The first country of our global geography adventure is ENGLAND!
This was a great country to start because this is where my parents were born and the majority of our relatives live today. I remember visiting England a couple of times when I was little and have a few strong memories. The double decker red buses. The cobble stoned streets. Tall skinny brick homes. Lacey white curtains. Long gardens. Roses. Cold, hard dry toast sitting in special ‘toast racks’ in the morning. HUGE lunches (their dinner) and small dinners (their supper.) Or was it vice versa…. I remember eating heavy meals in the middle of the day, lots of meat, gravy and potatoes. Teapots with hand knitted cozies. A tall cake size glass bowl filled with layers of fruit, cake, cream, custard and whip cream (trifle). Rain, raincoats. Rolling green hills with sheep. Women wearing scarves over their hair. Stone churches. Quiet sitting rooms. Wollaton Hall – filled with stuffed wild animals: I thought they were alive. Men playing cricket in white sweaters on lush green fields.
Let’s get started!!
We finished creating the kids’ passports! They were so thick that I had to get hubby to drill holes in the center and stitch them – and shave off the edges of the paper for a clean finish. No way a staple is getting through these! We filled in the first page in our passport with the main facts, flag and today’s date. In the center I put a little map of the world there so they’ll color that country in.
Printed off the map of England for Pebbles to fill out (bodies of water, major cities, capital, landforms etc.)
Color the Dover England Map/Facts sheet.
Learn about flag symbolism, colors.
Found England on the globe, checked it out with GOOGLE Earth & GOOGLE maps.
For our mapping, we’re just focusing on England – not the entire UK. We’ll cover Ireland and Scotland separately.
ABOUT the COUNTRY:
Went to the following websites and had fun reading, looking at all the photos available about England.
The other week Pebbles was asking about British accents. She loves to talk with one for fun (as do I) and I was trying to explain that where our relatives are from…. their accent is different. In fact, the accents vary GREATLY throughout the entire UK. I found this fantastic website where we could listen to real dialects from different areas of England. IDEA – International Dialects of English Archive – England.
What is interesting is at first they read the same script choice of a couple – but then afterwards they just talk freely about their life or whatever is interesting to them… and that is when you can really hear the different dialect differences shining through.
LANDMARKS / WONDERS:
> quick link to England Wonders
We used Google Maps because Google Earth kept crashing…. did you know that some of these places you can go INTO the buildings? So neat!
Hadrian’s Wall or http://www.7wonders.org/europe/england/northumberland/hadrian-wall/
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
White Cliffs of Dover
Sherwood Forest, Nottingham
Visit all of the towns where our relatives live! Googled where my grandparents used to live.
There are so many fun books written by English authors or set in England. One of my most favorite quintessential British series is Paddington Bear. Hubby had his original set from the 1960s and we also had a new and fun flip book. What is so touching about this sweet bear, is that my dad has told me about the times when he was a little boy during WWII and how he and his siblings were given a bag, a tag and sent off by train into the countryside to live – and be safe – from the bombings. I’m not certain, but I think the Paddington series is a nod to this with his little tag ‘Please look after this bear, thank you.’ Many times the children were sent to farms to work and earn their keep – for better or worse. Some had homes with family. Some with happy memories, some with much hardship. So the three of us cuddled up and enjoyed some Paddington time together. CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series also touches on the idea of children leaving their homes in the city to go live in the country – and the adventures they got into whilst in the care of others. J.R.R. Tolkien is also a favorite author of ours from England. Pebbles is about 1/2 way through The Lord of the Rings trilogy. She’s gotten farther than me and I’ve owned the beautiful watercolor illustrated paneled book since 1995.
* side note…. they are making a Paddington Bear movie with Hugh Bonneville and Nicole Kidman. I REALLY hope the movie isn’t terrible. The books are so so so good.
Pebbles has enjoyed reading another famous British author – and old BBC TV series (! now on Netflix Instant Stream!) – James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small.” I remember watching this as a kid. She’s read a lot of Royal Diaries and is re-reading Elizabeth I.
All Creatures Great & Small – netflix
Wartime Farm – Modern Day recreation of the Victory Gardens – BBC
Hadrian – Building the Wall – Khan Academy
Medieval Goldsmiths – Treasures of Heaven at the British Museum – Khan Academy
Important British people in history and today: http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/europe/england/ukefamous.htm
British Monarchy http://www.royal.gov.uk/Home.aspx
- Needle felt a hedgehog.
- Make idyllic rolling hills with cotton ball sheep.
- Make a cardboard castle.
- Design a minecraft castle with English Garden, Moat and appropriate materials.
- Make stonehenge with rocks… and also minecraft – why not. 😉
- Travel Postcard for favorite English things they enjoyed
- make a paper fan for high tea
FOOD WE ENJOYED:
- Roast Beef and gravy with Yorkshire Puddings
- English Tea with scones, cream, jam, mini sandwiches in fun shapes (with our good wedding china and silver tea set!)
- Handheld meat & potato pies in puff pastry
- Trifle (layered dessert – beautiful! Ours was more of a parfait though – too lazy to make spongecake and we had brownies already that we could use instead.)
THOUGHTS AFTER OUR FIRST COUNTRY:
Hands-on learning really does work. It’s a lot of planning and time – but worth it. Everyone was SO excited to use their passports, and watch mom stare at the Yorkshire Puddings rising with great heights in the oven. BamBam couldn’t wait to tell his grandparents all about what we were doing and the other day he showed me a drawing he made on his own on the whiteboard. Yup, that’s either Tower Bridge or a Castle with flag….. Stonehenge, and the Union Jack. This is fantastic for a child who is not keen on drawing. The food was a hit with Pebbles. We have an inflatable globe and BamBam likes to grab it and directly point to England within milliseconds. SO HAPPY. It’s hard to leave England… but our passport can hold 64 countries so…… time to depart!
Join us as we explore SCOTLAND next!