Showing posts with label countries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label countries. Show all posts

Ways to Use a World Atlas in Different Lessons

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

How do you use a world atlas? Do you use it when you are teaching/learning geography? Are there other ways to use it? Today I am sharing with you the 6th Edition of National Geographic Kids World Atlas. And I am going to share ideas of different ways to use it in different types of lessons. They are not all social studies either! The World Atlas is recommended for ages 10 and older. 

Products to Discover the World

Disclosure: I was sent copies of these products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

How do you discover the world? How do you teach your children about the world and its places without leaving home? Today I am going to share some great resources to do just that. These books and kits help learn about the globe, countries, cities as well as discover parts of the world like the ocean and more. They are for mixed levels of kids and will add some fun to your home or class. The first is Discovery Globe: Build Your Own Globe Kit by Leon Gray and illustrated by Sarah Edmunds. 

Home and Maps Activity Book Reviews for Multicultural Monday

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me copies of these books free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

For Multicultural Monday I am sharing two fun books that you may not realize right away they are multicultural. The first is an activity book to accompany the book called Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski. The book we are reviewing is Maps Activity Book also by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski.

Discovering Sushi -- Global Learning for Kids: Japan

Disclosure: I was sent this playset to review free of charge from Melissa & Doug. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them. They also sent one to me for the Asian Pacific American Blog Series and Giveaway!!
On Monday I shared that I am teaming up with Multicultural Kid Blogs to begin a new series called Global Learning for Kids. This month our focus is Japan. You can find my introduction to Japan on Multicultural Kid Blogs as well as the amazing Asian Pacific American Heritage Giveaway!! Our focus this week has been on sushi. Now I have only had sushi a couple of times in my life and as a non-fish eater, it has only been vegetarian. However we got this great Wooden Sushi Slicing Playset from Melissa & Doug, so I thought I should teach Hazel a bit about it. 

Our Virtual Flat Stanley is in Kenya!

Have you entered my current giveaway yet?

This month we are "traveling" with Around the World in 12 Dishes to Kenya and it seems only appropriate that is where our Flat Stanley is as well this month! This month's Flat Stanley comes from the children of Andrea at Ziezo - Crafting and Living in Kenya. Now in the past we have posted about Kenya. Our first was when Hazel did a post card exchange with Andrea's children. We also posted about Christmas in Kenya for the Christmas Around the World Blog Hop. Then we posted about a wonderful book, A Kenyan Christmas by Aunty Kiko which Andrea was kind enough to send me for my research on Christmas in Kenya. Since we have done a bit about Kenya itself and will do more next Tuesday for our Around the World in 12 Dishes post, I thought we would focus on the Maasai people there.

The Maasai (sometimes spelled Masai or Masaai) are an ethnic group of people in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. They are a well known group due to their location near many game parks in Eastern Africa and for their distinctive customs and dress. They are well known for their jewelry.
Although the governments of Kenya and Tanzania have programs to encourage the Maasai to give up their semi-nomadic way of life, they continue their old customs. The speak Maa, but are also educated in English and Swahili (the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania). 

The Maasai are a patriarchal group with the elder males sometimes making decisions for the entire Maasai group. They have a full body of oral law and most disputes are settled with a payment of cattle.  Many Maasai have become Christian and a lesser number Muslim. Their wealth is seen as the number of cattle and children. Their lives center around cattle since it is their main food source. Due to high infant death rates, children are not truly recognized until they are three moons. End of life is non-ceremonial with the Maasai. Bodies are left out for the scavengers. (Source)
Bridal Set of Necklaces (Source)

The Maasai live in a Kraal, which is a hut village or typically a group of huts surrounded by a stockade. (Source) The Maasai's is arranged in a circular fashion and the fence is made out of acacia thorns which keep the lions from attacking the cattle. It is the men's responsibility to build the fence and the women's to build the hut. Traditionally extended family share a Kraal, but with new land management system it is unusual to see a single family in a Kraal. The Inkajijik is the Maasai word for house. They are loaf shaped and made out of mud, sticks, cow dung, cow urine and grass. Women build the house as well as supply the water, collect firewood, milk the cattle, and cook for the family. Warriors are in charge of security while boys are in charge of the livestock care. With the arrival of formal schooling, the livestock care has become a parental responsibility while the boys are in school

Livestock is important to the economy of the Maasai. It is their primary source of income. The livestock they have are cattle, sheep and goats. A Maasai prayer is "May Creator give us cattle and children," or "Meishoo iyiook enkai inkishu o-nkera". 

The Maasai diet traditionally consists of meat, milk, and blood from the cattle. People drink blood on special occasions such as a circumcised person, a woman who gave birth or the sick and it is also used for intoxicated or hungover people. More recently the Maasai have become dependent on food produced other places like maize, rice, potatoes and cabbage. Some Maasai who live near crop farmers are forced to farm and use their own products as their main source of food. This is traditionally frowned upon by the Maasai since it is believed that tiling the ground is a crime against nature. (Source)

The Maasai hunt lions. It is a sign of bravery to hunt a lion in the Maasai culture. Due to a decrease in the number of lions though, they now have group lion hunts instead of solo ones. They are hoping to give the lions a chance to increase their numbers again. Since the Maasai believe females are the giver of life in any species they do not hunt the female lions. They also have laws against hunting lions hurt by drought, snared or poisoned.  From the lion they take the mane, tail and claws. The women take the mane and beautifully bead it and give it back to the warrior. When the warrior becomes a junior elder he must through away the lion mane, however first he treat it with respect by sacrificing a sheep and rubbing the mane with a mixture of sheep oil and ochre. (Source)
Warrior Shield for Lion Hunting (Source)

With that we will stop looking at the Maasai. Now you will have to wait until next month to see where Flat Stanley shows up. And if you are interested in hosting Flat Stanley where you live, please check out the information here.

Flat Stanley/Sophia So Far (top 3 are Hazel's)


Passport for our Virtual Exploring

The other day I was exploring on line and discovered a neat site, Making Friends. What caught my eye was their Thinking Day Passports. Making Friends sells the passports, but offers free printables of country fact pages.  I thought about how neat it would be to make Hazel a passport for all the places we have explored with Around the World in 12 Dishes, Fairy Tales in Different Cultures, and just some of our Multicultural Monday posts. I did not want to spend money on this or at least not much. I also wanted to make a passport for Flat Stanley, so we could keep track of where he goes. 

I designed a cover for them. If you would like one without a name, it is available here.I found some spiral notebooks at AC Moore on sale for 75 cents each and bought two (well four, but two are for Hazel and her friend). Then I printed out the countries that Making Friends had including the United States since that is where both started out. I made an inside cover sheet with their name, picture and such and also made fact cards for Finland and The Netherlands since Making Friends did not have them yet. A blank version of the inside cover and the pages for Finland and The Netherlands are available here. I used Wikipedia and Eupedia as sources for these (and copied much of it from them).
I took pictures of the cover, the traveler information and one country for each passport. I let Hazel glue the pages in so some of them are not very straight. Then I added pictures for each country of the things we have done with them in hers and of Flat Stanley from the country.

I think they will be a great place for Hazel to learn even more about each country and to remember what we did when exploring each one. What do you think?

Also provided by Glittering Muffins for Around the World in 12 Dishes here is a passport page for Spain this link  and for a fun Spain-themed placemat, this link. Here is the Finland passport and the Finland-themed placemat.
The France coloring placemat right here and the passport right here. The Ireland coloring placemat right here and the passport right here (the cover for the passport is right here for you!).

Exploring Spain 2 with Food, Crafts, Music and Dance

Last week I shared our first post about exploring Spain with food, craft and stories. Today we decided to explore it a bit more with some music, gazpacho and flamenco dancing and a flamenco dancer craft. 

We started by making some gazpacho. We combined the three recipes found in the same three cookbooks we used last time. Hazel enjoyed peeling and chopping the cucumber. We also pulled out the garlic press and the food processor, so she enjoyed it. She said the soup itself was all right, but really did not eat much. (The true test to whether she likes something is how much she eats. She always says things are good.) I on the other hand had two bowls of it for lunch.
Gazpacho Recipe:
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped
5 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
4 cups cubed bread with crusts removed first
4 cups cold water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
juice of a lime

Put all ingredients in food processor and puree. Chill for a few hours and serve cold.

After making the soup, we read a bit more about Spain in the Fiesta Series Spain book. I wanted to read more so we could try the flamenco dance. Hazel loved doing this. We pulled out the fan we made last week as well as the one we bought in Epcot and her to castanets. Then we danced around the house to a CD of Flamenco Music from Spain that we got out of the library.
Hazel really wanted to do a craft today as well, so we made a flamenco dancer clothespin doll. I found the instructions at Making Friends. Hazel really enjoyed wrapping the string for the dress. While making this craft, we continued to listen to the Flamenco CD. Then t we listened to a playlist of songs from Spain from these CD's.

Overall we had fun learning a bit about Spain! Next month we will be "traveling" to Kenya. I hope you will join us! Plus next week I'll have a fun craft I found to keep track of all of these adventures.

Also for your own passport check out this link from Glittering Muffins and for a fun placemat, this link.

You also can check out these amazing posts or add your own Spanish adventure here. 

A Spanish Day--Around the World in 12 Dishes

Today we had our adventure in discovering Spain. We read stories, made a craft and cooked a flan. But first a bit about Spain. Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula. It is the third largest country in Europe and its southern tip is eight miles north of Africa. Spain has a long and varied history. It was under Roman and Moor rules before becoming independent. It is now a democratic government under a constitutional monarchy. The Moors reign ended in 1492, the same year that Christopher Columbus "discovered" America for the Spanish monarchy. Each ruling culture left its mark on Spain. You can still find Roman aquaducts, the Moors Mosques as well as the Gothic Cathedrals built when the Christians took over the country.
File:Flag of Spain.svg
There are many traditions that Spain is well known for. One being bull fighting and the another the siesta. Meals in Spain differ from meals in the United States. Breakfasts are usually small--a roll and a coffee. Lunch is the big meal of the day. Traditionally the stores, factories, schools, and businesses would close for two to three hours for all the people to return home for lunch and a nap known as the siesta. Although this is not as widely practiced now, it is still in some places. Dinner is much later around 10 or 10:30 and is usually very small. A paseo or evening walk is another custom. Many people in Spain will go for a walk after the stores are closed. They walk in their nicest clothes and may stop to chat with friends or perhaps to get a drink at a cafe or bar. Then they may have their late dinner out or at home. Many Spaniards eat out often and there are many choices of good restaurants. 

So for our day in Spain we took four resource books out of the library.
To make our flan we used the recipe in Cooking The Spanish Way by Rebecca Christian. Now the flan I have eaten has been Brazilian and I loved it. However this recipe was not a success for us. None of us enjoyed it. Hazel and I did enjoy making it though. It involved a lot of stirring of which Hazel did most.
Flan just out of oven
Flan with Sauce

Stirring the sauce

While the flan was in the oven, Hazel and I made a black lace fan. We got the instructions from the Fiesta! Series book Spain published by Grolier Educational. Making the fan was a lot of fun and rather simple. We did not make it as fancy as the one in the book since we used supplies on hand. I found some black lace leftover from a Halloween costume. However making the fan also required using a compass. This was Hazel's first time using a compass or even seeing one and there were a lot of math lessons that could be tied into it with older children.
We also skipped the step of painting the cardboard just because we were running short on time. Our plan is to try some of the Spanish dances using the fan (and the one I bought for her in Epcot). We'll see if we find time soon.

We also took time today to read through Food in Spain by Nancy Loewen. Much of the information I wrote about Spain came from this book and the rest came from Wikipedia.

We also have been enjoying some stories from Spain. We took all of these out of the library. I would like to comment on Princess Florecita and the Iron Shoes by John Warren Stewig. This is a wonderful story where the princess hears about a prince in needing saving and she goes through a great deal to find him and save him. It is a nice twist on common tales of the prince saving the maiden. Medio Pollito means half chicken and that is who the main character is. A chicken who was born with only half a body (one leg, one wing, etc.) and it is his adventure traveling and how he helps others and then they repay him when he finds himself in hot water (literally being made into soup). 

So that was our adventure in Spain thus far (we may try another recipe soon). I have to admit I was sad to see that Epcot did not have Spain as one of its countries in its World Showcase. I saw recently that they will be adding it, but unfortunately for us it will be too late to have been included in this month's adventures. We did however enjoy seeing France which was our adventure in April. Unfortunately the only pictures I took in France were of the kids with Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). We also spent some time in the Canada exhibit, but it was mostly a movie so I don't have pictures really from there either. Oh, well. I am sure I will find some good resources when we get there.

Also for your own passport check out this link from Glittering Muffins and for a fun placemat, this link.

Virtual Flat Stanley Travels to...

This month our Virtual Flat Stanley made his way from the Netherlands back over the Atlantic Ocean to Canada--Quebec, Canada to be a bit more specific. Our Flat Stanley this month comes from D in Quebec Canada. D's mom blogs over at The Usual Mayhem. If you have not checked out The Usual Mayhem, you really should. She always is sharing such wonderful ideas. She also co-hosts The Outdoor Play Party. It is always full of great ideas to do with your kids outside!
For those who are unfamiliar with our Virtual Flat Stanley Series, at the end of April, my aunt asked me to help out with her step-granddaughter's school project. The Flat Stanley they sent overseas was never returned, so she needed one to turn in quickly. I had the idea (since one from the same state did not seem all that exciting) to ask some of my fellow bloggers from around the world. Then as I started receiving pictures and short descriptions from various places I thought it would be a neat way to explore other cultures and places and for my readers (even those without a blog) to join in the fun. So if you want to participate (and I hope you do) you can visit this post for all the details and the template. Then you just need a child or children to decorate your Flat Stanley (or Flat Sophia) in a way that someone might dress in your area of the world. Take a picture of your Flat Stanley with your child (if you are willing to have me post a picture of your child on Crafty Moms Share) or just a picture of Flat Stanley. You can also take your Flat Stanley sight seeing and take pictures to make it even more interesting. Email me the pictures and a short description of where you live and I do the rest. We have made three Flat Sophias at my house already. We had to duplicate the first one which I mailed to my aunt and Hazel has enjoyed making them so much she wanted to keep doing it.
Vertical triband (red, white, red) with a red maple leaf in the centre

First a bit about the country of Canada. Canada is in North America and consists of ten provinces and three territories. It is the second largest country by land mass in the world and shares the longest land border shared by two countries with the United States. 
Projection of North America with Canada in green

 Canada is a federal state governed by a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. Since it had both French and English settlers as well as various aboriginals it is diverse and is official a bilingual country as well as a multicultural one. (Source)

A clickable map of Canada exhibiting its ten provinces and three territories, and their capitals.

Now for a bit about Quebec. Quebec is Canada's largest province by area. It is the second most populous province behind Ontario. The majority of the people live between Montreal and Quebec City (the capital).  Quebec is located in the Eastern part of Canada and its land is nearly three times the size of France or Texas. Most of its land is very sparsely populated. Quebec is the only province in Canada that is mainly Francophone. The official language in Quebec is French and according to a 2006 Census 97.4% of the citizens of Quebec are fluent in French.


The name Quebec comes from an aboriginal word which means the river narrows. It refers to the area near Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows. French Explorer Samuel de Champlain named the colonial outpost Quebec in 1608. 

Quebec has one of the world's largest reserves of  fresh water. Quebec has four climate zones. Much of it is subarctic, however there also arctic, humid continental and East maritime. In summer the average temperatures range from 41 °F to 77 °F and in the winter from −13 °F to 14 °F.  
The average amount ofsnow in Quebec City is around three meters. (Source)

In Canada they serve homemade cake with a wrapped coin between the layers
at birthday parties. The cake is decorated with colored sugar sprinkles. The 
child who gets the coin in his or her cake will be the first child playing each 
game. At the parties children receive colorful party favors called crackers. 
These are tubes wrapped in crepe paper. They pop when you pull a paper 
strip. Inside there is a small gift--a fortune or hat. (Source) In Quebec, the 
birthday person receives a punch for each year plus one for good luck.(Source)
In Quebec an alternate text of the song Gens du pays, by Gilles Vigneault is sung at the birthday party. (Source)
Flat Stanley's Travels So Far
 The Different Flat Stanleys/Sophias Thus Far

Hazel's first

Hazel's Second

Hazel's Third

The Netherlands

A Day in Finland--Around the World in 12 Dishes

This month Around the World in 12 Dishes takes us to Finland. We had big plans to try lots of different recipes for this month, but our plans didn't work out completely. We did however enjoy making a wonderful Finnish breakfast called pannukakku. Our recipe came from the wonderful book, Easy Breakfasts from Around the World by Sheila Griffin Llanas. What I like most about the book is that it gives a little information about the country the recipe comes from as well as a bit about the recipe.

From this book we learned that Lapland, Finland's northern province is above the Arctic Circle, so in the summer the sun never sets and in the winter it never rises. Some Laplanders herd reindeer. We also learned that the capital city, Helinski is in southern Finland, but is the most northern capital city in Europe.

Pannukakku is described by the book as a baked pancake. It puffs up in the oven and sinks as it cools. It is often served with fresh fruit, whipped cream and powdered sugar. We ate it with fresh fruit since that is what we had at home. Steve described it tasting like a custard pie.
Pannukakku is an easy recipe using butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, flour and milk. I was tempted to add some cinnamon because we add it to everything, but wanted to stay traditional to the Finnish recipe, so we did not. It did not need it. We all loved it.

Next we did some coloring pages. We did the map, the flag and discovered lily of the valley is the national flower of Finland. It is one of our springtime favorites and is in bloom in our yard now.

Next we read some Finnish stories. In the Stories from the Sea, we read the Finnish story on why the sea is salty. Another legend/myth type story is When Bear Came Down from the Sky. The Princess Mouse is very much a fairy tale with similar story to the frog princess. Mika's Apple Tree is a wonderful story about a stubborn boy who works hard to grow an apple tree near his house even though his house is on a rocky point. This story involves sharing quite a bit about the country since his two uncles come to visit when his father is home and all three men have different jobs in different parts of the country.
We continued our look at Finland by listening to Lapin ai din kehtolaulu by Hannele Wida. It is the third song on the CD Lullabies for Kids from Around the World. We also read about birthdays in Finland. Birthdays Around the World by Mary D. Lankford, told us that Finland is smaller than the state of Montana. It has sixty thousand lakes and sixty-five islands. Plus forests cover almost three-fourths of the low flat lands and rolling hills. Daylight in the summer may last nineteen hours and when it does set it barely dips below the horizon.

In Finland a child's birthday celebration is important to the entire family. Birthday parties are usually held on Saturday or Sunday so everyone can attend. The Finnish tradition is to open gifts as soon as they are received. Finnish children sing "Happy Birthday to You" when they arrive at the door. A traditional Finnish birthday cake is three layers and is filled with fruit and whipped cream. The candles on the top are almost hidden by the whipped cream, candies, kiwis or strawberries. It is usually served after a celebration lunch. A popular Finnish birthday game is Onginta, which means Angling or Fishing. Each child takes a turn standing at a cloth held up by two adults. The child drops a rod attached to a line and hook over the cloth. An adult attaches a small basket on the hook and the child reels in the prize.

Our final exploration of Finland came from the book Going to School Around the World by Melissa Koosmann. In the third chapter, a boy named Matti arrives just in time for school in Finland. The chapter describes the day in Matti's life. Matti is in the third grade. School is free in Finland and all of the children receive a free hot lunch as well. During his school day there was science, math, Finnish language and literature, English language, physical education, music, arts and crafts and religion (the religion of his parents' choice). He had two recesses before lunch, but during the shorter fifteen minute one it was his turn to clean the classroom. For the arts and crafts they made coffee filter snowflakes and the desks were covered with food coloring so it took the full fifteen minutes to do the cleaning. The students address the teacher by his/her title, "teacher" in the morning greeting and when they are in trouble. All the other times they call their teachers by their first names. In the winter months they hold a mock Olympic Games with skiing. Matti's favorite winter sport is ice hockey though. After school Matti jogged home to stay in shape for hockey. He tried to play some computer games, but his father told him to do his homework. Since he did not have much homework, he was able to play computer games after finishing it and then he joined his father for dinner.

Matti looks forward to learning Sweden and another language in high school as well as learning more about computers. In third grade only the teacher has a computer in the classroom.  The book also gave the instructions to make the coffee filter snowflakes, so we did. Hazel decided her last one looked like the sun so we used red and yellow food coloring to color it instead of the blue.

That is how we explored Finland. Next month it will be Spain. Will you join us on that trip?

Here is the Finland passport and the Finland-themed placemat

Be sure to check out these great Finnish explorations and add your own here.