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Monday, July 15, 2013

Spinning into Spain

As we entered Spain, we started out by making Spain's flag. We have been making the flag related to the country we are studying every Monday of camp, and I think it would be really cool to add some binder rings and make a book out of all the flags!
Next, we read about Spanish culture and how people live in Spain. One of the interesting things we learned about was Flemenco Dancing. We found some examples and we watched and then attempted to make some Flemenco music and dancing at circle time! Here's an example of the dancing: 
After getting out some musical instruments we watched and listened so we could re-create the music!
We did the Spanish Tango....
And made some great music.
It can be hard to find relatable social studies activities for preschoolers, but I did a little reaching. :) We read that the custom of piñatas, now popular in Mexico, was actually a Spanish custom that was brought over by Spanish Missionaries to Mexico a long, long time ago! We also learned that people still use piñatas in Spain for celebrations. So we got busy making our own!
With that old reliable concoction of flour, water and salt, we made our own paper mache piñatas.
It was a wonderful messy activity that everyone enjoyed participating in.

After the paper mache had dried and we popped the balloons, Ms. Courtney and one of our campers started painting our piñata.
Yay! Finished product, painted, filled with candy and ready to be pummeled to pieces. 
Except for the fact that the bottom cracked. Oh, the best intentions...
After examining the weak spots in our project, we put our heads together to come up with a new plan.
Someone suggested we just "throw it really high in the air and let it smash to pieces." All campers eagerly agreed that smashing was the best idea. I love 4 & 5 year olds. They can be so easy to please and not easily deterred by things not going as planned unlike us adults at times. They were just as thrilled with this idea as the original one. So...we threw it high and smashed it and candy went everywhere. :)

Then we compared and examined and traded our spoils. All's well that ends well.
 We also learned that Spain is famous for their olives and that they have over 200 varieties of olives! We read that the Spanish enjoy tapas, which are snacks and finger foods eaten with small picks. After learning about these things, Ms. Angela set up an olive bar in our classroom! We had small picks to eat our olives with. SO many campers tried and loved the olives, I was surprised.
Mmmmm, my fave!

In art we made  Papel picado, which literally means 'punched' or 'perforated' paper. This traditional cut paper folk art is found throughout Mexico and was introduced by the Spanish in the former colonies of Spain.
You cut tissue paper much like you would cut a coffee filter to make a snowflake. This was great because the campers could do it themselves!
After cutting out the tissue we chose a color to glue it on.

Or we used them as a hat first... :)
And, the finished products turned out really cool.
We also made a really yummy Spanish treat...after learning that kids in Spain enjoy hot chocolate and churros, we made some of our own!
The ingredients for the hot chocolate:
Hot chocolate in Spain is very rich and thick. It is supposed to be thick enough that you can stand your churro in it. After thickening ours up, Ms. Angela served it to our campers.
The churros on the other hand, were from Costco. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. And we weren't doing hot oil in the classroom, so these worked out perfectly.
This snack definitely hit the spot. And even though it's a thousand degrees outside, we still loved the hot chocolate.
Some of us even got Matador mustaches from our hot chocolate.
Enjoying our Spanish snack...
Next, we read The Story of Ferdinand. I love this story.
After reading the book, and discussing bull fighting and the famous Bull Run in Madrid, we headed out into the Texas heat to have our own Bull Run. We chose some bulls and then made them paper plate horns.
Here the bulls have been separated and are ready to be "pinned" before the run.
Runners mentally prepared themselves.
And, the bulls were released! We ran down our "alley" away from the bulls!
Some people almost got poked by those angry bulls!
After the run, we needed to cool off and get some water!
We wrapped up the week watching The Road to El Dorado. It was perfect because it was about Spanish explorers in ancient Mexico. 
And that's Adios to Spain! Even though I had to stretch a little for some activities, this was a fun filled week. We really enjoyed learning about Spain and by the time the week was over, we were ready for a Siesta. :) Now there's a cultural idea I could get behind! Have a great week friends!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Scotland and Ireland-Céad Míle Fáilte!

The first week of camp we learned about Scotland and were amazed at all of this incredible country's beauty.
Ms. Amy led the camp for the first week because she is one awesome friend and coworker! She dug up all sorts of interesting facts about Scotland!
  Here's just a few:
We decided that we were going to make the flag for each country that we have camp. Amy always finds a way to make art fun and she's great at sneaking in some motor skills. Campers tore white paper into bits to make the white X on Scotland's flag.
We read some great books about Scotland.

The ones about the Lochness Monster were especially popular. :)
Next, we learned how people dress in Scotland. We learned about the families that live there and that they have certain tartan colors and family crests. They have some great traditional clothing that people use to wear and still do for festivals and other occasions.
Well, after hearing about how the Scottish dress, Ms. Molly brought us a BIG surprise! She brought Mr. Molly, (Aaron!) who is Scottish and had dressed up in all of his traditional clothing for the children! They were amazed! He even brought a sword to show the class which was a big hit with the boys!
Afterwards, he let us try on his clothes!
We found out that all that clothing is kind of heavy!
We learned that Scotland is famous for it's castles and that there used to be kings and queens that lived there. We made crowns and built castles in our centers.
Campers also built castles at the block center!
At  the end of the week we made Scottish scones! You can find the recipe we used here.

Campers got to help, then played while they baked!

Next up...Ireland! We started by making Ireland's flag and we used Ms. Amy's idea to tear paper again! They really loved tearing the paper.

Next, we read about Leprechauns and we found that one could have possibly left some gold coins in our sand table!!! We weren't sure though...
We learned that Ireland is famous for potatoes!
We carved designs into our potatoes.
 Next, we learned that there are many different breeds of sheep in Ireland. We made some of our own sheep at art. They have lots of personality. Then we read Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw. Great book!

 We also played with sheep at the block center!
 Afterwards, we learned to finger knit. It was challenging for the younger kids, but I put them in my lap and did the lacing for them. The older kids caught on and did it on their own. Little did I know finger knitting is addicting! There are tons of really cool ideas for finger knitting, just google it!
We made bracelets...
and necklaces.
To keep up the finger knitting at home, check out this tutorial:

We also learned about shamrocks and the elusive four leaf clover. For a fun science project we colored shamrock shaped coffee filters with green marker. Then we used droppers to add water and watch the color spread.
We also made these little shamrock cards with our thumbprints. Some had three leaves and some had four.
Later we went on a shamrock hunt! We collected as many as we could find all over the school!
We found lots of shamrocks!
When we got back to class we traded our shamrocks in for candy, then we graphed how many three and four leaf clovers we found. We found more with three leaves!
Next we learned about the Blarney Stone. Ms. Rebeka drew a castle with a stone so we could practice kissing our own Blarney Stone. We saw pictures of people kissing the real one and the castle where it's at. We learned that the legend is that kissing the Blarney Stone gives you the "gift of gab" or words that flatter. After each kiddo kissed the stone we tried out using kind and flattering words. It worked!
It was hard to do!
Pointing to the stone...
Another craft we made was a Celtic knot that we colored and added yarn to. Then we added the phrase "Céad Míle Fáilte!" which literally means A Hundred Thousand Welcomes. We learned that the Irish are very hospitable people and sometimes have this phrase hung on their door.
We also learned that centuries ago, Celtic knot patterns were used to decorate religious texts.
Here's a finished sign!
At the end of the week we made Irish Soda Bread which was the easiest recipe EVER! It was also a big hit! They ate it all. The loaf was fairly small, I thought it would be a great recipe for a bread bowl for soup, yum! It didn't take any yeast or need time rising which means it was quick and easy.You can find the recipe we used here.
That wraps up Scotland and Ireland. It was a wonderful week and we enjoyed learning about those beautiful countries. We are on to Spain next! Happy Friday!