Memory Tricks for Learning the States and Capitals

Homeschool mom Catherine Lamb offers these fun and silly memory clues to help other mothers teach their children the states and capitals.

The Pacific States
Washington, Olympia (Washington sits with the Greek Gods in Olympus.)
Oregon, Salem (Ore e goin’ sailin’? Are you going sailing?)
California, Sacramento (Can I afford a sack of Mentos?) (*Mentos is a candy)
Alaska, Juneau (Do you know Alaska? say with an Hispanic accent)
Hawaii, Honolulu (easy to remember, no clue)

The Mountain States
Idaho, Boise (I have a hoe named Boise.)
Montana, Helena (Helena went to the mountains)
Wyoming, Cheyenne (Indians are in the Western state of Wyoming)
Nevada, Carson City (My car and son went to a city in Nevada)
Utah, Salt Lake City (easy, no hint)
Colorado, Denver (Color a do in the den.) (*do = a hair do)
Arizona, Phoenix (The giant phoenix bird flew out of the heat of Arizona’s deserts)
New Mexico, Santa Fe (Santa doesn’t go to New Mexico.)

North Central States
North Dakota, Bismarck (We go to North Dakota to eat Bismarcks) (*a donut with pudding in it)
South Dakota, Pierre (We go to South Dakota to smell fresh pea air.) (*one of the lame ones, any better suggestions?)
Minnesota, St. Paul (St Paul gave me a mini-soda)
Nebraska, Lincoln (Lincoln went to his knee‚ ask ya)
Iowa, Des Moines (I owe a day mowing)
Kansas, Topeka (To peek at a can of sauce.)
Missouri, Jefferson City (Jeffer’s son in the City misses Ori.)

South Central States
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City (easy)
Texas, Austin (Ah! is tin in Texas?)
Arkansas, Little Rock (I saw an ark and a saw on a little rock)
Louisiana, Baton Rouge (Louise and Ana took their batons and rouge to the Mardi Gras.)

Midwest States
Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, wish no sin!)
Michigan, Lansing (Miss yi gun? Lance him.) (* little violent I know —unfortunately my boy’s favorite clue!)
Illinois, Springfield (Simpsons live here) (*the cartoon Simpson’s)
Indiana, Indianapolis (Capital name almost same as State.)
Ohio, Columbus (OH! Hi O‚ Columbus) (*greeting Columbus)

Northeastern States
Maine, Augusta (A gust a wind blew through the horse’s mane)
New Hampshire, Concord (Cut on the cords of the new ham, sire.)
Vermont, Montpelier (Vermin on a mount of peels – also mont ends Vermont,
starts Montpelier) (*we picture a rat sitting on a pile of fruit/veggie peelings)
Massachusetts, Boston (My boss weighs a ton. That’s a lot of Mass—or—weighs a ton from from mashed potatoes)
Connecticut, Hartford (connect a cut in the heart)
Rhode Island, Providence (It was Providence that we found a road on the island.) (*Providence means divine care or guidance.)
New Jersey, Trenton (Trent has on a new jersey)
Delaware, Dover (Dangerous Dave dove her into the Delaware.)
Pennsylvania, Harrisburg (Mr. Harris Burg has pencil size veins.)
New York, Albany (New York has all the bunnies.)

Southeastern States
Kentucky, Frankfort (Frank’s in the Fort, but Kents not so lucky.)
West Virginia, Charleston (Rich men are in Virginia, but Charles has his own town in West Virginia) (*see clue for Virginia)
Maryland, Annapolis (Anna’s polo game is in the merry land.)
Virginia, Richmond (Virginia was the first colony so it has all the rich men.)
Tennessee, Nashville (Ten seas are in Nashville.)
North Carolina, Raleigh (Oh Raally [snobby accent], you are from North Carolina?)
South Carolina, Columbia (A Column a bees flies South to Carolina) (Also, Carolina and Columbia both have C,O,L,I,A)
Mississippi, Jackson (Jack’s son misses his missis.)
Alabama, Montgomery (I’ll bam Mont’s gum merry!) (*whatever that means! but the sillier, the better we like them, ha ha)
Georgia, Atlanta (My sailor Georgia is at land.)
Florida, Tallahassee (I sit on the floor in da tall house by the sea)



May I recommend:

A Moment for Memorization

Times Tables Fun

States & Capitals Songs CD


  1. Really cool!!!! I love them, perfect to learn my capitals. Can’t wait to share it with my class.

  2. awsome site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Cliff says:

    Pierre the frenchman loves to oui, oui in South Dakota! LoL!

  4. Kaleigh Guillory says:

    They r so easy to learn now! Thank u for sharing

    • Yoda says:

      They ARE so easy to learn now, thank YOU for sharing

  5. can u do alabama says:

    please do alabama love the webite

  6. Barabara says:

    Great site. Being from South Daokota though, sorry, its not pronounced Pee-air. It’s just like the word “pier or peer.” I say, the air is “peer” (pure) in South Dakota.

  7. banana03 says:

    Thanks my son loves these

  8. Jasmine says:

    Im sure I’ll learn my capitals.
    I can’t wait util I share this with my class and teacher!

    • Grace says:

      My kids love it =D !

  9. Kade says:

    This is a great study guide for my upcoming test… Thank You.

  10. Finity says:

    I have a test and this is so going to HELP!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  11. Finity says:

    Actually for Alaska she can put Alaska is attached to Canada WHO KNEW? who knew sounds like Juneau.

  12. Kimber says:

    thank you for this website I have a test and this will help so much!

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