Thursday, 8 March 2012

Iona the Explorer

  As we are now up to the letter E in our Letter of the Week (more like Letter of the Fortnight, due to other activities taking up time!) I suggested yesterday to Iona that we pretend to be explorers today. She liked the idea, so when we got up I reminded her of different places people had explored (desert, jungle, arctic/antarctic, ocean, space) and asked where she wanted to pretend to go. She chose the jungle, then said she wanted to go to the real woods with me. As we were due to go to craft group at church in the morning, which is on the way to the woods, I agreed we could, then asked how we would go on our adventure. Iona was feeling a bit literal and insisted we would walk. I tried to stay in character and tell her that the jungle was a bit far to walk to, and eventually she joined in and agreed to go by plane. I told her about her uncles' jungle adventure in Malaysia for a couple of weeks in the 1970's, but I don't think she really took me seriously about that (I don't blame her - even I find it hard now to believe they actually did it!). I also looked through World History and Explorers with her over breakfast and later in the day and we learned a little about Columbus, Magellan, Drake, Da Gama and others. We had borrowed the colouring book Women Explorers from Fun Club on Tuesday, so I copied some pages from that, although she didn't colour any in. She also never got around to colouring this Columbus printable from The Holiday Zone, although I am keeping all the printables in her Letter of the Week folder, so if she changes her mind at some point she will still be able to do them.

When it was time for Iona to get dressed she herself chose to wear her khaki and olive pinafore dress, as she said that "Andy in Andy's Wild Adventures wears green". We discussed other clothes to wear, and agreed that she needed thick trousers to protect her legs, a hat to protect her head from the sun, a waterproof coat, strong boots, and thick gloves "to protect my hands from snakes"! We also packed her explorer's rucksack with a telescope and binoculars, although we couldn't find her camera, so we agreed that Mummy's would have to do.

At craft group Iona has begun to work on her own scrapbook while I do my own crafts, so for today's activity I decided to follow an activity which I found on The Holiday Zone's Columbus Day activities. We talked about the furthest she'd ever been, which was our holiday last year. With a bit of prompting she remembered this was Dorset, and I found our holiday photos and invited her to choose some to print out for her scrapbook. She enjoyed doing this, and at craft I cut them out for her and she stuck several into her book, decorating the pages with stickers. This provided a good way to reinforce the idea of herself as explorer.

After 45 minutes at craft we left (Iona was in a bit of a "silly" mood today and as most of the attendees are older ladies I didn't want us to outstay our welcome!). Iona heard some other children going to the park and said she wanted to go there, so we made that our jungle:
The intrepid explorer spies out the land

Now for a spot of mountain climbing
 When we had been there for about 45 minutes I said it was time to go, but Iona was still keen to go into the wood. She said she was not too tired, so I agreed to go home the very long way (about another 45 minutes), through part of the wood. Again, she tended to be very literal about what we were seeing (e.g. a dog), but began to get more into it, so that when a van came past just after we crossed a small road she told me that there was a crocodile in the river!

When we finally reached home Iona seemed quite tired, but managed to eat a little lunch. Afterwards she curled up on the settee next to me watching TV (2 programmes I found on Madagascar and the jungle) while I showed her how to magnetise a needle and make it into a compass, as in The Science Activity Book. It wasn't easy to magnetise it, and took a lot more strokes with the magnet than the 50 recommended in the book, but it worked slightly in the end, pointing vaguely north when floated in water, and was a good way to introduce the idea of compasses. Iona, however, was more interested in a spot of water play, and proceeded to fill the bowl with as many of her craft supplies as she could!
Back at home she makes a compass

Close-up of the home-made compass

 To close the Explorers' Day we looked at Iona's children's atlas and I showed and told her all the places her Dragon ancestors had explored: from France to Reunion Isle to Southampton to London to Swanage to Bristol then Woking and finally to where we live today, each generation since 1818 being born in a different place.

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