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Pennsylvania for Teachers & Travelers

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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Liberty Bell image credit:

Liberty Bell image credit:

Are you looking for fun worksheets an lapbook pages, children's books, and YouTube video clips for teaching and/or learning about Pennsylvania? These are the resources we found to be most helpful when studying Pennsylvania as part of a larger unit study on the 50 states of the United States.

What Makes This State Special: Hershey's Chocolate

Hershey, Pennsylvania, called "The Sweetest Place on Earth," is home to the Hershey Chocolate Factory. In the early 1900’s Milton Hershey used the widely available fresh milk to manufacture caramels and then chocolate. He was not the first person to make chocolates, but he was the first person in America to mass produce affordable chocolates like these Hershey’s Kisses. They are still produced today in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and it is now the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing plant. If you visited there today, you’d find that the air actually smells like chocolate. They even have a Hershey’s chocolate theme park.

What Makes This State Special: Mushrooms

Pennsylvania is the nation's leading producer of mushrooms. Kennett Square, PA claims to be the "Mushroom Capital of the World" because they produce over a million pounds of mushrooms every week.

Crayola Crayons

Crayola Crayons

What Makes This State Special: Crayola crayons

My children loved coloring their pictures for their state notebook using Crayola crayons. Why did we use Crayola crayons? Crayola crayons are produced in Easton. You can even stop by for tours and to see the world's largest crayon.

Image credit:

Image credit:

What Makes This State Special: America's First Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo, founded by Benjamin Franklin, was America's first public zoo.

Image credit of Rockville Bridge:

Image credit of Rockville Bridge:

What Makes This State Special: Rockville Bridge

Rockville Bridge is the longest stone masonry arch bridge in the world. It was constructed in the early 1900s by the Pennsylvania Railroad. It crosses the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, PA.

Image credit of steel production:

Image credit of steel production:

What Makes This State Special: Steel and Steelers

Pittsburgh is know for its steel production and even has professional football team named after the industry, the Pittsburgh Steelers.


What Makes This State Special: Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish

Many of the immigrants from Switzerland and Germany settled in Pennsylvania. At one point over 1/3 of the state population spoke a dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania German. Old Order Mennonites and Amish still hold on to the language and traditions.

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Our Favorite Books on the Pennsylvania Dutch & Amish

We read many books on the Pennsylvania Dutch & Amish. These were our favorites because they had nice illustrations and included educational information about the Pennsylvania Dutch & Amish amid an enjoyable story that all my children could enjoy. Also look for The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous, Just Like Mama by Beverly Lewis, and Pennsylvania Dutch Night Before Christmas by Chet Williamson.

Image credit:

Image credit:

What Makes This State Special: Punxsutawney Phil

Every year in February thousands of people visit Punxsutawney to watch groundhog Punxsutawney Phil's weather forecast regarding spring's arrival. He was made all the more famous after being featured in the movie "Groundhog Day."

Independence Hall

Independence Hall

What Makes This State Special: Philadelphia's History

Philadelphia was the capital city of the US before Washington DC was created. It is also home to the Liberty Bell and was where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin were both residents of the city.


Pennsylvania's State Flag and State Quarter

Pennsylvania's state flag shows that Pennsylvania is strong through the symbols of the American bald eagle and horses. Pennsylvania commerce is shown by a ship carrying goods. Pennsylvania's rich natural resources are represented by the clay-red plough and sheaves of wheat. The olive branch and cornstalk are symbols of peace and prosperity. The state's motto, "Virtue, Liberty and Independence", is included. The bald eagle at the top symbolizes that Pennsylvania is loyal to America.

Pennsylvania's state quarter features the Commonwealth statue that sits atop the state capitol building and a keystone since Thomas Jefferson deemed the state "the keystone in the federal union."

Our Favorite Picture Books on Pennsylvania

More Good Picture Book Options for Pennsylvania

William Penn: Founder of Pennsylvania (Graphic Biographies) by Ryan Jacobson is a wonderful graphic illustrated (comic book illustrations) book that covers the history of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. My boys love the comic book like illustrations, and I love that it includes so much historically accurate information!

How to Draw Pennsylvania's Sights and Symbols (A Kid's Guide to Drawing America) by Melody S. Mis is part of an excellent series that combines Pennsylvania state geography with art. Each page contains something about Pennsylvania (a state artist, the state flag, bird, tree, capitol building, areas of interest, and animals.) A photograph will be included along with a brief explanation about that item. Then the page opposite of that includes step by step directions on how to draw that symbol or site. Even my 6 year old is able to follow the drawing directions, and I've been amazed at how well my 9 year old has been drawing each of the state flags as he follows the instructions in the book.

One for All: A Pennsylvania Number Book by Trinka Hakes Noble which is written in a similar format to the above book, K is for Keystone, but this book uses numbers rather than letters to lay out all the information about Pennsylvania.

Larry Gets Lost in Philadelphiaby John Skewes is the cute story of a family who takes a vacation in Philadelphia and lose their dog, Larry. As Larry tries to find his family, he visits the main landmarks and tourist sites of the city including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross House, and more.

Dubs Goes to Philadelphia (Dubs Discovers America) by Dick Morris is similar to the above book as it follows a dog as he explores Philadelphia.

Best Book for Preschoolers, Toddlers, and/or Babies

More Good Board Books for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Good Night Philadelphia (Good Night Our World) by Adam Gamble and Good Night Pittsburgh (Good Night Our World) by Mark Jasper are similar to the above board book but they focus on the particular landmarks, histories, etc. of those two cities.

Little Pennsylvania (Little State) by Trinka Hakes Noble uses rhymes and riddles to go through Pennsylvania's state bird, animal, tree, etc.

123 Philadelphia (Cool Counting Books) Board book by Puck counts from 1-10 while showing a different symbol or landmark from Philadelphia.

Hello Philadelphia! Board book by Martha Zschockb Follows an eagle parent and his eaglet child as they tour the sites of Philadelphia, playing in Fairmont Park, eating a cheesesteak, etc.

The Mystery in Chocolate Town: Hershey Pennsylvania (Real Kids, Real Places) by Carole Marsh (145 pages) is about a family who visits Hershey, PA. While there, they try to solve a recent crime. Someone stole money that was supposed to be donated to the Milton Hershey School. The children uncover quite a bit of history as they try to solve the crime.

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (272 pages) focuses on a teenage girl living in 1793 as she suffers from the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged Philadelphia in the late 18th century.

Sweet Secrets in Pennsylvania (Just in Time) by Carol Lynch Williams (152 pages) -is about two children who travel back in time to Hershey, PA in 1907, just when Milton Hershey is developing his candy company. They must stop a villain who is trying to steal Milton Hershey's recipes.

Shoo-Fly Girl by Lois Lenski (176 pages) is about an Amish girl living near a "modern" family and how they both learn that neither family judges the other family's way of life. They just choose to live in different ways.

The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz (128 pages) is about a girl who moves to the western frontier of Pennsylvania during the time of George Washington.


Great Worksheets on Pennsylvania

We found these to be helpful when creating a notebook and lapbook on Pennsylvania.

All About Pennsylvania provides great links to printable worksheets, book suggestions, and activity ideas about Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania for Teachers includes wonderful printable worksheets, activity ideas, and book suggestions.

Benjamin Franklin Lapbook provides free lapbook pages related to Benjamin Franklin.

Just Plain Fancy Lapbook offers free lapbook pages and activity ideas for Just Plain Fancy by Patricia Polacco. Also look for the free lapbooks from this same website,, that focus on Yoder's Barn by Jane Yolen and on Just Like Mama by Beverly Lewis.

Pennsylvania State Facts & Trivia lists numerous points of interest about Pennsylvania. The site also includes a number of helpful worksheets, links, and information.

Good Overview of Pennsylvania

When searching out YouTube video clips that provided helpful information about Pennsylvania and were completely child-friendly, these were our favorites.

I have visited Pennsylvania. Have you?

Where is Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania?

© 2012 Shannon

What do you first think of when you think of Pennsylvania? - Or just let me know you dropped by. I LOVE getting feedback from you!

Shannon (author) from Florida on February 22, 2014:

@bob-skiba-3: Thank you for catching my typo! I think I fixed it.

bob-skiba-3 on January 31, 2014:

Nice introduction to Philadelphia, and a great collection of resources, but I think you mean that Philadelphia was the capital city of the U.S. and not the "capitol" city. To clarify, "capitol" is the building and "capital" is the city.

Shannon (author) from Florida on September 03, 2012:

@JoyfulPamela2: Thank you so much for sharing your state lapbook!

JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on September 03, 2012:

I love my home state! I created a lapbook for my kiddos about PA that is located at Homeschool Helper if anyone is interested. Pennsylvania Lapbook

Shannon (author) from Florida on August 24, 2012:

@evelynsaenz1: Thank you for dropping by! We saw the Liberty Bell and many of the other marvelous sites in Philadelphia a couple years ago. It was amazing!

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on August 24, 2012:

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has a nice playground for the toddler set. We stopped there on our way across country. Some day we hope to visit the Liberty Bell.

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