Friday, April 4, 2014

Holland {Netherlands} Learning Unit

The twins (homeschool Kindergarten) and I just finished reading The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins.  It's the first book in a series about twins from different countries.  Since it was written in 1911, it's in the public domain and we read about The Dutch Twins on Google Play free on my iPad.  My own twins absolutely adored the stories of Kit and Kat (the Dutch twins) as they went to market with their father, churned butter with their mother, drove the milk cart, learned to ice skate, and met St. Nicholas.  The book also taught them a little bit about Holland, so I decided to include some Holland-themed activities: craft windmills, painting tulips, baking Dutch apple cake, and more..

The kids really enjoyed building these windmill crafts out of a paper towel tube and construction paper.  I originally was planning on making them so they could spin, but the girls ended up gluing on the sails and they loved their creations.  From The Dutch Twins we learned that windmills were essential to Holland not only for grinding grain, but also for pumping water out.  I also showed them pictures of real windmills.

We discussed tulip flowers as a symbol of Holland and the girls painted their own.

I love that now we have some Spring art to decorate the house.

I found a recipe online for Dutch apple cake.  I have no idea how authentic it is, but the girls had a lot of fun baking with me and the results were delicious!

There are so many additional activities we could have done for this mini-unit: decorating wooden shoes, coloring the Netherlands flag, making our own butter, learning about Holland in modern times, etc.. but the activities we ended up doing seemed just right for my Kindergarteners.

Later when the twins were playing on their own, they decided to "build Holland".  They included windmills, a canal for boats, a horse-drawn wagon, a market, and a dyke made of books.  This was all their idea (although Mommy provided a couple tips).  It's fun to see that our little study of Holland has made an impression on them.

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