Louisiana, once a huge wilderness explored by Lewis and Clark, is now a state full of culture, traditions, and food that well known throughout the United States.
Louisiana was so much fun to study! It could be we had such a great time because our study lined up perfectly with Mardi Gras this year. What fun to end our study with a real live Mardi Gras parade!
I love these books. They are amazing. The girls clamor for them every Monday when we begin a new state study. If you like these, be sure to check out the free teacher guides!
2. Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras was our big event for Louisiana. Not studying Louisiana around Mardi Gras? Pretend!
I myself have never celebrated Mardi Gras or Lent. We all really enjoyed learning about these traditions from Mardi Gras: A Cajun Country Celebration by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith. I loved the way that Mardi Gras was not just explained, but shown through photographs. The history and lesser known traditions were very interesting!
There are a ton of Mardi Gras resources for kids. Below are a few I liked.
- Make a paper plate crown to wear to your parade or Mardi Gras celebration.
- Watch this fantastic video about the history of the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade and the company who builds many of the floats!
- Check out these crafts and other activities from Kids Activities Blog.
3. King Cake
As we began to tell other moms how much fun we were having studding Louisiana and participating in some of the Mardi Gras activities, I was informed that we HAD to have King Cake. Now, I don’t usually shy away from baking, but we were so busy…
Imagine my surprise to learn that I could pick one up at the store! If it is the wrong time of year for you, try one of these recipes. Don’t forget the baby!
4. Lewis and Clark
Louisiana is the perfect time during our US Geography tour to do a little mini unit study on Lewis and Clark. Lewis and Clark explored more than just present day Louisiana. The whole Louisiana purchase needed mapping and exploring!
Here are some great books to get you started!
- Of Courage Undaunted by James Daugherty – A classic adventure story in chapter book form.
- A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David A. Adler – A picture book version of the journey of Lewis and Clark.
- Lewis and Clark for Kids: Their Journey of Discovery with 21 Activities by Janis Herbert – This is a great series. I have looked at other topics in this series and the projects are usually different, relevant, and geared towards the older elementary crowd.
- Dog of Discovery: A Newfoundland’s Adventures with Lewis and Clark by Laurence Pringle – A chapter book about the dog who went along with Lewis and Clark.
Fun map activity – A great way to visualize the journey of Lewis and Clark.
National Geographic interactive game – This game was a lot of fun! A choose your own adventure and learn along the way sort of game.
Louisiana is the Pelican state. Did you know they live on every continent except Antarctica? For your bird lovers, spend some time looking into this large, interesting looking bird.
- Those Peculiar Pelicans by Sarah Cussen – This looks like such a fun book! I love the question and answer format!
- Perky Pelican: A Tale of a Lively Bird by Suzanne Tate – One of a series of books about nature, this simple nature book would be great for the younger crowd.
- The Adventures of Pelican Pete: A Bird is Born by Frances Keiser – Written in rhyme, with plenty of facts about Pelicans this one is sure to delight everyone! Look for the sequels as well!
6. Louisiana Food
- The United States Cookbook by Joan D’Amico
- Louisiana breakfast, lunch, and dinner from A Common Shepherdess
- Beignets by Shower of Roses
- Crawfish Etouffee
7. Swamp People
When Swamp People first came out, my children where hooked. We watched it at Grandma’s house. The next day, the pretend play centered on reenactment. One child would perch on the couch and pretend to shoot the “alligator”, then haul it into the “boat.” It was hilarious. And because they were so cute, I continue to let them watch it.
Besides the entertainment factor, I think it is a great way to show a different culture within our country. While there are some rough spots, for the most part family is shown in a positive light. I love the expressions when they realize that the frogs they are catching are not just for fun, but food. Priceless.
Swamp People can be found on Netflix. There are also full episodes on The History Channel show page.
When you are done, just for fun, make Alligator Pie!
8. Louisiana Hurricanes
Hurricanes on the gulf are destructive and sometimes devastating. This is a great time for a mini unit on extreme weather, namely hurricanes.
- Hurricanes! by Gail Gibbons – Gibbons is always a favorite and around here. I imagine that this book will be no different.
- Hurricane! by Jonathan London – The story of two boys and their family during a hurricane.
- Ready, Set . . . WAIT!: What Animals Do Before a Hurricane by Patti R. Zelch – Something I know I always wondered about!
- Hurricane activities from Inspiration Laboratories – Make a hurricane and more!
I hope you have enjoyed our tour of Louisiana.
Be sure to check out our Louisiana State Scrapbooking Page! You can download it by clicking here.
How is your US Geography tour going?
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