Today the top geographically-inclined brains in the nation (51 state champions and a handful more from territories and DoD entities) will compete in Washington D.C. for the National Geographic Bee. This fun albeit delightfully nerdy contest is something that would have been right up my alley in my youth. In a completely coincidental but rather timely experiment a few nights ago, I sat down at my laptop, fired up Excel, and listed all of the STATES I could recall by memory — there are only 50, how hard could it be, right? Wrong. I missed three. Apparently, my brain had no room for Idaho, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Still, I considered this a pretty lame failure, from someone that should know at least the states of her native country. Time to stretch that gray matter a bit and teach my kids in the process.

National Geographic Bee

National Geographic Bee

©Rebecca Emily Drobis
2015 National Geographic Geography Bee

These kiddos lining up at the nation’s capitol would totally school me, now and in the past I’m sure. The National Geographic Bee started May 11th and runs through today, culminating in the King (or Queen) of the geographic mountain. You can take a quiz to test your knowledge for a little brain teaser. Here is a sample question (I got it right!):

More than one-third of Canada’s population lives in the only province that borders the Great Lakes. Name this province.


Not knowing the basics will not be the case with my children — not if I can help it! I may not know where Uzbekistan is at the present time without refering to the almighty Google, I no longer know all of the countries in Africa by memory. Not by a longshot. Probably not even all of the countries in North America…that might be an exaggeration! BUT, the next time it’s rainy when we’re out camping, instead of playing Go Fish for the 15th time, if we are not donning our rain gear to go play, we’ll be in the tent, making geography fun. Even at four years old, my son can recognize and remember shapes. We’ll slowly start learning the U.S. and then move on to other things. Great rainy day activity! And, just maybe, he’ll be at that podium someday, among the ranks of the best and brightest as chosen and moderated by National Geographic at the nation’s capitol!

The final round will be televised May 15th and May 20th. Tune in to Nat Geo WILD to be amazed by these young sponges!

Test yourself by trying to list the states! Then, if you’re pretty solid there, move on to capitol cities! Try an entire continent! Go for the geographic gold to test your brain!