2012 marked Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne) and with the 2012 Summer Olympics being held in London I thought it would be a great time for my kids to learn about England.
My mom recalled the parades in her home town as a child when the Queen was crowned and wanted to do something with her grandchildren to give them a royal memory as well. We decided on a Tea Party and England Theme Day! We didn’t do all of the crafts on the day of the party but we did the worksheets, enjoyed some tea and tea sandwiches and wore our lovely hats! It truly was a family affair with my boys, their cousin, two of their aunts, their grandmother and of course their mother enjoying this Theme Day. As well, family overseas participated by sending photos and emailing stories of my sons’ great-parents and their great-aunt who met the Queen in New Zealand in the 1950’s! We even inspired our far away relatives to host their own English Tea Party!
However, you don’t need a royal occasion or even a planned vacation to the United Kingdom to have this Theme Day as any time is a good time to learn about a different country.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
Take out a globe or an atlas or go online to show your children where England is located and compare it to where you live.
The perfect children’s song for this Theme Day is “London Bridge is Falling Down.” For lyrics and to hear the tune check here: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/l037.html. For some history about the song check here: http://www.rhymes.org.uk/london-bridge-is-falling-down.htm
There are many famous English bands and singers. Pick your favourite and play some songs for this Theme Day. We listened to the Beatles!
England does not have an official national anthem but generally “God Save the Queen/King” is used. For some history of the song check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Save_the_Queen and for written lyrics check here: http://www.hymns.me.uk/god-save-the-queen-hymn.htm. To listen to the anthem check here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN9EC3Gy6Nk
I know the classical song is called Trumpet Voluntary – The Prince of Denmark’s March but it is a very regal sounding song so you could always play that one.
A great nursery rhyme for this Theme Day is “The Noble Duke of York” which I’ve also heard called “The Grand Old Duke of York.” Check here for the words: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/n009.html
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “England Colouring Pages” or print out my England Colouring 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 England? What types of things are there to see and do in England? If you went to England what would you most like to see or do? What did you learn about England by having this Theme Day?
NOTE: We opted to write the journal entry at the end of the Theme Day to see what the kids learned and liked about England!
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 that takes place in England or a poem about what they know or learned about England.
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books that take place in England.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about England.
Go to the library on your own to find books that take place in England or are about England 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 (Search “England” or “Britain” under “Children’s Books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles:
· Don’t Know Much About the Kings & Queens of England, by Kenneth C. Davis and illustrated by S.D. Schindler, HarperCollins Publishers, 2002—If your older child is interested in the monarchy of England and history this would be a good book for your budding historian to read.
· Elizabeth I: The Outcast Who Became England’s Queen, by Simon Adams, National Geographic, 2005—This is another book that might appeal to older kids who are more interested in the history of England, specifically the Elizabethan era. It has an easy to read format with lots of information and pictures throughout.
· England, by Michael Dahl, Capstone Press, 2005—Part of the Q&A Factfinders Series, this is the perfect book for an introduction to England as it is not too long, offers answers to simple questions, and has larger thorough text.
· England, by Tracey Boraas, Bridgestone Books, 2003—This is another thorough little book with slightly more detail than the above book (more text). It covers a lot like the land, climate, wildlife, history, economy and culture of England and includes maps and photographs.
· England: The Culture, by Erinn Banting, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2004—Part of the Bobbie Kalman Lands., Peoples, and Cultures Series this book highlights the culture of England including religion, festivals, art, music and architecture etc. We also looked at England: The Land from the same series.
· Games People Play: England, by William Lychack, Children’s Press, 1995—Any sports minded kids will enjoy this look at cricket, soccer, rugby, equestrian sports etc. in England. It is better suited for older readers .
· Stonehenge, by Catherine M. Petrini, Thomson Gale, 2006—Part of the Wonders of the World series this is a small but pretty thorough book for older kids looking for some information about the mysterious Stonehenge in England.
Here are some picture books:
· B is for Big Ben, written by Pamela Duncan Edwards and illustrated by Melanie Rose, sleeping Bear Press, 2008—Each letter highlights something from England’s history, culture or land etc. with rhyming text and beautiful paintings plus there are additional facts along side each page for older kids to learn more about each topic.
· Dodsworth in London, by Tim Egan, Houghton Mifflin Books For Children, 2009—This would be a good book for early grades as it has four small chapters with easy text but my littlest simply enjoyed the story of Dodsworth and his duck friend.
· Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Medieval Castle, by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen, Scholastic press, 2003—The delightfully wacky Ms. Frizzle of the Magic School Bus books and shows whisks a student away on a medieval adventure all the while teaching the reader about life in a 12th century castle.
· Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow, retold by Robert D. San Souci and illustrated by E.B. Lewis, orchard Books, 2010—This beautifully illustrated book is based on the traditional English ballad and retells the story of Robin Hood outsmarting the Sheriff of Nottingham by joining an archery contest in disguise.
· Saint George and the Dragon, retold by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, Little, brown and Company, 1984—This Caldecott medal winning book is a long story for a picture book but it has beautiful illustrations and is a great adventure.
· This is London, by Miroslav Sasek, Universe Publishing, 2004—Fun illustrations and text lead the reader on a journey through London.
· A Walk in London, by Salvatore Rubbino, Candlewick Press, 2011—We really enjoyed this book which has a young girl and her mother touring England. The illustrations are full of fun details and little bits of trivia are included throughout. I used this book along side my old photos of when I backpacked in Europe and went to England to show my boys actual photos of the places in the book.
· You Wouldn’t Want to be a Victorian Servant! A Thankless Job You’d Rather Not Have, written by Fiona MacDonald and illustrated by David Antram, Franklin Watts, 2005—My eldest likes this series, which is more of a nonfiction book than a picture book but I placed it here due to the fun illustrations.
NOTE: There are many famous children’s stories by British authors. Try Peter Pan, by J.M Barrie; anything by Beatrix Potter (like The Tale of Peter Rabbit); The Wind and the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame; and Paddington Bear, by Michael Bond; and of course (my eldest son’s favourite) any of the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling.
NOTE: If you are going to have a tea party like we did you might want to start by making some hats for the party ahead of time as they take a bit more work than my other suggested crafts.
TOP HATS AND FASCINATOR HATS:
NOTE: My mom created these crafts and spent only $15 at the dollar store for supplies!
Materials: Measure tape (optional but helpful), black construction paper, string, tape, pencil, child safe scissors, stapler, tape.
Step 1: Measure your child’s head with the measuring tape to get a basic size. Tape a bit of string onto the black construction paper and then wrap the string around a pencil at the other end. By pulling the string taunt (not to tightly as it is only taped to the paper) and moving the pencil around you can draw a circle to fit your child’s head.
Step 2: keep the string taped and wrapped around the pencil but release a bit more string. Move the pencil around again to create another circle around the first one. This created hoop will be the brim of the hat once it is cut out.
Step 3: Cut out the hoop you just created in the first two steps and trace the middle of the hoop onto more black paper. This will be the top of the hat. You can now cut that out but be sure to leave tabs attached to the circle to fold down and fasten to the hat later on.
Step 4: Cut out a long rectangle of black paper slightly higher than the height you want the top hat to be and as long as needed to roll into a cylinder that will fit inside the black hoop from the above steps. Staple the paper together to create a cylinder.
Step 5: Cut some tabs at the bottom of the cylinder and fold them outward. Fit the hoop through the cylinder. It should slip all the way down the cylinder and be stopped by the tabs.
Step 6: Tape the tabs to the underside of the hoop.
Step 7: Set the circle for the top of the hat with the tabs bent at the top of the cylinder. You may want to have a piece of tape ready in one hand reaching up through the cylinder to tap a tab to the inside of the cylinder. This will help the circle stay in place and make it easier to tape the other tabs.
Step 8: Tape all the tabs and viola you have a top hat for your little gentleman.
Materials: An old head band (or one from the dollar store), two small paper plates, tape, craft felt or other material to cover the paper plate, sharp scissors (adult use only), newspaper, glue gun (I don’t usually request this as a material as most people do not have them...I certainly didn’t have one for the longest time, but I did find one at the dollar store! You could use other glue or even tape and staples but the hat will not be as sturdy. The glue gun made the hats last!), feathers or fake flowers or plastic birds (all found at the dollar store), a bath puff (if you cut it open it can be used as mesh on the hats), sequins or old buttons or old costume jewelry (really anything sparkly that you want to add)…
Step 1: Cut the rim off the paper plates to make two small circles. Trace the circles onto the fabric or craft felt to make two fabric circles be sure to cut one slightly bigger than the circle. Cut out the circles.
Step 2: Tape the headband to one of the paper plate circles. You want to position the paper plates on the top and slightly to the side of the headband. This will be the base for the decorations.
Step 3: Tape the second paper plate circle to the other plate to sandwich the headband (roll up some tape balls to do this).
Step 4: Set up newspapers and (adult step only) using the glue gun (carefully!!!) glue the fabric around the paper plates. This will secure the plates onto the headband and will give the hats a nice finished look.
Step 5: Let the glue dry. Have your child pick the decorations to put on the hat at this point.
Step 6: Once the fabric base is dry you can (parent step only) use the glue gun (carefully!!!) to attach the decorations!
Step 7: Once the glue dries the fascinator hats are ready to wear. You may have to secure the headband to your child’s head using bobby pins if it is top heavy (My hat with the large orange flower and feathers was top heavy and I needed to pin it to my head for the party).
BUCKINGHAM PALACE GUARD POPSICLE STICK:
Materials: Craft sticks or popsicle sticks, red paint, black paint, yellow paint, black pom pom, white glue, googly eyes (optional but oh so cute!), black marker, newspaper or plastic to cover work area, art smocks or old clothes to wear when painting, paint brushes, a jar of water, paper towels, wax paper or paint pallet.
Step 1: Show your child a picture of a palace guard from Buckingham Palace. Here’s a good picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Buckingham-palace-guard-11279634947G5ru.jpg
Step 2: Have your child paint the bottom part of the craft stick black to be the guard’s pants.
Step 3: Have your child paint the middle of the craft stick red, leaving room at the top for a pom pom and space to draw a face or glue googly eyes.
Step 4: Have your child add details in yellow paint like buttons or a belt.
Step 5: Let your child dip the black pom pom in white glue (on the wax paper) and then stick it to the top of the craft stick to be the hat of the guard.
Step 5: (Optional) Have your child glue two googly eyes on the face of the guard OR just have your child either paint or draw with a black marker the face of the guard.
Step 6: Let the glue and paint dry.
Step 7: These can be used as stick puppets, as decoration for potted plants or as bookmarks!
PAPER CASTLE PICTURE:
NOTE: Prior to this craft I printed out small copies of the top 16 castles of England (according to this website— http://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/top-16-best-castles-in-england/). You could do the same or just have your child look on the internet.
Materials: A picture of the castle your children want to make (or let them make up their own), various pieces of coloured paper (this is a good craft to use up scrap paper), child safe scissors, glue stick, pencils or markers for embellishments.
Step 1: Have your child look at the picture of the English Castle he/she wants to use as the model for the picture. Show your child how the castle can be made using different shapes. Point out some ideas to help younger kids.
Step 2: Have your child cut out shapes from different coloured pieces of paper to glue together to form the castle on another sheet of paper. You may have to cut out the shapes for younger children.
Step 3: Encourage your child to add embellishments using pencil or markers when the castle is complete.
Step 4: Display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
ROYAL PAPER CROWNS:
Materials: Yellow construction paper, child safe scissors, tape, white glue, wax paper, cottonballs, plastic jewels (I found ours at a dollar store) or sequins or glitter or glitter glue or glittery foam with sticker backing.
Step 1: Cut a strip of yellow construction paper and loop it to form a circle that will fit your child’s head. We had to use two strips of construction paper and stapled them together. Staple the strip together to make the crown’s base.
Step 2: Cut two more strips of yellow construction paper and cut the length to dome the top of the crown. Arrange them inside the crown’s base and tape to place.
Step 3: Stretch out come cotton balls to make them fluffy and long (choose enough to circle the base of the crown. Have your child glue them around the crown’s base using white glue. I put some white glue onto a piece of waxed paper and then my sons could dip the cotton balls into the glue before pressing them to the paper loop.
Step 4: Leave the crown on a piece of waxed paper and let the glue dry before decorating.
Step 5: Give your child the glittery embellishments and have him/her decorate the crown so it is fit for a queen or king!
Step 6: Let the crown dry and then take turns wearing it!
POP-OUT LONDON BRIDGE:
NOTE: Most people think the pretty Tower Bridge is the London Bridge from the song but that is not the case. Check here for some history on the song: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge_Is_Falling_Down
Materials: A piece of white construction paper folded into a card or some blank cards (found at craft stores), a pencil, a ruler, child safe scissors, crayons or markers or pencil crayons.
Step 1: Measure and draw two parallel lines to make the height of the bridge. Draw the lines on the folded part of the card spacing them as far apart as you want the bridge to be. Ours was about 10 cm long and two lines about 5 cm tall.
Step 2: Open the card and push in the cut portion, folding down again to press into place. Once you open the card again you will have a simple pop out step.
Step 3: Lay the card flat again and have your child draw a simple bridge onto the cut out step. The bottom rectangle will be the base of the bridging looking side on, the top rectangle will be the top o the bride where the cars drive.
Step 4: Have your child colour in the drawing using crayons, pencil crayons or markers. Push the drawing out once more to create the step and you will see the pop up bridge!
NOTE: If you want to make this into a Birthday card or other card you can glue this card to another with the folds aligning. Your child can then draw another picture on the cover of the card and when the card is open the pop up bridge will appear and surprise the recipient of the card!
ROBIN HOOD HAT:
NOTE: Robin Hood is a famous character from English folklore. Check here for the history of this outlaw hero: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_hood
Materials: Green construction paper, red paper, stapler, tape.
Step 1: You will need a large green square of paper for this craft. We made ours with a piece of green construction paper that was standard scrapbooking size but that made a slightly too small hat so I would recommend a slightly larger size.
Step 2: Fold the green paper in the middle but not quite in the middle. You want a line of paper at the end that is not covered by the folded paper.
Step 3: Next, fold that folded paper in half and unfold again. This will mark the middle.
Step 4: With the original fold at the top take the top right corner and fold along the marked middle to form a triangle. You will not go past the extra paper at the bottom.
Step 5: Do the same with the top left corner I then stapled the two formed triangles to one side of the paper so that when it is opened to form the hat they stay against the back of the hat. You could also glue or tape them.
Step 6: Flip the paper over and the n fold up the extra paper along the bottom to form the rim of the hat. You can now gently open the paper to create the hat .
Step 7: To make the red feather, cut out a simple leaf shape from the red paper and then cut slits along each side to create the feathery look. Tape the feather inside the folded rim of the hat.
Step 8: Let your little hero wear the creation and have fun using his/her imagination!
For a simple English Breakfast serve up some toast Soldiers (toast cut into strips) to dip in a soft boiled egg.
If your kids are REALLY hungry you could make a Full English Breakfast which would generally include beans, toast, eggs, and sausage but could also include cooked tomato, friend mushrooms, corned beef hash etc.
Make some scones or crumpets or buy some if you can and serve with jam or clotted cream.
NOTE: I’ve made scones based on this Nigella Lawson recipe, who incidentally is English - (http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/basic-scones-3095) but instead of using chopped butter I actually freeze the butter and then shred it. I find this is the easiest way to crumble the butter into the flour (this works well for pie crusts as well).
You could serve your children some English Breakfast tea or other English Tea which goes well with a yummy scone (if the caffeine worries you give your kids herbal tea).
We made tea sandwiches for our England Theme Day Tea Party! The simplest to make are Cucumber Tea Sandwiches (white bread with the crusts cut off, butter and sliced cucumbers cut into tiny squares or triangles), but if you are looking for more ideas we made these: http://www.canadianliving.com/food/cooking_school/how_to_make_tea_sandwiches_pinwheels_triangles_squares_and_fingers.php
Another idea is to try a Ploughman’s Lunch which is basically a cold meal served in pubs that includes bread, cheese, ham, pickles etc. For two examples try these recipes: http://www.food.com/recipe/traditional-english-pub-style-ploughmans-lunch-250126 or http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/ploughmans-lunch-recipe/index.html
NOTE: Here is the origins or the Ploughman’s Lunch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ploughman%27s_lunch
For an easy English dinner try Fish and Chips (French fries).
Bangers and Mash might appeal to your kids as well (sausages and mashed potatoes).
Shepherd’s Pie is another dish you could have for this Theme Day.
For something more ambitious make a roast beef and serve with Yorkshire pudding. You could try Jaime Oliver’s recipe since he is English! http://www.food.com/recipe/jamie-olivers-huge-yorkshire-puddings-171106
If you’ve made a roast beef with vegetables try Bubble and Squeak the next day which is basically just fried up left overs (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bubble-n-squeak/).
Another English dish is Toad in the Hole which are sausages cooked in Yorkshire Pudding batter.
DESSERT (called PUDDING in England):
Here are a few English desserts you might want to try to make or buy:
· Victoria Sponge cake
· Trifle (a non-alcoholic version, of course – so soak your cake in juice)
· Bread and Butter Pudding
· Apple Crumble
· Custard - This is actually not as hard to make as you might think (although it is fattening) and tastes wonderful with fresh or frozen berries. I often have egg yolks left over so found this recipe to use them up. I use vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean as I cannot find any of those around here: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/81/traditional+vanilla+custard.
ENGLAND’S and THE UNITED KINGDOM’S FLAG:
Print out a copy of my England’s Flag and the United Kingdom’s Flag Worksheet and have your child colour it the appropriate colours.
UNITED KINGDOM’S GEOGRAPHY:
Print out a copy of my United Kingdom’s Geography Worksheet and have your child colour it. My apologies for the drawing and any missing islands, inlets etc., as I didn’t draw a very accurate map but merely a basic outline of the four countries. As a family find and write the name of the capital of England and the United Kingdom in the blank at the bottom of the map.
You can highlight a famous tourist spot in England by making your own clay Stonehenge. For some information about this mysterious spot check here: http://www.stonehenge.co.uk/ or http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge
Materials: we used store bought craft clay, a paper plate (to keep the round formation), a picture of Stonehenge (I used pictures from my travels but you can find pictures online on any of the above sites or you can find a book about Stonehenge at the library to use for this craft).
This is a great site that has lots of information and would answer most questions your kids might have about Britain - http://projectbritain.com
I once read that Leap Frog was a British game. I cannot recall where I read that and cannot find proof online but you could still play this traditional children’s game. Simply line up family members in a row and huddle into individual balls. Then have the player at the back leap over each person’s back until reaching the front where he/she will return to the hunched position and the new player at the back gets to leap!
If you have a larger group you can play British Bulldog. One or two players are the bulldogs in the middle of the playing area and the rest of the players try to run to the other side. If the runners are caught they become more bulldogs in the next round. The last one to be caught by a bulldog is the winner!
Croquet was a game that was popular in England in the mid 1800’s. You can often find sets at toy store or dollar stores.
If you have a Cribbage set your family could play Crib. An English poet is said to have created that game.
PLAN A TEA PARTY: Make an invitation, don some hats and enjoy some tea, crumpets and tea sandwiches with friends or family!
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows that take place in England.
Here are some Cartoon Movies that take place in England:
· 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan and Robin Hood (the Disney cartoon with Robin Hood as a fox)
Here are some other Movies that take place in England:
· Mary Poppins
· Nanny McPhee or Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang
· Older Children may like to watch one of the Harry Potter or Narnia movies
Try to find this non-fiction title at your local library:
· Travel with Kids: England, PorchLight Home Entertainment, 2008 – In this DVD the Roberts family explores Stonehenge, Bath, the Cotwolds and the Lake District of England.
Tower Bridge, London England
Photo: C Wright
England Colouring Page
England Colouring Page
Make your own fascinator and top hat!
Craft Stick Palace Guards
Paper Castle Pictures
Paper Royal Crown
Pop-Up London Bridge
Paper Robin Hood Hat
Host an English Tea Party!
Serve some Tea Sandwiches.
Colour some flags.