Eight for Each State – South Dakota

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

South Dakota is in the middle of it all. The geographic center of the United States offers diverse landscapes of mountains, plains, hills and rocks and was the latest stop in our US Geography tour.

South Dakota is also a state rich in culture. We chose to focus on the Czechoslovakian immigrants who came to South Dakota. We enjoyed a traditional dessert and learning a bit about the country they came from.

US Geography South Dakota FeaturePin


1. M is for Mount Rushmore by William Anderson

Pin I have to confess, I just sat down and finished purchasing the rest of the Discovering America State by State series for the remainder of our US Geography study. They are just that good. All of my children love sitting down to these beautiful books. The South Dakota Alphabet is no exception. These have been a must for our US Geography study.

We also use South Dakota Hello U.S.A by Karen Sirvaitis to help fill in the more standard facts in our notebooking pages.


2. Tabor Czech Days

Ruth was all ready to have a repeat of North Dakota Days for South Dakota called “Czech Days.” However, I was not up for such a party, but you could do it! It would be fun! We would love to hear about it and see pictures.

Spend some time at least browsing the Tabor Czech Days website, looking at the costumes and food. Check out some of the activities offered at the festival.

Does this dance remind you of the square dance we did for North Dakota? I wonder if they are related?

Beseda Dancers

Czech Days – A great overview by a local news station.

3. Kolatches

After exploring Czech Days, the girls chose to make Kolatches. Ok, ok, I highly suggested it. They were so good!

There are many different recipes out there, but I thought the one we chose was great. It was not too hard, it just takes a bit of time. Also, it is important that the dough ends up in squares. You may want to roll out the dough yourself to be sure you get the right shape.

US Geography South Dakota FoodPin

4. Polka Dancing

PinAfter our foray into square dancing, Ruth was eager to learn about Polka dancing. Enjoy watching and then trying it out. Also try Howcast for more steps and help. It is a fun romping sort of a dance.

There are a ton of choices on YouTube for Polka music. Play some and enjoy the sounds of different instruments and rhythms. Also check out Piggies in a Polka by Kathi Appelt for a fun read about dancing pigs.


US Geography South Dakota Chalk PastelsPin

5. Mount Rushmore Chalk Pastels

Chalk pastels are quickly becoming our favorite art medium to work with. You Are an Artist offers several tutorial ebooks that help you to learn how to use chalk pastels while drawing some fantastic pictures! My girls get excited when I pull out the pastels and the American Landmarks book. (I printed mine out for ease of use.)

American Landmarks Video Art CoursePin

6. De Smet, South Dakota

While we covered Laura’s life when we traveled in Missouri, De Smet is where she spent many formative years. It is also a cool place to visit. Ruth put it on her US Geography bucket list.

Check out The Ingalls Homestead which is now a living history museum for visitors.

Visit the Loftus Store.

Watch as one family experiences the fun and adventure of seeing Laura’s childhood home up close. The pageant looks especially fun.

Cheap Family Travel – De Smet, South Dakota

7. Crazy Horse Monument

PinI had no idea there was a fifth huge face on a mountain in South Dakota. Crazy Horse was chosen by Lakota Sioux Indians for Korczak Ziolkowski to sculpt in the Black Hills, 17 miles from Mount Rushmore. The sculpture is not yet finished. It will include the body of Crazy Horse riding on his horse.

Read more about Crazy Horse:

8. Earth Resources Observation Systems

The pictures taken at this observation station are stunning. Spend some time looking at the Earth as Art page. Talk about the new technology involved in taking detailed pictures with satellites.

 M is for Mount Rushmore: A South Dakota Alphabet (Discover America State by State)PinPinPinPinPinPin South Dakota (Hello U.S.A.)PinPinPinPinPinPin Piggies in a PolkaPinPinPinPinPinPin Crazy Horse’s Vision by Bruchac, Joseph, Nelson, S. D. (2002) PaperbackPinPinPinPinPinPin Crazy Horse: Young War Chief (Childhood of Famous Americans)PinPinPinPinPinPin Crazy Horse: A LifePinPinPinPinPinPin

Take the Virtual Tour to learn more!

What have you enjoyed most about South Dakota?