Archive for the ‘Arts and Crafts’ Category

(photo credit t.lem0s)

We have been outdoors looking for signs of spring from the ground to the sky. We have visited the beaver pond on the main road, looked for the pair of geese that build their nest nearby, and listened for the peepers that inhabit the wetlands. We have heard more that we have seen—lots of birds have returned, the woodpeckers have made themselves known, and the chickadees have been wondering around on the front lawn where we have scattered bread. We have observed the wondrous colors that have returned and livened up the bland color scheme of late winter/early spring. The palette of yellow-green buds, red buds, and the white, purples, and golds of crocuses have come!

Thanks to Tony for the wonderful little nests that we made with recycled bags and blue construction paper. We filled them with eggs we had tie-dyed with masking tape and numerous dipping.. The warm weather has been a welcome relief from the damp cold of the season, and Mother Earth wakes up and surprises us as we too, emerge from our winter dormancy…

Books We Read:

Mongolia: Enchantment of the World by Allison Lassieur

Festivals of the World: Mongolia by Frederick Fisher

Cultures of the World: Mongolia by Pang Guek Cheng


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Today we made wrapping paper with stamps and ink and wrapped presents for our families and friends. We will bring home the gifts on the 18th for giving during the break.

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More winter workshop activities for gifts for our families. Friends are having fun sledding and pretending to be Inuits hunting in the snow covered tundras.

Books We Read:

The Mouse Before Christmas by Michael Garland

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett

More Jan Brett goodness! Here is what she looks like (picture taken from her amazon page)

And also Zoe’s favorite link from her site

How to Draw a Dolphin

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Winter Workshop:

We are making tags for gifts, angels to put on the tree, and watercolor autumn leave portraits using our beeswax and special papers. We are also making bookmarks for our family members.

As we read and discuss Ballel, her family, and her village, we talk about all the things that we have in this community. Senegalese children make their own toys out of paper clips, wires, wood, or any other materials they can get their hands on. Toys are not something that is found in each and every home, not to mention many toys! Senegalese schools are not as established as our American public school system (albeit our tremendous, and children go to school part time to allow for teachers who teach the whole of huge land areas. We had an important discussion about how grateful children are for the opportunity to go to school. They look forward to school, learning from teachers,

Books We Read:

The Mitten adapted and retold by Jan Brett

Redbird at Rockefeller Center by Peter Maloney and Felicia Zekauskas

Thought I would add the link here incase you did not already know about the FABULOUS site of the author Jan Brett

Lots of coloring pages and fun activities. Here is one of my favorite. It is a link to making a mural of the Three Snow Bears her adaption of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears with a Inuit feel. There is even an Inusuk to color!

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Today we began our winter workshop. This is a time that we prepare for the all the festivals that celebrate the light in our lives. We are working on making crafty gifts for the members of our family with natural material and homespun ideas for the friends to give to parents and family members. We are also beginning our travels to Senegal on the western coast of Africa. We have been discussing the equator,  and the Poles, and their significance in the weather of the countries that we “visit.”

We read the story of Ballel: A Child of Sengal. She is a seven year old who lives with her extended family in a home of brick of mortar, and is one of the privileged that has running water in her home. We spoke of her days in school, the work that she does with family members, and how she and her brothers play in their neighborhood.

We dipped leaves in bees wax, and began our first of many small projects. We had a hike in the woods and observed how much we can now see as all the leaves have landed at our feet!

We have heard from our friend Zoe, who is in route to Sedona, Arizona to attend the 7th Gathering of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. So far, they have journeyed from Massachusetts through Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

We are in touch via phone and e-mail, and will look forward to hearing about the teachings and experiences of Zoe and her Mom at this amazing world conference.

Books We Read:

Ballel: A Child of Sengal by Alain Gioanni

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Today we did a walk to a sweat lodge nearby and talked about how American Indians used the sweat lodge as a cleansing spiritual experience with others in their families and communities. We also talked about the sacredness of spirit guides in the lives of Indians. We have been scanning magazines and books for animals that “speak to us.” We also spoke of a young teen’s experience of going to be with an older woman and celebrating her joining the older women as she proved herself with her abilities to make clothing, cook food, and communicate with others. We each made a symbolic medicine shield and are working on the animals that belong on each of the friend’s shields.


We finished our Peace Travelers cutting and pasting and practiced our two vowels (A and E) and two consonants (T and M). We’ll be using letter boards and sounding out words using these letters to start.

(Remember to ask your friend about Monarchs migrating to Mexico!)


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Today we started with the book Why the Leaves Change Color by Betsy Maestro. We went down the Conway Pond, and walked around looking for collections of leaves that we do not typically see on our regular loop. We found some heart shaped leaves—redbuds, I believe—and saw some beautifully colored sugar maple and white maple leaves.

We began our Turtle Island project that is comprised of a decorated shell made of two layers of construction paper, and then cut tail, head, and legs out of poster board. Underneath is a pocket that contains the story of Turtle Island.


We have been working with the letters “T” and “M” in our Peace Travelers Alphabet Book. Please be sure to practice the signs and sounds with your peace traveler.

Books We Read:
Why the Leaves Change Color by Betsy Maestro

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