Nov
17
2014

A Montessori-Inspired Approach to Little Passports

This week, we’ve asked Deb Chitwood of LivingMontessoriNow.com to share the fun and educational ways that you can use Little Passports with preschoolers. Read on to see examples of her creative ideas!

It’s fun and rewarding to incorporate Little Passports packages into a Montessori-inspired geography curriculum. I’m sharing some ideas using Montessori principles that show ways you can use the Little Passports World Edition packages with preschoolers.

Montessori-Inspired Little Passports Global Adventure

Preparatory Work with Globes, Maps, and Continent Boxes

The activities below work well if you homeschool your child or your child attends a Montessori school. You just need to choose the activities that work best for your own child and family.

The Montessori preschool geography curriculum introduces the Montessori land and water globe and continent globe before the world continent map. You could make DIY Montessori globes, or just point out the concepts of land and water and the seven continents on your globe at home.

Continent map work is easier to prepare. While starting with a globe is best, you could start with a Montessori continent map to introduce the continents at home.

Continent Map Labeling Tray Continent Map Labeling Tray

I designed a continent map tray that was prepared by using free printables. This is helpful to have on your shelf throughout the year. I recommend introducing the continents before your child receives the first Little Passports package.

Montessori continent boxes (or continent baskets or trays) give preschoolers a hands-on way of experiencing each continent. I like to include hands-on continent activities before studying the individual countries. You’ll find lots of ideas for hands-on continent activities in my continent box posts.

If you have a homeschool, you’ll find it helpful to introduce some continent box activities before introducing the related Little Passports country package. If your child attends a Montessori school, you might find that you only need to emphasize the name of the continent related to your current Little Passports package.

Montessori-Inspired Little Passports Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I’ve prepared Montessori-inspired activities to go with the Little Passports World Edition packages. You’ll find links to activities for each of the first-year subscription packages in my Montessori-Inspired Little Passports Global Adventure post. I’m gradually including activities for each of the second-year packages, too.

Montessori-Inspired Little Passports Activities - France

As an example, for the Little Passports France package (package four) I prepared some map work, a photo-booklet-making activity using the Little Passports online Boarding Zone resources, and two activities extending the camera/photo focus from the package. The activities used free printables I found online (with links included in my posts).

Montessori-Inspired Global Adventure Pinterest Board and Related Continent Resource Boards

Follow Deb @ Living Montessori Now’s board Montessori-Inspired Global Adventure on Pinterest.

Be sure to check out the Montessori-Inspired Global Adventure Pinterest Board and each of the related continent educational resource boards (which include resources for the related countries included in the Little Passports World Edition packages). The Pinterest boards contain ideas and activities that can be used to create continent boxes and complete unit studies for a variety of ages to go with your Little Passports packages. I add geography resources to Pinterest each month.

Here are links to each of the Pinterest boards in the order the continents are introduced through Little Passports:

 

Little Passports Early Explorers and Montessori-Inspired Activities

I’m excited about the new Early Explorers packages for children ages 3-5! The activities I’ve prepared for the World Edition work well for preschoolers and are a great way to include preschoolers in a homeschool unit study of a particular country. The Early Explorers packages focus on themes that are different from the World Edition packages. Early Explorers packages can also be used to create activity trays and can be used instead of or in addition to the World Edition activities I’ve shared.

The Need for Repetition

Montessori education emphasizes the young child’s need for repetition to meet the needs of sensitive periods. By making activity trays with the Little Passports materials, your child can enjoy doing the activities over and over and maximizing the educational benefits of Little Passports. One of the best benefits is that Little Passports combined with Montessori ideas can give your child a lifelong love of geography.

About Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego.

On her blog at LivingMontessoriNow.com, she writes about Montessori activities and ideas, homeschooling, and parenting. She also helps parents and teachers feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12 in her eBook, Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy (2013, Spring Snow Publications). You can connect with Deb on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.

Nov
17
2014

Pinterest Scavenger Hunt: Raising a Global Kid

Can you find it? Little Passports and The Educators’ Spin On It are partnering to bring you a Pinterest Scavenger Hunt. The hunt begins TODAY 11/17/14.

RULES: Create your board, and share with us in the comments on our Facebook (http://bit.ly/14GM6cO). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Raising a Global Kid Scavenger Hunt (the Promotion) begins Nov. 17, 2014 at 9:00 AM (PT), and ends Nov 19, 2014 at 11:00 PM (PT) (the “Promotion Period”).

ELIGIBILITY: To participate in this Promotion, you must be a legal resident of the 50 United States, or the District of Columbia and be at least 18 years of age at time of entry. Employees of Little Passports Inc., Facebook, Inc., their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, vendors, employees and immediate family of such employees (defined as spouse, IRS dependent, or biological, adoptive or step- mother, father, sister, brother, daughter or son, and each of their respective spouses), or those who reside in the same household as, any person in any of the preceding categories, are not eligible to participate. Void outside the 50 United States and D.C. and where prohibited.

USE OF ENTRANT INFORMATION: All information submitted as part of your entry becomes subject to Little Passports Privacy Policy, found at www.littlepassports.com/privacy-policy/. Little Passports may send entrants emails about promotions, products, and contests. Entrants may unsubscribe or opt out of receiving such additional emails as described in the privacy policy.

DURATION: This Promotion begins Nov 17, 2014 at 9:00 AM (PT) and ends November 19, 2014 at 11:00 PM (PT). For an entry to be eligible, it must be registered within this time period.

WINNER SELECTION: Little Passports staff will choose the winner based on creativity and adherence to the rules. By participating in the Contest, entrant certifies that his/her entry is original, has not been previously published or won any award, and does not contain any material that would violate or infringe upon the rights of any third party, including copyrights, trademarks or rights of privacy or publicity. Little Passports reserves the right in its sole and unfettered discretion to disqualify any entry that it believes contains obscene, offensive or inappropriate content, that does not comply with these official rules or that is not consistent with the spirit or theme of the contest. The decision of Little Passports and judges is final and binding on all matters relating to the Contest.

Grand Prize Winner announced: November 20, 2014. 

Nov
5
2014

Thailand Festival of Lights

Every year in Thailand, fireworks crackle, candle-lit lanterns lift into the night air, and tiny rafts bearing candles – along with wishes and prayers woes – float away into the dark. This is the Thailand Festival of Lights!

Despite its name, the Thailand Festival of Lights is actually made up of two different festivals: Loi Krathong, the most widely celebrated throughout the country, and Yi Peng, which is commemorated in harmony with Loi Krathong, in Northern Thailand. The dates change every year, but because each one is determined by the full moon, they always occur at the same time – usually in November. This year, they fall on November 6th.

So, what are these festivals all about? Though their origins are unique, over time, they have come to share similar meanings.

Loi Krathong’s history is still up for debate, but many believe it started as a Brahman ritual which, over the centuries, evolved into a celebration of Buddha. During Loi Krathong, people create rafts called krathongs, made in the shape of open lotus flowers, the symbol of Buddhism. They are decorated with flowers, incense and candles. Traditionally, these vessels were made from banana leaves, but today you’re just as likely to see krathongs fashioned from bread!

When evening falls, the maker of the krathong lights a candle and thinks of a wish or prayer before gently pushing it into the river. If the krathong disappears before the candle burns out, it’s believed that the wish comes true. Krathongs carry more than wishes! Oftentimes, celebrants place locks of hair into the baskets, believing they will whisk away bad luck.

Traditional believers set a coin in the middle of the krathong as a tribute to the Thai goddess of the river, Phra Mae Khongkha. Because of this, festival-goers may hear the splish-splash of children diving in the water to fetch the coins before they float away!

Yi Peng is marked by the Lanna, or Northern Thai, calendar, and has always been a tribute to Buddha. Yi means two, or second, and Peng means full moon, so the holiday is always celebrated during the full moon of the second lunar month of the Lanna calendar. Instead of krathongs, lanterns take center stage in this festival! There are carrying lanterns that migrate from parades to temples, elegant hanging lanterns and vibrant spinning lanterns, and–most famously–the sky lanterns.

Known as khom loi, these sky lanterns mimic hot air balloons. Many people say a short prayer before lighting their khom loi, while others write notes or addresses onto the lanterns.

Because Chiang Mai celebrates both festivals, the city is regarded as one of the most spectacular places to partake in the festivities. Here, onlookers enjoy multiple days of events, which include beauty pageants, parades, fireworks, and, of course, the lighting of candles and lanterns. On the night of the full moon, the city is glowing with light, reflected in the water and sky. It’s a magical sight!

Learn more about Thailand by subscribing to our World Edition!

Nov
4
2014

The Perfect Subscription for Preschoolers is Here!

Little Passports is excited to announce the launch of Early Explorers, a new subscription line for preschoolers!


Available just in time for the holiday season, this product introduces 3-5 year olds to a new world theme each month, such as animals, music and landmarks. It’s carefully designed with preschoolers in mind, with fun and educational activities, souvenirs and stickers.


The first month’s Traveler’s Kit arrives in a bright orange suitcase, and contains everything a child needs to start learning about the world, including an activity book, a wall-sized world map, stickers, wall decal and luggage tag. You also meet characters Max, Mia, and their dog Toby, who will lead your child on their global adventure!


Amy Norman, Co-Founder and Co-CEO explains,

“We’re excited to share our passion with families and help shape the next generation of global citizens. Our new Early Explorers program for preschool aged children will do just that, with our Explorers receiving fun and engaging activities in the mail each month – all designed to introduce and teach them about different cultures and places around the world.”

Click here to learn more about what’s inside the packages, or to place an order!

Oct
29
2014

Get Crafty this Día de los Muertos

Halloween night is coming. You’ve carved a scary pumpkin and pinned a skeleton to your front door. These decorations, as old superstitions say, will help scare off the dead during the spooky holidays. But what if you wanted to lure the dead spirits to your house? Sounds odd, right? Not in Mexico.

The Day of the Dead, or el Día de los Muertos, goes back to the vibrant Aztec culture of Mexico. It was a month-long celebration intended to honor ancestors and the continuation of life. It’s the perfect extra holiday to add to your Halloween plans!

In the 16th century, when the Spanish defeated the Aztecs and began to rule their land, they needed to bring the two cultures together. One way of doing this was by joining Aztec rituals with Catholic holidays. Día de los Muertos was moved from its original date to November. This allowed the holiday to coincide with All Souls’ Day, which is still celebrated in many parts of Europe on November 2nd.

Today, the Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd in Mexico and many parts of the United States. (It’s Halloween’s holiday neighbor!) People continue the old tradition of offering delicious foods, drinks and flowers to their loved ones. The main flower of the holiday is the marigold, which was an important part of Aztec medicine, culture and ceremony.

The most popular place to celebrate Día de los Muertos? A cemetery. But if you don’t feel like sporting a skull in the graveyard, you can still honor the tradition by baking a skeleton and making a marigold! Celebrate Halloween and Día de los Muertos with these fun family activities.

Recipe Time:  Spooky Skeleton Cupcakes

For kids’ holiday desserts, we love Annabel Karmel! In honor of el Día de los Meurtos, we’ve taken a twist on her Halloween Eyeball Cupcakes. We have made all of ours look like skeletons!

Spooky Skeleton Cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

What You Will Need

  • 125g soft margarine
  • 125g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tub creamy vanilla frosting
  • Assorted candy for decoration

Instructions

  1. Mix the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the eggs one at time together with a tablespoon of flour.
  3. Add the vanilla essence and fold in the remaining flour.
  4. Line a cupcake tin with paper cases and half fill each case with the mixture.
  5. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes or until golden.
  6. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Decorate with the vanilla frosting and candy. We spread the vanilla frosting on top of our cupcakes. Then we used two chocolate chips for the eyes, raisins for the nostrils, and three candy corns for the teeth.

Craft Time: Marigold Tissue Craft

To bring a bit of Ancient Aztec culture to your holiday, follow the steps below to create tissue paper marigolds. Make as many as you want. And, hey, who says they have to be red and gold? Use your favorite spooky colors and make whole bouquets in honor of Halloween and the Day of the Dead!

Marigold Tissue Craft

What You Will Need

  • Yellow, orange or red tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaner (any color; chose green to look like a plant stem)

Instructions

  1. Fold a sheet of tissue paper in half, “hamburger style”. (The two short ends meet.)
  2. Fold in half again, the same style.
  3. Starting at one of the shorter edges, make a paper fan (or accordion). Fold the short edge over 1/2 to 1 inch. Turn your paper over and fold the same edge again, making another 1/2 inch fold. Continue turning and folding until you’ve completed the accordion effect.
  4. Wrap one end of your pipe cleaner around the middle of your tissue paper accordion.
  5. Round the corners of your tissue paper by trimming with a pair of scissors.
  6. Spread out your accordion until it forms a flat, circular shape.
  7. Pull the first layer of tissue paper up toward the center of your accordion, all the way around the circle.
  8. Pull up the next layer of tissue paper the same way, toward your first layer. Continue pulling and fluffing your layers.
  9. Your paper flower is finished!