03 October, 2010

Western Europe fun and frivolity

Welcome to the blog hop!

My continent boxes

I am writing about my continent swap work first, as my official kick off event!  And so . . . where should I start?

I should probably start by telling you my family and I had the great opportunity to spend a semester in England, in the Spring of 2008.  It was an amazing experience for all of us!  And although we lived in a home with many other Americans, our children attended the local school, and I did feel like we got a bit of insight into the British culture.  Here is the "house" where we stayed!

That semester made my choice of continents for this swap especially easy! Western Europe is a place full of lovely locations, interesting history, kind people, and of course plenty of tea!  
When I started brainstorming about ideas for my continent box, I knew I wanted hands-on activities for my preschoolers, but some of the other swappers had older students.  I therefore tried to create hands-on activities with room for plenty of extension work.

My first creation was an activity for England, a miniature Stonehenge with a diagram.  You can read all about that here.

 I also created an activity for The Netherlands, recreating Vincent van Gogh's bedroom.  Here is the full description of that.  This is a fun activity, if I do say so myself!

Mind the Gap!

I also wanted to do some work with the London Underground map.  Especially for young children, this maze of colors and shapes seemed like it would be a perfect way to marry art, math, and London!  I started with the idea of recreating the map with many different colors of yarn.  The idea was that the children would dip pieces of yarn into glue and then lay them on top of a laminated copy of the map. When the glue was dry, the children could pull their own Tube map off of the paper and voila!  I still think that's a good idea, and now that I write it down, I realize I may have to add that to my Europe box, after all.  However, that isn't the activity I put in the swap.  For that I found, drum roll please . . . animalsontheunderground.com.  This is a fantastic site!  It shows drawings of animals which can be "spied" on the map of the London Underground!  A children's book illustrator named Paul Middlewick, while on his way home from work in 1988, first "discovered" an elephant on the map.  He went on to find more than 30 more animals!  I have a laminated copy of the Underground map and some animal cards (which the website says anyone may download and set as a desktop image, so I hope it's okay that I printed some of them.)  The children can look at the map and the cards, and with a dry erase marker, try to find the individual animals.  Animals on the Underground also has a new book called Lost Property.  It is sold out at the moment, but I am looking forward to being able to purchase a copy.  In the meantime, please check out their website.  It is full of news, fun activities for children, and even a movie about the animals!

I also made a Leonardo da Vinci "I Spy" game for Italy.  You can solve the mystery once you find the clues here.

I have so many other cool ideas, links, and brochures!  I could go on and on.  Luckily for you, I will restrain myself.  Here are just a few other fun and interesting items in my box:

I really could go on and on, but then I would never get on to the other continent boxes.  I hope this information is helpful when you make your own Western Europe boxes!  

Slainte!  (That's Irish for "Cheers!")

1 comment:

  1. Karen, thanks so much for the awesome swap stuff you sent us. My boys especially love, love, love the Stone Henge play set and the Van Gogh bedroom.
    So cool!
    I did a shout out to you and your lovely blog on my blog hop post today about all of the neat books you scored for your fellow swapmates.
    Thanks for those, too...
    Will definitely sing your praises when we get to doing the bloggy hop part about Europe. Have a happy Monday!


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