Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Geography Studies - Mexico

We're using our geography studies to explore the Spanish speaking countries of the world right now, and this week we visited Mexico! We had a really good time with it.
We got a quick overview by looking at the website Mexico For Kids. This is a really cute site put together by a class of second graders learning Spanish. We looked at the Mexican flag and talked about the legend that led to the design. We read the Mexico section in Children Just Like Me, and we read Look What Came From Mexico.
I pulled a couple of crafts out of Mexico: 40 Activities to Experience Mexico Past and Present by Susan Milford. This is an awesome book, with lots of educational information. I can't wait to use it again when Crumpet is a bit older and ready to go further in depth with our geography studies!
We created some yarn art. I drew the butterfly outline and Crumpet painted on some watered down glue. Then he placed yarn over the glue. He really enjoyed this, as well as our other crafts of the week. Hurray!
We talked about the Mayans a little and built a step pyramid out of Legos.
We played our castanets and maracas.
We also read the book Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis. This is the true story of a man witnessing the birth of a volcano in his field in Mexico. There are lots of pictures of daily life in Mexico. Crumpet was fascinated by the volcano, as I knew he would be.
Today happens to be the Day of the Dead, which is a day for remembering and celebrating loved ones who have passed away. Most of the books we were able to reserve at the library were about this festival, and Crumpet was excited about all of the skeleton and ghost decor that goes along with the celebrations. It took some effort to convince him that this is actually a nice holiday, and not something spooky like Halloween. Mostly, we made a lot of crafts for the day, and we talked about Crumpet's Nanny, who passed away in January. I've decided that this is a lovely holiday, and we need to celebrate it every year - it was nice to remember and talk about the people we miss.
We made this cute, wiggly skeleton. The marigolds on him are the flower of the dead:

We made cute ghost necklaces out of glue. You make a ghost shape using glue on wax paper, add eyes, and a paper clip for a hanger, and let it dry for a couple of days. Then peel of your ghost and draw in a mouth! These were also perfect for Halloween.
We always eat a lot of Mexican food here, so Crumpet is familiar with the cuisine. We did bake polvorones, which are Mexican sugar cookies with cinnamon in them, for the first time. We made them in Halloween shapes for a dinner gathering we had. The cookies disappeared in minutes!
We read several books about the Day of the Dead. The best was probably The Spirit of Tio Fernando by Janice Levy. This is a book about a little boy learning how to celebrate the holiday while remembering a favorite uncle, and is written in both English and Spanish.

Jolanthe, at Homeschool Creations, has an excellent post on Mexico studies, with lots of great links. You can check that out here.

I know we tend to jump around a lot, and we don't go very in depth with our geography studies yet. For now, I have 3 purposes for our geography work:
1) To have fun!! This is the time when we do most of our crafts and baking together.
2) To teach Crumpet that there are many, many other cultures in the world and that it's important to accept and learn from our differences from others. And that those differences are what make life so interesting!
3) To inspire a love of travel and exploration in Crumpet.

For more Geography posts, visit Children Grow Children Explore Children Learn!


  1. The ghost is so cute! Looks like you had a great study.

  2. Awesome post, and it looks like you did quite a lot for Mexico. It's great that Crumpet enjoyed art. I absolutely agree with your reasons for studying geography.

  3. I'll bookmark this to get ideas when we get to Mexico. Those are 3 great purposes for your geography work - and I agree!

  4. Great post! I agree with your reasons for teaching geography and agree to go in depth at this age would not give a lot of benefit, the idea is to give them a taste to other cultures and the desire to explore. Thank you for linking up this week.

  5. Wonderful links - thanks for posting them!

  6. I think you are doing a great job at meeting your goals!

  7. Nice learning activities. Love the yarn art! Thank you for sharing.