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Hands On GeographyWe have started introducing our daughter to different cultures since she was about 3 years old. Over years, we read about many different countries trying to encourage daughter to pick a country of her choice when she got older. We also tried to pair up a book with a cooking, craft, or science activity that would make Smarty’s view of the country more “hands on”. You are welcome to check out other posts in Hands-On-Geography series:
Look at the Map
Smarty already knows a lot about Germany. The most important city for her is Bremen, because this is where her father is born and this is the city she visited as a toddler (it was a terrible trip, but I digress). Now we could place Bremen on the map of Germany and also find Germany capital – Berlin. In our landmark cards we found one of famous German landmarks - Neuschwanstein castle that was inspiration for Disney drawings of a fairy tale castle in Sleeping Beauty.
Fairy Tales and Brothers Grimm
Interestingly, I am yet to find a good children’s book about modern Germany. Instead we focused on the fact that many well known fairy tales were collected by German folklore researchers and writers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. We have several collections of fairy tales including this beautiful Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Unfortunately, my daughter does not like fairy stories and is not at all interested in watching Disney versions of them. To be fair, original Grimm stories were not meant for children and can be gruesome, but many milder adaptations are available. I strongly recommend prereading fairy tales before sharing them with your children to make sure that your version won't give them nightmares!
Playing with Castles
We already did castles for England fairly recently, but I thought that Smarty would enjoy revisiting this topic again. I had a set of two Playmobil knights saved in my “for later” stash, and I thought that it will work perfectly for the castle I made out of a cardboard box. Besides, Playmobil conveniently happens to come from Germany! Of course, my cardboard box castle was a 10 minute rush job, and my husband had a good laugh when he saw it. I was hoping that Smarty will decorate it, but she was a lot more interested in trying to make furniture for her castle and threw a big fuss when I was not available to help her.
My husband was intrigued by the idea of DIY castle and eventually made a modular castle out of PVC which was “a step above” my cardboard creation. I will share his castle shortly, but here is the preview:
Cooking Global – German Meatballs
My husband makes several dishes from his Mom’s recipe book – one of our favorites is Geschnetzeltes – meat in a creamy sauce. I am linking to the pork recipe, but my husband usually makes it with chicken. I decided to try a recipe where Smarty could participate more, and we made frikadellen (aka meatballs). At first she was a little apprehensive, but then she warmed up to this messy work and happily helped me make a batch. They turned out OK, but I have to figure out a sauce for them when we make them next time.
More Hands-On Activities for Germany
- A Country Study for Elementary School - on my blog
- Walnut Babies – Red ted Art
- Build a Brandenburg Gate – Camilla and Roman
- Germany Lesson Plans, Games and Activities – Mr Donn’s Social Studies
- Germany for Kids from German Information Center, USA
- Germany paper crafts – DLTK