Help Your Child Learn About The World
I love travelling and learning about new places and cultures, and I hope that will rub off on Ebi-kun too. We often do country focused projects and I though it might help other if you can see how I break down the planning.
It doesn’t really take that long especially when you weigh up the benefits! I also make good use of pinterest and add things to my boards when I see them, easy to find when I need to come back to it. If you are not following me, my pinterest addiction can be found here!
Decide On The Country
I have no magic formula for this, sometimes Ebi-kun will have shown an interest in a place, maybe sparked by something he has read or seen on TV. Or we have had a postcard from a friend visiting a specific place or maybe I just fancy using one of the swap packs that I have squirreled away.
Make up a basic booklet
I go to my friend google and find a map outline of the country and an outline image of the countries flag. Put one on each page and print it out. Then I add a page with some basic questions, ones where the answers can be found in an encyclopaedia or atlas. Depending on the age and ability of your child you can adjust these, but this is the kind of thing…
- Name of the country _______________
- Continent it is in _______________
- Language(s) spoken _______________
- Capital city _______________
- Famous landmarks _______________
- Famous people _______________
- National sport(s) _______________
- National dish _______________
- Climate/weather _______________
- Animals that live here _______________
- Hoildays & celebrations _______________
- Religion(s) _______________
Collect some books
I like to get a mix of fiction and non fiction, classic stories and contemporary also anything related to famous people from that country, such as Da Vinci if studying Italy or David Beckham for the UK.
This is a great time to pull in information that links to their current interests. Check Amazon’s kindle range, there are some great books available for free or very cheap.
You can easily encourage a focused study for example: Footballers from Brazil, where they were born, what kind of food they eat, what their schooling was like, their religion. Sneaking in your child’s current passion will make the learning a lot more FUN!
This is easier said than done, but not impossible. Start with a hunt around your home, have you go anything that originated from the country you plan to study?
Next, hit up friends and neighbours – especially if they have travelled to or hail from the country you have in mind. Charity/thrift and op shops can be great places to look too.
For quite a while I organized swaps through my personal blog and got some great goodies in return, if you are friendly with a blogger in the country you plan to study, ask them if they are up for a swap. Or finding people in FB groups is another way – I personally find it is better to have some kind of relationship already with the person, so that you don’t get stung with sending a package and getting nothing in return.
*A note about swaps, make sure you and your partner are clear about the type of items you plan to swap, putting a price on the amount you will spend is difficult because of differing income rates but you should decide what to include so that no-on feels short-changed.
A traditional game
A kid friendly recipe
A piece of clothing
Small ornament/magnet/key fob
Tourist information leaflets
Snacks (double check, posting food may not be possible depending where you are)
Make a playlist in youtube
Youtube is brilliant and scary at the same time. I recommend making a playlist so you know your child isn’t going to end up watching something totally inappropriate. We love Horrible Histories and Bear Gyrlls at the moment.
Discovery channel have some great documentaries and you can also search for regular folks videos of cultural events, songs, school sports days, cooking recipes… whatever takes your fancy.
This does take a bit of time but I have found that watching a couple of videos really helps spark the imagination and opens it up for discussion.
It is easy to find recipes on the net these days and even when you live out in the boonies you can make a good attempt to re-create dishes from another land, it may take some creative thinking or swapping of ingredients but that is part of the fun. If you live near an international supermarket you might be able to find some fun new foods to try. Of course, you need to get your kiddie involved with it all.
It was probably all this that got Ebi-kun trying new foods which then resulted in the Ebi-kun Eats show.
Tie a crafty activity with what you are studying. There are loads of cultural events that you can make something for, it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated, the main thing is that it is fun.
It is a perfect chance to look at different religions, celebrations and holidays. I truly believe that knowledge about other peoples religion and culture is a vital part of a child’s education. If more people understood and accepted others beliefs, there would be far less strive in the world!
That is my basic check list
I don’t beat myself up if I can’t manage something, I just go with what we have got.
Once I have everything together we set it out on a shelf or table for the week, so we can dip in and out at any time. We start off with the basic booklet and then add pages, maybe finding pictures of the place, interesting facts, postcards, coin rubbings etc.
When we are done, Ebi-kun makes a front and back cover and we bind it together. We keep all the country books that he has made in a folder, they are fun to look back on.
Apart from the pre-made booklet, I don’t do any work sheets or tests, I follow his lead and help him find the information that he is looking for. He loves to fill daddy in on what he has learnt and will show him the things that he has discovered.
Sometimes we will take the study over the course of a couple of weeks, other times we do a full day, only studying the one country, we eat and drink like them, read books, make crafts, watch programs and listen to music, full immersion just for the day.
If you would like to know more about the Follow The Child (Montessori) way of learning, sign up at the bottom of the post for our Montessori Demystified Workshop. It’s FREE!
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