Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reward Earned: Scrambled States of America

Kai loves geography and has had an affinity for the United States for quite awhile now. From the time he was about four years old, he could already identify each state by its shape.

One of his favorite games over the past year or so has been The Scrambled States of America. It features the states as colorful characters. Players try to win each state by being the first to give correct answers to various questions.

The game is based on a children’s book of the same title. We got the book for Kai for Valentine’s Day and he loved it. The story is about the fifty states lamenting that they are tired of being in the same place all the time, and deciding to mix things up so they could each see a different part of the country. The story is told an drawn in a very fun, creative way.

We found out that there is a sequel to the book called The Scrambled States of America Talent Show. As Kai really wanted it, we decided to use it as incentive.

We printed out a map of the United States and told him that he could color in one state each time he had a safe day at school, practiced piano nicely without complaining, or ran 13 laps (just over one mile) at the Rec Center. When he had all 50 states colored in, he would earn the book.

We have had the program in place for about a month, and for a long time, he wasn’t as motivated as we hoped he would be. But in the past week, as he saw how close he was to earning his prized book, he finally got excited about the possibility. He even volunteered to go running with me, and then did so nicely with no whining at all. It was a remarkable change from my previous attempts to get him to run.

The other day, when he practiced piano nicely, he got to color in his last state.

He had done it. He had earned his reward.

And as you can see, he was a very happy kid.


  1. I didn't realize they had a sequel, I'll have to look for that. My youngest son also loves that game.

    1. We really liked the game, and both books are such fun to read.

  2. That was a good idea. Earning the book - piece by piece. I can see the happiness in his big smile. :)

    1. We are always looking for ways to motivate him... if the reward is too far out in time, he doesn't have much interest. But, he really wanted this book, and the incentive got stronger as he got closer to earning it. He was smiling like that all day as he kept re-reading the book. :)


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