Friday, March 11, 2011


We are still working in Asia but we completed our next Country this week – India.   India is another country that Daddy visits for work so, once again, we had some actual currency to explore.


We started our study (as we probably all of them will) by visiting National Geographic Kids and exploring the pictures, videos and descriptions of the Geography, Culture, History and Physical Climate of India.  The kids love looking at the beautiful pictures and watching the videos.

We found India on our wall map and circled it.  We took a closer look and discussed some of the physical features, mainly that it is a peninsula surrounded by the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.  We also noted the location of the Ganges River, which is sacred to Hindus.

We colored an outline map of India and a flag from Enchanted Learning.  Georgie really struggles with being forced to make something specific colors and finished it as quickly as possible.

We read Toot & Puddle: Toot’s Tour of India.  The kids enjoyed the story (they are familiar with Toot & Puddle from PBS) but I found it very light on actual information.  There was a brief mention of crowds (not actually shown in any of the illustrations), a ride on an elephant and reference to the Jaipur Sundial.

We read from Children Just Like Me and discussed the variations between the lives of the children in the book and our lives.  Georgie was amazed about the girl who lived without electricity or running water.

We read about Diwali in Children Just Like Me: Celebrations.   We read briefly about Holi but I didn’t want to dwell on it and give the kids any ideas about having paint fights.

We made Diwali diya by decorating small tins with tissue paper and gems, then inserting red, yellow and orange feathers to simulate candle flames.  As usual, Georgie did an even row all around while Vicki piled everything.

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We looked at rangoli decorations on Google Images.   From Wikipedia:  “Rangoli is a traditional decorative folk art of India. They are decorative designs on floors of living rooms and courtyards during Hindu festivals and are meant as sacred welcoming area for the deities”   They are usually made with colored sand or rice powder.   I found some rangoli coloring pages from Activity Village.  I originally printed out just one design but Georgie really enjoyed doing these so I ended up printing out more.  He loves to color when he can be creative and use whatever colors he wants.   He ended up doing five in all.  Maybe in a few years we’ll try doing them using colored sand but for now, crayons are good.


While the kids colored their rangoli, I read to them from The Magic Tree House: Tigers at Twilight.  This actually worked very well and was probably the best read aloud sessions using a non-picture book we’ve ever had.

I made an information sheet for the kids (another thing that will be done for each country we study) that showed a color picture of the flag, a sample of the currency and the alphabet.   We were able to look at some actual currency from one of Daddy’s trips to India.  The kids both liked the colorful money and that some of the bills had a tiger and elephant on the back.

We read the story The Birth of Krishna from Children Just Like Me: Our Favorite Stories.  I really need to get a copy of the Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions to use as a reference.  I would like to be able to discuss the various religions better as we come across them in our studies.

We went to Time for Kids: Homework Helper and listened to the correct pronunciation for the Hindi words for Hello and Good-bye (namaste), which Georgie noted was like in Hawaii where Aloha is both Hello and Good-bye.  We also learned how to say How Are You? (Aap kaise hein), Thank You (Dhanya vaad) and Hey, it’s my turn to use the computer (Suno, ab meri bari hai computer pe khelne ke liye ).  I like how the site throws in a few fun phrases to learn.

One of the pictures shown on National Geographic Kids were of mendhi, traditional henna tattoos applied for weddings and special festivals.  I cut out handprints from cream cardstock and let the kids decorate them with brown paint.  I was hoping to let them use q-tips to draw finer lines but I couldn’t find any.  The paint brushes didn’t work as well, especially when they were globbed with paint.


We went to one of the links from our Intellego unit and listened to traditional Indian music.  We also watched a Bollywood style dance.

We watched Riki Tiki Tavi, which is one of the stories from the Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.  The movie has been one of my favorites since I grew up watching it on television (we won’t mention how long ago that was).   The kids were a little scared at the beginning but ended up really enjoying it and asking to watch it again.   We did briefly discuss the English control of India and how the family in the movie was not Indian.

After the movie, the kids wanted to know more about mongooses and cobras so we researched the animals of India on National Geographic Kids and National Geographic.   We used a print-out from Confessions of a Homeschooler and learned more about cobras, water buffalos, tigers and elephants.  We also learned about peacocks.  The kids have seen peacocks before since they are very common in zoos around here.  We did a peacock dabber page from Making Learning Fun.


The kids played with some paper dolls I ordered through Dover books.  To make them last a little bit longer, I laminated them and used pieces of velcro to attach the clothes.  On the back of each outfit, I wrote about if it was worn for a certain festival or by a certain group of people.


We discussed some of the similarities and differences between life in the US and life in India.  Georgie was really stuck on the “no electricity, that means no television” idea.  

The kids answered questions for our review sheet and put their India stickers in their passports.  Next week we will be moving on to Japan.


  1. I love your country reviews! And thanks so much for including the links that you use for each one. I have bookmarked so much off your blog :)

  2. Great ideas!! Thanks for sharing...

  3. This weekend is Holi - a festival in India that celebrates the coming of Spring. So fun that you studied India! Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Thank you everyone. :-)
    Shannon - we did read briefly about Holi but I didn't want to dwell on the idea of paint fights. ;-)

  5. How fun! I love that your kids are all in their jammies! So cute!

    Thanks for sharing at the For the Kids Friday Link Party! I look forward to having you back this Friday!