Located in the midwestern United States, this state joined the Union on December 3, 1818, as the 21st state. It is the 25th largest and the 5th most populous. The largest city is Chicago, but the capital is Springfield. Because Abraham Lincoln called this city his home, it became the capital in 1837. Lincoln was one of many famous Illinoisans. Some people born in this state include: Walt Disney, Wyatt Earp, Harrison Ford, Benny Goodman, Dorothy Hamill, Herbie Hancock, Ernest Hemingway, Wild Bill Hickok, Ronald Reagan, A.G. Spalding, and Robin Williams, to name a few. There have been many politicians and activists who were born in Illinois as well.
The world Illinois comes from "Illini," which was a confederation of six Indian tribes living in the area. The nickname is the Prairie State, and the state motto is "State Sovereignty, National Union." This motto is seen on the state flag which was designed by Lucy Derwent in 1913. She won a design contest. It was redesigned in 1970 and contains the state seal which was created in 1868.
Illinois' industries are mainly agriculture, producing corn and soybeans primarily; hogs and cattle; manufacturing of machinery and processed foods; and coal mining.
The first skyscraper in the world was built in Chicago in 1885. It was called the Home Insurance Building and was just 10 stories tall. Elisha Otis, an American inventor, helped to quell the fears of the public regarding the elevator. Fourteen years earlier, Chicago had been all but burned to the ground. As the story goes, sometime in the evening on October 8, 1871, Mrs. O'Leary's cow knocked over a lantern and began the Great Chicago Fire. Read about it here.
Illinois' state bird is the Cardinal, and the state mammal is the white-tailed deer. The insect is the Monarch butterfly. (What other states that we have studied have the Monarch butterfly as their state insect?) The Illinois Native Violet is the state flower, and the White oak is the state tree.
Illinois has a number of very interesting places to visit. The Navy Pier in Chicago, along Lake Michigan, is 50 acres of entertainment, shopping, dining, etc. While in Chicago, travel to the top of Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. It stands 110 stories tall and is the tallest building in the U.S. Read some facts about this skyscraper here. Sports enthusiasts will want to visit Wrigley Field, which has been in operation for 99 years. Learn about Cahokia Mounds, the site of an ancient civilization, near Collinsville, Illinois. While in Springfield, visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to learn more about our 16th President. In Volo, there is an auto museum which houses movie cars, celebrities' cars, and antique cars, as well as cars that are for sale. There are also five antique malls on the site.
Visit Robie House in Chicago, a dwelling designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright's Home and Studio is located in Oak Park, Illinois. The Hull House offers a trip to the past. The John Deere Historic Site is located in Grand Detour. See a list of historic house museums in Illinois.
Here are some games for learning about Illinois.
The following selections come from Christianbook.com.
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|Illinois My First Book, Grades K-5
By Gallopade International
An "early bird" intro to basic state facts. Covers state basics such as state nickname, seal, song, bird, motto, flag, regions, industries, neighbors, and weather, plus an intro to state history, people and more. Includes: drawing, mazes, matching, coloring, and more! Reproducible. Available for all 50 states. Grades K-5; ages 5-10.
|State Shapes: Illinois
By Workman Publishing
These colorful, fact-filled books are irresistible! Die-cut in the shape of the state, each one takes readers on a fascinating journey to visit intriguing places, meet famous and historic figures, learn about animals and wildlife, and experience the culture that makes each state unique. Packed with fun facts, exciting history and fascinating folklore, State Shapes are illustrated with a warmth, humor, and flare that will appeal to kids and parents alike. Hardcover, 47 pages.
|Illinois Classic Christmas Trivia
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International
State-specific Classic Christmas Trivia makes a great coffee table book, classroom read, or display for your business. This book --- in an edition for each U.S. state---shares a wealth of fascinating historical material and trivia about everything from holiday traditions to how we got the Christmas tree, recipes, and much more.
|Lincoln: A Photobiography
By Russell Freedman / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Winner of the 1988 Newbery Medal, this eloquent work brings vitality to the story of Abraham Lincoln's life. Filled with photographs of Lincoln, his family, home, and children, they perfectly complement the engaging and easy to understand text. Covering his humble beginnings in Kentucky and Illinois to his final night at Ford's Theatre, children and adults will appreciate this photographic portrait of Lincoln's life and accomplishments. 150 pages with index; softcover.
|Heroes of History: Abraham Lincoln, A New Birth of Freedom
By Janet & Geoff Benge / Emerald Books
The Heroes of History series chronicles the true stories of fascinating men and women who changed the course of history. Abraham Lincoln had never set his sights on becoming president; after all, he'd grown up in a log cabin on the frontier and had hardly any formal schooling. But as the question of slavery threatened to destroy the United States, this self-taught lawyer with a sharp mind and passion for justice found himself at the center of the greatest debate the nation had ever faced.
For ages 10 and up.
|Who Was Abraham Lincoln?
By Janet Pascal / Grosset & Dunlap
Who was Abraham Lincoln? How did he guide the nation through the Civil War and the abolition of slavery? Learn about his life as the sixteenth president of the United States up until the time of his tragic assassination. Over 100 black-and-white illustrations and maps are included. Ages 9-11. 112 pages, softcover.
|Ronald Regan Our 40th President
By Winston Groom / Regnery Publishing
Learn about Ronald Reagan, from his birth in 1911 in Tampico, Illinois, through his presidency, up until his death in 2005. You will learn fun facts about his college years, his time as a soldier, and even his stint as a Hollywood movie actor, and so much more. Includes full-color photographs from throughout Reagan's life. Written for young adults, now the next generation can learn more of one of America's greatest presidents.
By Michael Burgan / DK Publishing Inc.
Learn all about the beloved conservative president, Ronald Reagan. From his early days in Illinois, to his movie star days, up until his last days, this book covers it all, giving fun facts about Reagan and sharing pictures of him throughout his life. An excellent look into life and presidency of Ronald Reagan. 128 pages, softcover.
|Journey Around Chicago from A to Z
By Martha Day Zschock / Applewood Books
|Great Chicago Fire of 1871, The
By Coughlan Publishing
|Skyscrapers! Super Structures to Design & Build
By Carol A Johmann / Ideals Publications Inc
Ready to reach for the sky? Be a Kaleidoscope Kid and take the Kaleidoscope Scraper Challenge! Fill a gaping hole in the ground (so huge it takes up a whole city block!) with a tall, efficient, awesome building that you design and build - one that will truly scrape the sky! The sky's the limit when you take the Kaleidoscope Kids Challenge! Plan a model city! Make decisions and solve problems. Design your own skyscraper- Build your own skyscraper! Ages 8-14.
|Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi
By Timothy R. Pauketat / Penguin Putnam Inc.
Almost a thousand years ago, a Native American city flourished along the Mississippi River near what is now St. Louis. A thriving metropolis at its height with a population of twenty thousand, a sprawling central plaza, and scores of spectacular earthen mounds, Cahokia gave rise to a new culture that spread across the plains; yet by 1400 it had been abandoned.
In Cahokia, anthropologist Timothy R. Pauketat reveals the story of the city and its people as uncovered by the excavations of American corn-belt archaeologists. These digs have revealed evidence of a powerful society, including complex celestial timepieces, the remains of feasts big enough to feed thousands, and disturbing signs of large-scale human sacrifice. Drawing on these pioneering digs and a wealth of analysis by historians and archaeologists, Pauketat provides a comprehensive picture of what's been discovered about Cahokia and how these findings have challenged our perceptions of Native Americans. A lively read and a compelling narrative of prehistoric America.
|Famous Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright Coloring Book
By Bruce LaFontaine / Dover Publications
Enrich your child's imagination and creativity with these 44 line drawings on some of the finest architectural achievements of the 20th century in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Each page is suitable for coloring and includes information about each structure.