Small World: Summer Camp at Home week 8
The Summer Olympics 2012 opening ceremony today kicks off an international gathering of athletes and fans — and makes this coming week the perfect week to focus on the various world cultures. I hope to have the chance to watch some of the games with my boys — especially swimming and diving. If my older son were still home and not at summer day camp with his occupational therapist every day, I would be tempted to make this week all about sports. But I don’t think that would hold the attention of my 3-year-old, who is home with me all day. (If you want to do an Olympics- or sports-themed week, please dish highlights or details of your plan in the comments!)
The Olympics are sure to be exciting and inspiring. I hope all the medalists get their correct flag and anthem!
When we aren’t playing with friends, I plan for us to learn more about the world in different ways.
- Play and learn: It’s fun to pretend to travel. Will you and your child go by plane, boat, car or train? Who drives? What do you do about luggage? Do you need tickets? What will you see when you get there? Kids will have fun flexing their imagination. But if they don’t, that’s OK — move on to something else. You could literally go small — action figures or doll houses. Maybe the action figures or dolls could travel. As long as kids are playing, they are learning.
- Field trip: We have already had some exciting ventures around our area, and across the state, this summer. So I don’t we’ll travel more. However, I’d love to find a museum with a kid-friendly exhibit that features another culture. Still looking!
- Crafts: I love this World of Laughter digital scrapbooking kit and wonder if I could come up with a cute craft for the boys using it. Hmmm…. Challenge older children to make their own digital layout with it, if you have digital imaging software. Make your own passports to play with, or decorate a suitcase (found at a craft store or thrift shop). We might also use construction paper to make a flag.
- Geography: Get out your globe or atlas and let your kids find interesting countries. Point out where you live, then perhaps a faraway relative or friend’s location. Then look for books about those nations or find information about them online. You could challenge older children to do a report on a country that interests them.
- Language skills: We have the It’s a Small World picture book, which we added to our book collection last year, so we will definitely read that again. (Read my review and watch me singing the song while I turn the pages of the book here.) It’s really more about looking at the pictures with this beautiful book, though. Our local library has an excellent section in the kids’ book area full of books on other countries, and I think I will just let the boys pick out books on the nations that interest them. Leaving the library books where the kids have access to them has been great because they like looking through the books throughout the day. We might even check out a book in another language or try the Ni Hao, Kai-lan Mandarin Chinese counting cards. (The site also has cute coloring pages that teach Chinese words.)
- Cooking: A recent issue of Family Fun magazine showed how making sushi can be a kid-friendly project, so we are going to try it! If there’s an international dish you’d like to try with your kids, go for it! Family Fun actually has a whole section on its site for international recipes.
- Music: Last year when we had World Traveler week during Summer Camp at Home, we had a Small World party (more on that below). I created a playlist of songs from other cultures and played that during the party. Greek, Chinese, Israeli, Caribbean, Japanese, Irish and other songs are still there on my Small World playlist — so we will listen to that. If you want to create your own playlist, check out World Music on iTunes and listen to samples so you can find songs you like.
- Fine motor skills: I think we’ll color this Small World coloring page as we did last year because it’s just so darn cute. Doing crafts is good for motor skills, too. (PS: I haven’t listed gross motor skills at all this summer in our camp plans because my kids are playing outside, racing each other, swimming, etc.)
- More: Last year, we invited friends over for a Small World play date. Or party. I told everyone they were free to dress up in clothes from another culture — not necessarily their own. They didn’t have to dress up, but a lot of people did! The kids were adorable. One friend even arrived wearing her authentic Scottish kilt. For ideas for your own Small World play date / party, find inspiration here, here and here. Not to mention what inspired me to have a Small World party last year: here. And yes, we are hosting another Small World play date again.
I’m finding it’s not the same trying to do projects without my oldest gone for most of the day. I guess I miss him and am just used to him being around. Do you think it’s easier or harder to do projects with kids one on one, or as a duo or group?
Make it a fun week!