Exploring Asia

We continued our trip around the world with a stop in Asia. Asia is the largest continent and lays claim to the highest point in the world – Mt. Everest, and the lowest point in the world – The Dead Sea.

The Taj Mahal is a famous structure in Asia and India’s most recognized building. The Indian ruler Shah Jahan had it built after the death of his wife. This symbol of love serves as her tomb and a monument to her life. The kindergartners used water colors to paint the building’s reflecting pool. They added it to a cut-out of the Taj Mahal.

In China, we talked about tangrams when we read the book, Grandfather Tang’s Story. In the book, Grandfather uses these Chinese puzzles to tell a story about two fox fairies. The fox fairies are part of Chinese folklore. The kindergartners tried their hand at turning tangrams into animals from the story. We also learned about the Great Wall of China. The kindergartners put together a layered picture which shows the wall zig-zagging across the countryside. Finally, we talked about panda bears. The students made panda bear masks to remember these unique bears found in China.

In Japan, the carp or koi fish represent courage, strength, and perseverance. The kindergartners painted a pond and stenciled a koi fish to go in it.

Fun in Europe

The next stop on our trip around the world was Europe. We learned that it is the birthplace of castles and has thousands of them dotted across the continent. The kindergartners designed their own castles using squares, triangles, and rectangles.

We also talked about the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The tower is painted every seven years to protect it from rust. The kindergartners drew the letter ‘x’ over a picture of the tower in order to give it its lattice look. They used sharpies to ‘paint’ it.

We watched a video about London, England and some of the landmarks there. We also talked about the tradition of high tea. We held our own version of an English Tea complete with scones, fruit, crustless sandwiches and apple juice ‘tea.’ The kindergartners felt very grownup drinking out of china teacups.

We made paper bag kilts when we talked about Scotland. The kindergartners played “toss the caber” which is one of the events you might see at the Scottish Highland games.

Russia is the world’s largest country and is in Europe and Asia. We discussed St. Basil’s Cathedral, which is found in the European part of Russia. Ivan the Terrible had it built to celebrate the capture of an enemy. The kindergartners decorated the famous onion domes and designed their own version of this colorful landmark.

Exploring Africa

We are beginning a trip around the world by making a visit to each of the seven continents. We started the trip with the second largest – Africa. We learned about the pyramids in Egypt. We discussed why they were built and that the face of a pyramid makes a triangle. The kindergartners colored a background and used cereal to make their own triangular shape structure.

We read several African folktales, including one about a spider named Anansi. The Anansi folk stories originated in Ghana and the Ashanti people. We read a book that told how Anansi’s six sons saved his life with their special strengths. The kindergartners used egg cartons and chenille sticks to make spiders then wrote two sentences about their favorite son and how he helped save his father.

We also watched a video of the book, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears and did a sequencing activity about it.

We played the African board game Mancala. This game requires counting and strategy skills, which are both good things for kindergartners to practice.

We learned about some of the animals found in Africa. The kindergartners made an African sunset scene that included some of the animals found on the Savanna.

Arrrr It’s Pirate Time

Maps and pirates – they just go together! Since we were finishing a map unit in social studies, why not have a week of pirate themed activities? We read a lot of pirate books, including Pirate Mark. It focuses on the ‘ar’ sound, so we had an ‘ar’ word treasure hunt that ended with a treat – parfaits. Yum!

We made a pirate compass rose showing the cardinal directions. North is represented by the pirate’s nose; south is his or her shoelace, while east and west are made with sign language letters.

We finished the week with a fun pirate day! We all dressed up as pirates, read pirate books, played pirate themed games, used our map skills to find treasure, and made a pirate island snack.