R.F. Symes – There are precious few books about diamonds for children to be found. However, I read the page about diamonds in this book and it was perfect for us.
- Origami Diamonds – We finished up our exciting talk on diamonds with a fun paper craft. Origami paper is not necessary, we used card stock. You can also use old Christmas cards to make ornaments.
4. Confederate State Capital building
When I think Confederate State Capitol, Arkansas is not one of the words that pops into my head. To clarify, when Little Rock was captured by the Union Army, the state of Arkansas set up their Capital in Washington, Arkansas. I was glad Sarah Joan’s notebooking pages pointed us to this interesting landmark.
The Capitol building as well as many other historic buildings are now located at Historic Washington State Park. Take some time to click around, explore, and be sure to add this attraction to your list of places to see on your US Geography tour.
For another view of Arkansas during the Civil War, try Sarah Campbell: Tale of a Civil War Orphan by Nancy Dane
Most towns in the US boast a festival or two a year. Arkansas, has some of the most unique festivals I have ever heard of. Have some fun exploring some, pretend you are at one, or make one up unique to your family.
- Rodeo of the Ozarks – Grab your boots, hat, hat and lasso! This rodeo festival has history! After you explore, watch a little rodeo on YouTube.
- Hope Watermelon Festival – Enjoy reading about the history of watermelon growing in Arkansas and then try your had at a few of the contests such as, seed spitting and watermelon tossing.
- Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival – At 22 years old, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is America’s oldest non-fiction film festival. Watch some of the trailers for this year’s documentaries and then try your hand at making one of your own!
- World Championship Cardboard Boat Races – Now doesn’t this sound fun? I actually considered having us do this. This would be a great activity for older students! You could build a model boat, or go for a big one! Here is a video of one of the races.
6. The Little Rock Nine
Throughout our US Geography tour I have tried to include history from the era we are studding (this year it is modern times.) This is the perfect opportunity to introduce more information on the Civil Rights Movement. The Little Rock Nine were the first African American high school students to be integrated into the white schools in Arkansas.
This is also a great opportunity to use the library to look up information and make a notebook page or present what was learned orally. These primary source documents may be interesting to an older student.
7. Rice Pudding
One of the main crops in Arkansas is rice. Our favorite state cookbook suggested making chocolate rice pudding. However, my children much prefer my grandmother’s recipe when it comes to this dessert. So, that is what we made instead.
Grandma’s Rice Pudding
1 cup white rice
1 cup white sugar
6 cups whole milk
1/2 cup butter cut into pieces
1 t. cinnamon
Mix sugar and rice together in a 9×13 pan. Add milk, butter and cinnamon. Stir to combine. There will still be cinnamon and butter that isn’t really mixed in. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Stir at 15 minute intervals. Cool slightly, serve warm.
8. Scott Joplin
I just love it when our US Geography tour matches up with something else we are doing in our homeschool. In this case, our study of Arkansas matched up perfectly with our SQUILT Volume 4 lesson on Scott Joplin.
Scott Joplin is a featured person in our state alphabet book N is for Natural State. This son of former slaves made Ragtime famous in the United States. The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag are perhaps some of his most well known works.
Arkansas (Hello U.S.A.)N Is for Natural State: An Arkansas Alphabet (Discover America State by State)DK Eyewitness Books: Crystal & GemSarah Campbell: Tale of a Civil War OrphanThe United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From All 50 States
What amazing match-ups has your US Geography tour had?
- Vulture View Homeschool Picture Book And Activities - September 30, 2021
- Dahlia Homeschool Picture Book And Activities - September 29, 2021
- How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World Picture Book And Activities - September 25, 2021