Sunday, March 15, 2015

Continent Boxes - North America

Part of the Geography sequence includes Continent Folders or Boxes. Folders would include pictures of various cultural aspects of each continent while boxes hold cultural objects. I chose to go with boxes and started putting them together last fall. They are still a work in progress but they will be used for years so as I collect new items, they'll be added to the box. But what I have now is a good enough selection to show what I have and how they are used.

I bought 7 photo boxes at Michael's when they were on sale for $2 each and used a 15% off coupon. I bought each one to match the color of the continent on the Montessori world map. I cut out a shape of North America from sandpaper and glued it to the top and added decorative travel stickers. I stole this idea and others from my favorite Montessori blog What Did We Do All Day?.

Inside the box I have various Safari Toob animals common to North America. There are more to add, I just haven't bought them all yet. I buy each set of Toobs from Michaels with a 40% off coupon. The farm animals aren't Safari, they are from DJ's farm set and they aren't kept in the box but I grab them when we're doing North America work.

I purchased a set of 100 World Flags from Amazon for $5. Then I printed a North America and Central America map on plain paper. DJ really enjoyed poking the flags into each country and did it several times, although he needed me to tell him which flag goes with each country (which I was looking up on a printed guide, I don't know them either). But he does now recognize the US and Mexican flags and knows that each country has its own flag.

I bought this North America Continents book from Amazon for $7. There is a book for each continent but this is the only one I've purchased so far.

I bought a 1 pound World Coin Lot from Amazon for $15 which included 85 coins from 32 different countries. I was really disappointed that it didn't include a single African coin. *sigh* I'm also planning to buy some World paper currency at some point but haven't done it yet.

The coins you see in the zip lock bag are US State quarters. I raided our coin supply and found 25 of the 51 coins. Now I just have to figure out how to find the other half.

I also bought a set of World Stamps from Amazon for $34. There were 179 stamps representing 52 countries. Again, sadly not a single Australian stamp, just one from a tiny Oceania island called Wallis & Futuna.

These are Native American pocket spirits I bought from our local Native American Museum. Each coin has a symbol stamped on one side representing a word like peace or respect stamped on the back. The designs were drawn by a number of Native American artists and the card names each one and the tribe they are from. I think they were $0.25 each but can't quite remember.

I also bought these Native American postcards from the same museum. They represent tribes around the Puget Sound region where we live.

These World Landmark cards were purchased second hand on a Montessori Facebook exchange group I think for $7, I'm bad at remembering cost. I believe there were 45 total and each card has a picture of the landmark on one side and a description on the back including the name, country, description and a map of the country with a star marking the landmark location.

We were watching a TV show about building bridges one day and DJ said, "Hey!" and ran to the box. He dug through it frantically while I sat confused. Finally he found the Golden Gate Bridge card and held it up to the TV and declared "This is like that!" I love the connections he makes.

I bought these World Animal cards at the Target $1 Spot. Each card has an animal pictured on one side and a description shown in the next photo on the back.

Sorry for how blurry this is but you can see the animal is named and there is a tiny globe in the top right indicating what region they are found. The description provides a lot of information about the animal along with more pictures.

I also bought these United States flashcards from Target $1 Spot but we haven't used them yet. I plan to pull them out when we get into the US map puzzle.

These are images I printed on 4x6 photo paper from Google Images. Each one is a picture of a North America country's capital city. On the back of each photo I added a label that has the city name, country name and country flag.

These are from the Safari Around the World, World Landmarks and Space Toobs. I also have a small plastic Seattle Space Needle but it went for a walk just before the picture and hasn't come back yet. I think it's in the yard somewhere.

Finally, I have these Dover Paper Doll books that I bought on Amazon for about $1.50 each. Each book has a cut out girl with a variety of cultural outfits to dress her in. DJ hasn't shown any interest in these at all yet.
Update to Add: I had mentioned in a previous post that my world lot of stamps did not include any from Canada and a really sweet reader from Canada wrote and said she would send me some.  Well, I received the package last week and she sent a lot more than stamps!  The package included french flash cards, stamps, a Canada pencil, a few coins, a Native American totem pole keychain, 3 maple candies, a couple of postcards and a picture of Canadian paper money.  You can only see 2 of the maple candies in the photo because DJ immediately ate one.  He approves! Thank you, Vanda!

In addition to what is in the box, we also watched several episodes of Travel with Kids which is free with Amazon Prime on their Instant Streaming. DJ's favorite was the Alaska episode but we also watched Bahamas and Yucatan Peninsula. DJ was really disappointed there wasn't a Canada episode. He's very curious about "that big brown" country (referring to the color of the Canada puzzle piece on the North America puzzle map.

Someday I'd like to make up some menu cards of various cultural foods that we can make together but I haven't done it yet. We did talk about Tacos and Quesadillas coming from Mexico (two of DJ's favorite foods) and we check which country our fresh fruit comes from.

Continent boxes aren't perfect and I don't believe they will ever be complete. There is just so much diversity in each country let alone continent to put it all in one box. But I do believe they are valuable to spark interest and DJ has really enjoyed exploring the North America box.

Click here to see other continent box posts:

Continent Boxes - South America
Continent Boxes - Asia

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