Pic has had this puzzle forever, hence the two missing states. (Sorry West Virginia and Wisconsin) I'm sure they're here somewhere.
Pic has recently taken to doing this puzzle off of the board. The board still shows the state outlines in case she can't tell where the states go, but she hasn't needed to rely on this. Also, she understands that Hawaii and Alaska aren't really down to the southwest of the contiguous states. I know that her representation isn't exactly to scale, but she understands the concept.
We did another puzzle almost exactly like this at the Discovery Room today. We really are puzzle-people.
And, hey, eventually, Pic might be able to win Chandler's states game. (Seriously, did none of them learn that "Fifty! Nifty! United States! song? It's been with me since fifth grade. I would so win this game...as would so many other people I know.)
(And, yes, our rug did need to be vacuumed there. It has since been vacuumed and it has even more recently been made a mess again.)