This past week was RUSSIA for the Geo Treckers group at our library and we had the biggest group yet! This time I had a good sized group for both sessions, which made it that much more fun! We read books, played games, learned some fun facts and sampled Borscht! (I’m still not sure if I made it for the group because I wanted them to try this Russian beet stew or if I made it simply because I like saying the word BORSCHT!)
Anyway . . . . here are the plans I used.
Geo Treckers: Russia
Welcome! Privyet! Today we are going to look at Russia!
- Show the Russian Flag
- Find Russia on map
- Russia is on 2 Continents. Largest country in world, 1/10th of the land on earth
- Official name is the Russian Federation
- Hockey and soccer are popular sports in Russia
- There are 10 million more women than men in Russia
- Capital: Moscow
Use Google Maps to find Russia . . . spend some time exploring
Read through Russian fun facts (Russian Attire, customs & culture) from this site: : http://dinolingo.com/blog/2012/04/04/russian-fun-facts-russian-children-fun-facts-for-kids/#.WHkCqtIrIdU
Read “Look What Came From Russia” by Miles Harvey.
Another fun thing in Russia is the cat theatre. This is where a cast of cats complete acrobatic tricks and stunts. Check this out:
Show video: Cat Theater:
This is, apparently, a game played in Russia! One person holds a ball while everyone else stands in a circle. That person then says a word and then throws the ball at someone in the circle. If the word the person said is something you can eat (edible), that person catches the ball. If it is not something you can eat (inedible), he hits the ball back to the person in the middle. (Thus the name “Edible/Inedible”).
The faster the person in the middle calls out the words and throws the ball, the more fun the game is! It took awhile for the kids to catch on, but once they did, they had a lot of fun!
Russian Nesting Dolls:
(I had a set of these that I made as a craft and I used them to explain what they were before reading the next book.)
Read “The Littlest Matryoshka” by Corinne Demas Bliss. This is a very cute book. I had to order it from another library, but it was well worth it! The kids all liked it.
Music: Russian Polka (I put the following video on and had the kids try to dance along. I was pleasantly surprised at how well everyone did . . . it was a blast!!)
Festivals: I spent time talking about the following festivals (using the link above for fun facts)
- June 1 — Children’s Day: A day honoring children with child proof, family oriented activities, speeches, programs and events. This is a holiday for all children of Russia.
- New Year: The biggest celebration. They believe that “the way you celebrate the New Year will indicate how you will fare in the remainder of that year”.
- Easter: feast, egg paintings & religious meetings.
- Maslenista: See: http://wiki.kidzsearch.com/wiki/Maslenitsa
Read “Rechenka’s Eggs” by Patricia Polacco
This is, apparently, a very popular and fun game. I’m not sure what to call it, so I will just call it “MARINE FIGURE – FREEZE”
The kids all move around in an open space while the leader says the following:
“The sea runs high once,
The sea runs high twice,
The sea runs high three times,
Marine figure – Freeze! “
When he says “Freeze!” all players have to freeze, looking just like a marine animal of their choice. They have to hold that position until the leader picks the silliest one to take over as the new leader!
We also did “Fish Figure – Freeze”, “Crab Figure – Freeze”, and then I let the leaders pick their favorite animal and we continued the game. Some of the choices were “Kangaroo figure, cat figure, and dragon figure!”
After this last game, I let the kids choose different stations to go to. At one station, I had two chess games set up and a couple of my boys assisted the kids at learning how to play chess (Chess was invented in Russia, after all). The second station had a Russian Nesting Doll craft, and the third station had a pot of BORSCHT that I had made and brought in. Most of the kids went for the borscht first and then moved to the other stations.
NOTE: The Russian Nesting Doll craft was a neat craft, but very time consuming. I let the kids in my first group do the craft while in Geo Treckers, but I sent the craft home with the second group. I would recommend sending the craft home . . . unless you have a lot of extra time.
This is how I made the Borscht:
- 3 cans of beets (blended so that most of the beets were all chopped up. I left a few whole ones in there for my kids who wanted to eat straight beets)
- a few potatoes, cut into small pieces
- a few carrots, cut into small pieces
- a bag of frozen peas
- a bag of frozen green beans
- 2 cans of chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons of white vinegar
I mixed everything together in a crock pot and let it sit all morning. By the time we had Geo Treckers, the borscht was ready to go . . . and quite tasty, too. There was none left over!!!!
Suggested Additional Activities:
- Listen to Tchaikovsky!
- Listen to and watch some Russian songs and nursery rhymes. http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=ec&p=985&c=157
- Make your own Faberge Egg. https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/faberge-egg-collage
- Study Russian history. Find a good site to help you here: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/countries/russia/#russia-st-basils.jpg
- Watch a Russian ballet.
- Try to learn some ballet steps! Here is a good place to start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIm7QNsU-x4&list=PL4l3lN36L_cGS_OycIRIarq8tw4Y8fPNs
- Study the leaders of Russia.
- Read Animal Farm.
- Pretend you are a tour guide taking a family on a trip through Russia. Where would you take them? Come up with a map and descriptions of where you would take a family if you were taking them on a tour of Russia.
- Russia is so big it has several different time zones! Make a map depicting where each time zone is. Then find out what time it is in each time zone right now.
- Make an authentic Russian meal. Try this link for some yummy recipes! http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/category/russianrecipes/
- Do a Russian language lesson in Mango! You can get to one from the library’s website.
- Use legos to make a model of the Kremlin.
- Find some more Russian crafts here: https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/russia-crafts