Teaching Kids About The World: Week 1 Africa

Friday, May 27, 2016

Today was the last day of school here down in South Carolina.  My baby graduated Kindergarten today (no cap and gown ceremony at his school though)!

 So with the school year over, and more time on our hands, I was searching for something fun and educational to do with him over summer break to keep him occupied.  My son loooves learning about the world (wonder where he got that from??) so I came up with the idea to teach him about one new area of the world (continent, country, place) each week.  We'd start with A for the first week and end at Z (or that's the grand plan, lol).

This week was A week.  I gave him a few choices and showed him some pictures a la Google images of each option and let him choose which area he wanted to learn about.

He chose from Alaska, Antarctica, Africa, or Australia.

This week he chose.............Africa!!!

We started the week on Monday by printing out a small world map.

I had him find Africa on the map and we talked about the fact that there are 7 continents on Earth and that Asia is the largest.  Then Africa.  And we learned that Africa is 3 times as big as the United States.

Since Africa is so large, and there is so much to learn about, we picked one of the countries- Kenya- and printed out a color by number of it's flag.

I also showed him pictures of something I knew he would love in Nairobi, Kenya.  The Giraffe House.  Where you can eat breakfast and have giraffe's come up and stick their heads in the windows right at your breakfast table!!



This looks so cool.  I would love to experience it and I knew my son would love it and spark the little wanderlust inside him as well.  And it did!  He said "Mommy.....can we go there???"  Maybe one day.

Tuesday we learned about some African art.  I showed him some pictures online and then took him to a local (oddly enough) Starbucks that had some art on their walls.  We also learned about the African Maasai Necklaces and did an art project to make our own.  I used this pin that I found to show us how to make them.

Wednesday we talked about safaris and I was super excited to do this art project with him.  I followed the instructions on this pin and they turned out beautifully if I do say so myself :)  You make them using water colors and I don't know about you,  but for us, water colors never come out bright and pretty.  So for another fun little thing to do, we decided to try to make our own paints.  If you decide to  make these, be aware that they need to dry overnight.  (Or for us, they weren't ready in the morning, so I stuck them in the fridge while he was at school and they were good to go by the time he got home!).  I'm really excited about how the paints came out.....and the project because let's just say....I'm not the most artistic person in the world.....or even in the top 92%,  That's right, I'm somewhere in the bottom 8% I'd guess, haha.

Thursday we went on our own little safari around town.  If I had planned better, I would have found some little safari hat or something for him to wear, but pretty much we just went around our city and I let him take pictures of the animals we found along the way.  Now, we don't live near giraffes and lions and zebras...but we do have some cool birds, alligators, and dolphins.

Friday, we learned some more about the history and people of Africa.  We also learned that Africa is home to the largest river (the Nile) and the biggest desert (the Sahara).  I'd like to say that we made these African pancakes as well, but honestly we ran out of time.

My son and I both had a lot of fun learning about Africa this week.  He's excited for the rest of the weeks to come.  I really love the fact that I don't have 100% control over which area we learn about.  I give him a couple options, but ultimately it's up to him.  That way, it's more likely that we each learn some amazing new things together!

Next week however, we are going to skip over B and move on to C because we're going on a trip to Canada at the end of the week.  I figure it's probably a good idea to have him learn a bit about it first before we go.  Then, when we get back, we'll go back and learn our B area.

What do you think?  Do you do something similar with your kids?  Are there other interesting Africa projects to teach young kids??  If you want to follow along to get ideas for projects for your kids, you can follow my Pinterest board.  I'll be updating it, oh, I don't know....obsessively, with new projects and ideas from countries around the world.  Stay tuned for next week when we learn about Canada!!!

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