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learning through the usa michigan

I’m so excited to share some Michigan flavored fun as part of Adena’s linky — Learning Through the USA. While I’m not a fan of the weather, I love all Michigan has to offer. I’ve lived on Lake Huron or Lake Michigan my whole life and have traveled much of the rest of it. Without further ado, here are some ways to experience Michigan without actually going there through books, art, food and printable worksheets.

Michigan Books

I think we were supposed to share A book, but if you’ve ever been to Happy Little Homemaker before, you know that I just can’t do that. If one is good, 5 is better!

But, if you can only do one, M is for Mitten: A Michigan Alphabet is an awesome book of everything Michigan. There is a short rhyming couplet on each page and on the (super wide) margins, there is a paragraph or two about the topic. The illustrations are beautiful and if you’ve never seen one of these books, they are fabulous. I would use these book for the study of EVERY state. Each state has a counting book, too.

If you are reading this via feed reader, click through to the post to see my Amazon widget with my very favorite Michigan books.

mixed media lighthouse art michigan state study

Michigan Lighthouse Art Project

Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state in the union. On Michigan’s 3,126 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, there are 150 lighthouses. That’s an average of one lighthouse every 20 miles! Obviously, that’s not how they are placed, but that’s a LOT of lighthouses.

Instead of making a physical lighthouse like many craft projects, I decided to have my daughter make a piece of mixed media art that could be easily stored, hung on a wall or given as a gift.  If you plan on giving as a gift, use GOOD art supplies instead of cardboard and washable paint.   Canvas board & acrylic or oil paints would work well


– an 8×10 piece of firm white cardboard or flat canvas (dark cardboard will require another coat of paint–see above :D)
– paintbrushes & paints in the following colors black, white, yellow, blue, purple, and whatever colors you decide to paint your lighthouse (red, white, and black are common)
– gold glitter
– white glue
– buttons in the same color as you lighthouse
– glue gun or other strong glue for buttons

lighthouse drawing


  • Draw a simple lighthouse picture as shown. I am not an artist. You can do this!
  • Paint the light streams & the lighthouse.
  • Then paint the rocks, sky & lake.
  • Set aside to dry.
  • When the paint has dried, water down a bit of white glue in a cup & paint on the yellow. Sprinkle with gold glitter. Tap off the excess.
  • Finally, start placing your colored buttons on the lighthouse. Once you like how the are arranged, glue them down.

Let dry & hang, file, or give as a Christmas gift to your friendly lighthouse fanatic :).

Michigan Recipes

It’s pretty simple to get a taste of Michigan. We are the largest grower of cherries and the 3rd largest grower of apples in the nation. Since this is November, I’m going to share my homemade chunky applesauce recipe. You can find apples anywhere in the country and its really easy to make! I don’t know if this is the method my grandma used, but it tastes JUST like it. So there you go.

grandmas best chunky applesauce

Grandma’s Best Chunky Applesauce


– 20 cups chopped, peeled apples
– 1/4 c water
– sugar to taste (1 c or less)


Cook several hours on medium low, covered, until apples are mostly cooked down and desired texture is reached. 2-4 hours depending on how large the apples were cut.

Makes 3-4 quarts.

Freezes fabulously!

And if apples aren’t really your thing, Kirsten over at Comfortably Domestic has two awesome Michigan recipes that I had to share. Because I’m not a food blogger :). The first is her No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake (Christmas is coming! Hint, hint).

no bake cherry cheesecake comfortably domestic

Doesn’t that look yummy? Also a quintessential Michigan favorite is Pasties. Mmmmm….pasties.

lower peninsula pasty comfortably domestic

Great for lunch. Or dinner. Or a snack, if you have growing boys. Feel free to poke around. And from experience, her cinnamon rolls are awesome.  If you need a good recipe for some, try hers!   Knowing a local food blogger has its benefits :).



Michigan Printables

Finally, we were supposed to share a printable, but to be honest, I ran out of time to make anything good :). And my printables are pretty marginal anyway. Instead, here are 3 of the BEST sets of Michigan printables I found on the web.

1. State Study of the Week – Michigan @ Enchanted Homeschooling Mom (Free!)
3. 11 Free Michigan State Coloring Pages @ About.Com (Free!)
4. Michigan State Printables @ 123Homeschool4Me (Free!)

So there you have a quick Michigan state study in a nutshell–some awesome books, yummy food, a fun piece of art and a few printables. If you are looking to go more in depth, I shared a (LONG) post at A Glimpse of Our Life about the many topics you can study about Michigan such as Bridges & Physics, Ghost Towns & Copper Mines and The Great Lakes, Lights & Shipwrecks, among others.

Have you studied Michigan before? Do you have any great ideas to add?

Jen S.

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