My kids love to explore new countries as a Theme Day. We have a huge list of places we want to learn about, but this time we picked a country we will be travelling to very soon. When we decided to save up for a European vacation that would have us visiting three different countries, it only seemed logical to explore our destinations. We have some friends living in Austria right now so it was especially fun to explore this country. But you don’t need to plan a vacation overseas to have an International Theme Day because anytime is a good time to learn about a new country!
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
Austria is officially known as the Republic of Austria and is a country situated in Central Europe. Eight countries border it: Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Take out a globe or atlas before you have this Theme Day or go online to show your child where Austria is and compare it to where you live. For more information about Austria check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austria
So many wonderful classical composers came from Austria. It would be fitting to listen to some classical music from one of these : Mozart, Haydn, Strauss, Schubert, to name but a few.
The Austrian National Anthem is called Land der Berge, Land am Strome (which means “Land of the mountains, land on the river”) and Mozart is usually credited as the composer. For information and to read the lyrics check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_der_Berge,_Land_am_Strome
For information about the Austrian national anthem check here: http://www.nationalanthems.info/at.htm
Click here to listen to an instrumental version of the Austrian National Anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrZPaI1MrxU
To listen to the Austrian national Anthem being sung click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qyTnc8ZxU8
You can find many free coloring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Austria Coloring Pages” or print out my Welcome to Austria Coloring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: What do you know about Austria? What would you like to learn about Austria?
NOTE: I like to do the journal prompt last for International Theme Days to see what my children have learned: Would you like to visit Austria? Why or why not? If you travelled to Austria what would you like to visit or do? What are three interesting facts you learned about Austria?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or poem about Austria.
Print out one of my Austria Word Searches:
Check here for the answer keys:
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books that may take place in Austria.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about Austria.
Go to the library on your own to find books about Austria from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject. Reserve them if you can to save time.
For non-fiction titles for this theme day try these:
· Austria, by Deborah Grahame, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2007 - A great resource to learn all about Austria.
· Austria, by R. Conrad Stein, Children’s Press, 2000—A thorough look at Austria with many photos , looks at nature, landscape, history, government, economy, culture, customs, etc.
· Christmas in Austria, and it’s Capital, Vienna, by world Book, Inc, 2008—There is a lot of information in this book making it better suited for older kids who may want to explore Christmas in Austria in more detail.
· Haydn’s World, by James R. Norton, Rosen Central, 2008—This book would be better suited for older student who are interested in exploring more detail about the famous Austrian composer, Haydn. (Another composer in this series of books who spent a lot of time is Beethoven, check out that book if you want to learn more about him).
· Lipizzans Are My Favorite!, by Elaine Landau, Lerner Publications Company, 2012— An easy to read book with fun facts about these beautiful white horses that are famous in Austria’s Spanish Riding School. Horse loving children will adore this book.
· Masters of Music: The Life and Times of Franz Peter Schubert, by John Bankston, Mitchel Lane Publishers, 2004— again, this book is better suited for older youth especially the chapter entitle “Bad choices” so you may want a heads up on that if you are exploring the life of this composer. (Other Austrian composers that have titles in this series are Haydn, Mozart and include composers who spent a great deal of time in Austria like Brahams, and Beethoven).
· Mozart: The Boy Who Changed The World with his Music, by Marcus weeks, National Geographic, 2007— This is a great book that has a lot of easy to read details about Mozart.
Here are some picture books that takes place in Austria. Some are more Non-Fiction as they tell historical stories but I’ve included them under picture books because of their illustrations:
· A Gift For Mama, by Linda Ravin Lodding and illustrated by Alison Jay, 2014—a beautiful tale that takes you through the streets of Vienna with a sweet message about kindness and generosity.
· The Goose Man: The Story of Konrad Lorenz, by Elaine Greenstein, Clarion Books, 2009—The story of a boy who loved animals and grew up to be a famous scientist of animal behaviour, founding the science of animal behaviour called ethology. This book focuses on his research on geese.
· For the love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart, by Elizabeth Rusch and paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, Tricycle Press, 2011—drawn from actual letters written by he Mozart family this beautifully illustrated book looks at the life of Mozart’s sister, who was also a musical prodigy.
· Play, Mozart, Play!, by Peter Sís, Greenwillow Books, 2006 – A fun picture book that shows Mozart as a boy.
· Running with the Horses, by Alison Lester, NorthSouth, 2009—This story, while fiction, was inspired by the rescue of the Lipizzaner stallions from the Spanish Riding school in Vienna during the second World war.
· Silent Night: The Song and Its Story, written by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Tim Ladwig, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 1997—The story of the beloved Christmas Carol ‘Silent Night” is illustrated with beautiful paintings in this book.
· Young Mozart, by Rachel Isadora, Viking, 1997—The story of Mozart ‘s life from childhood to death is captured with beautiful watercolour illustrations.
BLACK EAGLE CRAFT:
NOTE: The Black Eagle is the National animal of Austria. It is also featured on the coat of arms for Austria.
Materials: Black Paper, yellow paper, googly eyes, white glue and glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers, more coloured paper to glue the craft on if desired.
Step 1: Trace your child's hands, left and right, on black paper for the wings. Cut them out.
Step 2: Have your child hold his/her three middle fingers (ring, middle and index) together and then trace them onto black paper for the tail feathers.
Step 3: Cut out a large oval from the black paper and a circle to fit on top as the head (you can trace around a cup for the head).
Step 4: Cut out a curved beak and two small ovals from the yellow paper for the talons.
Step 5: Have your child glue all the piece together to assemble the eagle.
Step 6: If desired the entire eagle can be glued to coloured paper. Glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or display.
MINI MOZART/COMPOSER BUST:
NOTE: There are so many famous composers of classical music from Austria: Mozart, Haydn, Strauss, Schubert, even Beethoven lived in Austria. This craft is inspired by the small Mozart bust my Aunt bought me in Salzburg when I was younger and taking piano lessons.
Materials: Empty paper toilet roll, white paint, white paper, markers or crayons, tape and glue stick, child safe scissors.
Step 1: Paint the paper roll white (or wrap with white paper and glue the paper on).
Step 2: When the paint has have your child dried draw a little face.
Step 3: Cut a slip of paper into a long triangle and then cut small stripes.
Step 4: (Parent step) Using scissors as if you were curling ribbon, curl the small strips of paper to create the curls on a wig.
Step 5: Have your child glue the stripes onto the long triangle to create a little wig.
Step6: Apply glue onto the bottom of the flat end of the triangle wig and then press to glue it inside the toilet paper roll over the face. The long point end of the triangle will hang over the back like a wig.
Step 7: Cut out a wide triangle to represent the shoulders of the bust of Mozart. Cut the pointy tip off the triangle and then draw a collar and some buttons. Cut out a long thin slip of white paper and curl it to create the ruffle of a cravat.
SILENT NIGHT SUNCATCHER CRAFT:
Note: From late November to early January many Christmas related traditions are celebrated in Austria. From advent wreaths to Christmas markets, St. Nicholas’ Day and the Twelve Nights, there are lots of ways Austrians celebrate the season.
Note: Silent Night (or Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht) is a well-known Christmas carol composed in Austria by Franz Xavier Gruber. He was a primary school teacher and church organist. The lyrics were written by a young priest named Father Joseph Mohr. The song was first performed on Christmas Eve, 1818.
Materials: Waxed paper, iron (for parent use only), black paper, coloured tissue paper, pencil, child safe scissors, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers, the lyrics to silent night printed out (optional).
Step 1: Cut out five strips of black paper the same length and have your child glue them in a house shape to represent the manger.
Step 2: Lay out a long sheet of waxed paper (it must be long enough to fold over and cover the craft as if sandwiched. Fold it in half to make sure and then do all of the work on the one half.
Step 3: Glue the black manger frame to the wax paper on one half.
Step 4: Have your child draw a simple silhouette of the manger scene or draw it for your child. We had a shadow figure of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Cut that out and have your child glue it in the manger on the wax paper.
Step 5: Next glue the words to silent Night above the figures. We used only the first verse.
Step 6: Cut out many pieces of coloured tissue paper in squares or triangles or strips, it doesn’t really matter. And then apply glue to the wax paper and over the lyrics and figures. Have your child glue the colourful pieces onto the picture. Once it is flipped dover it will look like stained glass.
Step 7: Fold over the waxed paper and then carefully carry over to the hot iron.
Step 8: (Parent step) Lay a thin towel or rag on your ironing board (one that is long enough to hold the craft and then fold over and cover the craft (to sandwich it).
Step 9: (Parent step) Press the hot iron on the cloth over the craft. You will have to do this a few times and press hard to melt the wax and seal the craft within the wax paper. Even when I thought it was finished there were parts that didn't seal well. So once I cut the craft out I ironed it again.
Step 10: Once cool to the touch cut around the craft keeping a boarder of wax paper to keep the craft sealed.
Step 11: Place or tape the craft onto a window for a lovely Christmas Themed sun catcher.
KLIMT TREE OF LIFE INSPIRED CRAFT:
NOTE: Gustav Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter. His most famous work is probably The Kiss http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gustav_Klimt_016.jpg but another favourite of mine is the Tree of Life: http://www.gustav-klimt.com/The-Tree-Of-Life.jsp .
Materials: Gold or yellow/ochre paint, brown paint, white and black paint, other paint colours in earth tones, brushes, a cup of water, wax paper to use as a pallet, a craft canvas (you can buy them at the dollar store for cheap), art smock or old clothes to ear, newspaper or plastic to over your work area.
Step 1: Show your child a picture of the Tree of Life for inspiration. Check the link above or find a book at the library.
Step 2: Have your child paint the background a pale yellow or ochre color of paint. Canvas works well for this art project but you could always use paper or cardboard.
Step 3: When the background dries have your child draw a tree with curly branches like Kilmt’s tree. You could always paint the tree yourself for younger children.
Step 4: When the tree trunk dries have your child draw spots and lines and decorations in gold, black, white, yellow, brown… we found some gold glitter paint and used that as Kilmt used gold leaf in his work.
Step 5: Let the painting draw and then display!
PAPER STORK IN A CHIMNEY:
NOTE: Storks nest on roof tops of the chimneys in Austria and are considered good luck. To watch some old black and white footage of these birds check out this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDt2A4VzY8w
NOTE: My youngest found this interesting fact about Storks in Austria and so I had to include a craft based on it.
Materials: White paper cut into a square for origami, brown paper, blue paper, black paper, white and yellow paper (optional), child safe scissors, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Watch this video on how to make an origami stork. We didn’t worry too much about the feet (the last steps as you can’t see the feet in the final craft). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8QRhWLCr-k You may need to help younger children with this as origami can be tricky.
Step 2: cut out a slip of brown paper to be the roof of a building. You could include the bottom of a building but my youngest only wanted the roof and he wanted the picture with the paper horizontal instead of vertical.
Step 3: Glue the brown paper to the blue paper and then have yoru child draw shingles for the roof.
Step 4: Cut out a slip of black paper to be the chimney. It must be long enough to curl up a bit and fit the stork like a pocket.
Step 5: Glue the black paper on two sides to create a bump which is like a pocket. Let it dry and then fit the stork in it.
Step 6: (Optional) cut out paper clouds or a sun for embellishment as my son did.
LIPIZZAN HORSE STENCIL CRAFT:
NOTE: The Lipizzan or Lipizzaner is a breed of horses used in the Spanish Riding School of Vienna to perform. For more information check here: http://www.srs.at/en/ and http://www.lipizzan.org/aboutlipizzans.html
To view these beautiful horses check out these links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeTPKllPtlE
Material: A Copy of my Horse Template Printable, white paint, coloured paper, kitchen sponge or craft sponge, newspaper to colour your work space, wax paper for a pallet, art smock or old clothes., cutting board and craft knife/x-acto knife (parent use only)., black sharpie marker.
Step 1: (Parent step) put the horse template on a cutting board and carefully cut it out using a craft knife.
Step 2: Have your child pick the background colour and then hold the printable worksheet (with the horse cut out) on top. Hold it down for your child so it doesn’t move.
Step 3: Have your child dip the craft sponge or kitchen sponge (we cut up a brand new sponge into squares to use for crafts like these) in the white paint and then press on the template to create the white silhouette of a horse.
Step 4: Let the paid dry and then have your child draw the black saddle, hooves, black stockings (or whatever the technical term is) and bridle on the horse. We sue black sharpie marker but a small paintbrush could work.
VEINNA BOYS CHOIR CORKS:
NOTE: The Vienna Boys’ Choir is probably one of the world’s most famous choirs . Boys between the ages of ten and fourteen sing in it. For more information check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Boys%27_Choir
Step 1: Paint the bottom of the cork and the very top (as a cap) Navy blue and let dry.
Step 2: Add a light blue collar, v-neck on the front and straight across on the back and let dry.
Step 3: Add white between the collar. (The uniform officially has three stripes on the collar as well but corks are too small to paint that kind of detail). You could also add a small yellow dot to the front of the hat and the chest as the crest (again this isn’t accurate to the real uniforms but will due for a little cork representation).
Step 4: Use a Sharpie Marker to draw a little face.
DIRNDL AND LEDERHOSEN CRAFT:
NOTE: A dirndl is the historical costume of Alpine peasants, a traditional dress worn in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and South Tyrol. Check here for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirndl.
NOTE: Lederhosen are breeches made of leather and are a traditional national costume in German-Speaking countries. Check here for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lederhosen
Materials: two thick craft sticks (popsicle sticks are too thin), coloured paper, markers, white glue, googly eyes, child safe scissors.
Step 1: Cut out two white shirts that will “fit” the width of the craft stick and have your child glue them on, leaving room for the head and hair/hat.
Step 2: Cut out a long skirt in one colour (we used green) and then two thin strips as suspenders. Have your child glue these on the craft stick that will be the girl.
Step 3: Cut out some long shorts (just a rectangle with a triangle slit) and two suspenders plus a piece to cross over the suspenders. Have your child glue these on t he boy.
Step 4: next cut out a little hat and feather to glue on the boy and an apron (we used scrapbook paper for this) and have your child glue them on.
Step 5: Now your child can draw a face and add details on the clothing like buttons or stitches, even hair.
Step 6: Lastly, using white glue, attach two googly eyes on each craft stick. Let them dry before your child can play with them as puppets.
NOTE: Breakfast in Austria is usually “continental style” which means bread rolls with jam or cold meats and cheese, along with coffee, tea or juice.
Kaiserschmarrn – soft fluffy pancake ripped into bites and roasted slightly in a pan, served with applesauce http://www.bavariankitchen.com/desserts/kaiserschmarrn.aspx
Jause or Brettjause – (I have this under snacks but really this is traditionally a light dinner in Austria or would make a nice lunch). This is a perfect snack to share, served on a wooden board. Just arrange various deli meats and nice cheese along with pickles and soft or hard boiled eggs. Yum.
Belegte Brote - A mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack of a slice of bread topped with cheese or ham, really an open faced sandwich.
Hot Chocolate: Viennese hot chocolate is a rich treat with heavy cream and real chocolate. Try this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/viennese-hot-chocolate-305500
NOTE: Traditionally, in Austria, the midday meal was the main meal of the day but that isn’t so much the case any more in modern times. I’m offering more American styled choices here for a mid-day meal but if you want to be more authentic serve these or the Brettjause platter in the evening.
Rindsuppe is a beef broth soup. I didn’t get a chance to make this one but found a recipe here: http://ifood.tv/soup/58564-rindsuppe-brown-beef-soup
Liptauer is a spicy cheese spread. Serve it on a nice of bread. Here is a recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Liptauer-109388
Frankfurter sausages – These are not American hot dogs! Try some for something familiar to kids.
NOTE: The most popular meats in Austria are pork, beef and chicken.
Wiener Schnitzel – This dish is traditionally made of veal but you can make yours with chicken or pork. I used chicken and didn’t use as much oil; I suppose mind are more pan-fried than deep-fried. Here is the recipe I used: http://www.food.com/recipe/grandmas-secret-wiener-schnitzel-recipe-11200
Traditionally Schnitzel is served with a slice of lemon, Kopfsalat (a lettuce salad dressed in a vinaigrette), potato salad, cucumber salad or parsley potatoes. For a Kopfsalat recipe check here: http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/973922-Kopfsalat I replaced the Maggi seasoning with soy sauce.
Gulasch (Goulash) – For another Austrian meal make some goulash. Here is a recipe from Austrian-born celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/wolfgangs-beef-goulash-recipe.html. I haven’t made it yet but it looks tasty.
Spätzle are a kind of soft egg noodle or dumpling. The above goulash recipe also has a Spätzle recipe.
Wurst can refer to cold cuts or sausages. Serve some up for a simple taste of Austria.
NOTE: Austrian Cakes and pastries are well-known. Here are a few to try to find at specialty bakeries or you can try to make some yourself:
Apfelstrudel/Apple strudel – These are always good. Here is a recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/apfelstrudel-classic-apple-strudel-recipe.html
Millirahmstrudel / Milk-cream strudel – Here’s a recipe for this treat: http://www.tasty-cuisine.com/Bavarian-Millirahmstrudel-Biscuits-recipe/Bavarian-Millirahmstrudel-Biscuits-recipe.html
Topfenstrufel/Cream cheese strudel – Here’s a recipe for this strudel: http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipes.recipeListing/filter/dianas/recipeID/896/Recipe.cfm
Palatshinken – pancakes similar to crepes filled with jam – My kids love pancakes of all kinds so we attempted to make these: http://www.austria.info/uk/austrian-cuisine/palatschinken-austrian-pancakes-2003660.html Here is another recipe: http://cookmap.com/en/recipes/palatschinken-austrianhungarian-style-pancakes
Sachertorte – This is a chocolate cake with an apricot filling eaten with whipped cream. Yum! I hope to make this one day. Here’s a recipe” http://www.austria.info/uk/austrian-cuisine/sacher-torte-1561460.html
PEZ – if baking these delicacies is too much work you could always serve some PEZ candy. PEZ was created in 1927 by Edward Haas in Vienna Austria!
Print out a copy of my Austrian Flag Worksheet and have your child colour it red.
GEOGRAPHY OF AUSTRIA:
Print out a copy of my Basic Geography of Austria Worksheet and have your child colour it. Then together as a family search an atlas or online for the capital city of Austria. Have your child write the answer on the worksheet. We also wrote the names of the main river that flows in the north of Austria. Please excuse any anomalies in the shape of the country as the worksheet was drawn by me and hence is not perfect.
Austria is a European country and is surrounded by eight other countries. Print out a copy of my Basic Geography of Europe/Austria Worksheet and have your child colour all the different countries. Together as a family research and find the names of the countries and label the map. Please excuse an inaccuracies; Europe was hard to draw!
LANGUAGE IN AUSTRIA:
The official language of Austria is German. Print out my Common German Words for Austria Printable and try to say some everyday phrases in German. I apologise for any errors. Here is where I found the words I used:
http://www.europa-pages.co.uk/lessons/german-basics.html, and http://www.360travelguide.com/Austria/languages.asp, and http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g190410-s604/Austria:Important.Phrases.html, and http://www.wikihow.com/Count-to-20-in-German
For more information about Austria, specifically traveling there, try this site: http://www.austria.info/us
To see the top ten tourist attractions in Austria check here: http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-austria/
For information about Christmas traditions in Austria look here:
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand) to see if you can find any shows about Greece or Greek Mythology.
For a travel video to take a peek at what Austria is like try these titles:
· Europe to the Max: Fairy Tale Europe: Germany and Austria, Small World Publications, Inc., - We watched the segment on Salzburg and the Lake District and the one on Vienna and the Danube.
· Countries Around the World: Austria, Schlessinger Media, 2007—This is a great series for introducing different countries to kids because each one is only 13 minutes long.
Mozart memorial in the Burggarten, Vienna
Journaling about Austria
Black Eagle Craft
Mini Mozart Bust
Silent Night Craft
Klimt Inspired Tree of Life Painting
Paper Stork in Chimney Origami Craft
Lipizzaner Horse craft—Stencil Art
Austrian Food Ideas
Choirboy Cork Craft
Austria Learning Printables
The Imperial Palace in Vienna, Austria
Dirndl and Lederhosen Craft