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.  Since we are spending most of our time in France we wanted to explore it more before we left.   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.



France is officially known as the French Republic and is a country situated in Western Europe.  It is bordered by: Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Italy.  It is also bordered by two microstates: Andorra (near Spain) and Monaco. Take out a globe or atlas before you have this Theme Day or go online to show your child where France is and compare it to where you live.  For more information about France check here:



The music of France is diverse.

One of the most legendary composers from France of the Romantic era is Hector Berlioz.  Listen to his Symphonie Fantastique Part 1 here:


For some French Cabaret listen to Édith Piaf.  Try her famous La Vie en rose (1946):  OR  Non, je ne regrette rien (1960): 

The national anthem of France is La Marseillaise, written and composed in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle. For information on its history look here:

To listen to the national anthem of France (with English and French subtitles) click here:


There are some French songs for children you are probably familiar with.  For the lyrics to Frère Jacques check here: OR Allouette:  and to hear it:



For more French songs and rhymes for kids check this page:





You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “France Coloring Pages” or print out my “Bonjour” Colouring Page.



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 France?  What would you like to learn about France?

NOTE: I like to do the journal prompt as a final activity for International Theme Days to see what my children have learned:  Would you like to visit France? Why or why not? If you travelled to France what would you like to visit or do? What are three interesting facts you learned about France?

 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 France.



Print out a France Word Search:

Easy France Word Search or *Moderate France Word Search: Regions of France or Difficult France Word Search.

*NOTE: I have not included the five oversea regions in the Moderate Word Search


Check here for the answer keys:

Easy France Word Search Key or Moderate France Word Search KEY or Difficult France Word Search Key.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about France or books that take place in France.


Go to the library with your child to find some books about France.


Go to the library on your own to find books about France 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 for “France” under “Children’s Books”).  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles:


· Christmas in Paris and the Provinces, World Book, Inc., a Scott Fetzer Company, 2009—Older kids may be interested to learn about different Christmas traditions in France.


· Cultural Traditions in France, by Lynn Peppas, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2014 – With easy to read big text this is a great book for early grade schoolers that highlights common cultural traditions in France.


· Eiffel Tower, by Bryan Pezzi, Av², 2012—If your older kids are interested in learning more about this famous Parisian landmark this is the book for them.


· Facts About Countries: France, Celia Tidmarsh, Sea-to-Sea, 2009 – An easy to read book that highlights the land, people industry, and culture of modern France.


· France, by Tom Streissguth, Lerner Publications Company, 2009—A great non-fiction book for younger kids with plenty of facts but not a lot of text about France.


· France: The Culture, by Greg Nickles, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2000 – A great overview of many cultural traditions of France with lots of photographs as well.  (Also in the series, France: The Land, and France: The People).

· Paris Catacombs, by Denny Von Finn, Bellwether Media, 2014 – Part of “The Scariest Places On Earth” series, this is an easy to read and short text that is a basic review of what the Paris Catacombs are.


· Spotlight On France, by Bobbie Kalman, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2013 – A great overview of France and easy to read as well. 


· You Wouldn’t Want to be an Aristocrat in the French Revolution!, written by Jim Pipe an dillustrated by David Antram, Franklin Watts, 2007—An interesting look at the French Revolution.


· Welcome to France, by Meredith Costain and Paul Collins, Chelsea House Publishers, 2000 – school aged children will probably find this book very interesting because it focuses on a French boy and highlights what it is like living in France, including what school is like.

For a simple book about the French language try this:


· Languages of the World: French, by Anita Ganeri, Heinemann Library, 2012—An easy to read book with large text providing interesting facts about the French language and offering a few words and phrases throughout.



Here are some picture books:

· Belinda in Paris, by Amy Young, Viking, 2005—Belinda the ballerina cannot perform in Paris because she does not have her pointe shoes. See what the littlest ballerina does to help her.

· Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride, by Marjorie Priceman, 2005—Based on the true story of the first hot air balloon flight in Versailles, France, this takes a bit of artistic licence and details (in pictures only after a brief introduction) what it was like for the barn animals who took the first flight.

· Madame Martine, by Sarah S. Brannen, Albert Whitman & Company, 2014—With lovely watercolour illustrations this is a sweet tale of Madame Martine who loves her routines, but when she gives a dog a home and he leads her up the Eiffel Tower one day she learns that it’s okay to try something new every once in a while. 

· Madeline, story and pictures by Ludwig Bemelmans, The Viking Press, 1939, no list of picture books about France would be complete without mentioning at least one of the books in this series. It even lists the places in Paris featured in the book.

These picture books are about famous French artists:

· Chasing Degas, by Eva Montanari, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2009—This is such a fun book!   A ballet dancer “featured” in one of Degas’ paintings realizes the artist has taken her bag instead of his own with paints in it; she proceeds to chase him down, meeting other famous French artists along the way, like Caillebotte, Monet and Renoir.

· Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped Trains, by P.I Maltbie and illustrated by Jos.A. Smith,Abrams books for Young Readers, 2010—

· Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse, by Marjorie BlainParker and illustrated by Holly Berry, Dial Books for Young readers, 2012—Told in contrasting ilustrations (black and white vs. the color of Matisse’s mind) this book reveals Matisse’s longing for something different in his life and how art was the answer.

· The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau, written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Amanda Hall, Eerdmans Books for Young readers, 2012—I love this true tale of painter Henri Rousseau who taught himself to paint at age forty and continued to paint bring and vibrant pictures despite the harshness of the art critics who laughed at him.

· The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse, by Patricia MacLachlan and pictures by Hadley Hooper,  Beal Porter Book, 2014—Matisse who lived in a gray mill town in northern France as a child was inspired by the colourful world created by his parents  and became an artist when he grew up.


Other Books to Consider for this Theme Day:

· Favourite Fairy Tales Told In France, retold from Charles Perrault and other French storytellers by Virginia Haviland and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin, Little Brown and Company, 1959—This lovely old book retells five French fairy tales: The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, and Drakestail. There are many other French fairy tales to explore as well. Check your local library.

· Any of The Adventures of Asterix series, by Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo—These graphic novels began in 1959.  After Goscinny’s death in 1977 Uderzo took over the writing until 2009 and now Jean-Yves Ferri is the author.  There are 35 volumes of this popular Franco-Belgian comic.

· The Little Prince/ Le Petit Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a novella and the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer and poet.  It is the most-red and 3rd most translated book in the world.  It was published in 1943. This poetic tale has watercolour illustrations by the author.  It is about a pilot stranded in the desert who meets the Little Prince who has fallen to Earth from a small asteroid. It is a children's book but can also be called an adult fable as it makes many observations about life and human nature.






Your child can make any type of face he/she wants to represent some culture aspect of France discovered while learning about France.  He/she could choose an historical person like Napoleon and add a hat to the face or add large white hair and make Marie Antoinette. My kids choose a chef and an artist!


Materials: Coloured paper, googly eyes, white glue, glue stick, markers and crayons, child safe scissors, damp cloth for sticky fingers, a cup for tracing, a pencil.


Step 1: Trace a cup onto paper to create a circle face.  We coloured the circle with crayon to get the colour my children wanted.

Step 2: Cut out the circle face and then draw and cut out any other parts you want to include.  My kids wanted big mustaches so we used brown paper for those.  The beret on the art was made with a simple oval and my Eldest drew his own chef’s hat.

Step 3: Glue these pieces on with a glue stick.

Step 4: Draw other facial features and then glue on googly eyes with white glue (or draw them on...but we like googly eyes).

Step 5: You can glue these into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or if you use craft foam or harder construction paper you could add a strip of magnet and use them as fridge magnets!



NOTE: France is well known in the world for its cuisine so I wanted to create a simple craft to represent that.  Bon Appétit means “enjoy your meal.”

Materials: Coloured paper, paints, a sponge, bubble wrap, craft foam, paint brush, marker, waxed paper for a palette, newspaper or plastic table cloth to cover your work space, art smock or old clothes to wear when painting.


Step 1: Have your child choose a colour for the background.

Step 2: Draw and cut out a wine bottle shape from craft foam and also a long oval to represent the bread from another piece of craft foam.

Step 3: Cut out the bubble wrap into a grape shape.

Step 4: Put the paint on the waxed paper and then have your child apply paint to the homemade stamps.

Step 5: have your child stamp the paper to create a still life of food.  The sponge will make a textured cheese, the bubble wrap will be grapes, the foam stamps bread and wine.  Your child can add embellishments like grape leaves or a table cloth or table.

Step 6:  My kids opted to write the words “Bon Appetit” on another piece of paper to glue onto the end picture once dry.  If you have foam letters you could easily stamp the letters on with paint or have your child paint the words. 



Note: The Iris is the national flower of France as represented in the Fleur-de-lis emblem, the symbol of the French Monarchy.

Materials: A copy of my Fleur-de-lis Printable, paints, coloured paper, craft knife (adult use only) and cutting board, craft sponges for painting, wax paper for palette, newspaper or plastic to cover work space, art smock or old clothes to wear when painting.


Step 1: (Parent Step) Lay the printable of the Fleur-de-lis on a cutting board and carefully cut the symbol out. This will create a stencil for your child to use.

Step 2: Have your child choose the colour of paper and paint he/she will use.

Step 3: Lay the newly made stencil on the coloured paper.  It helps to have the parent hold the paper down tight.

Step 4: Have your child dip the craft sponge into the paint and then press over the cut holes in the stencil.

Step 5: Once the area is covered in paint carefully lift the stencil up to reveal the fleur-de-lis.



NOTE: France has many different celebrations.  Bastille Day is the big national holiday on July 14th.  When we were reading about France many books highlighted Christmas traditions in France, or Mardi Gras as well.  One that my boys found particularly interesting was “Poisson D’Avril” (April Fish) which takes place on April 1st (otherwise known as April Fool’s Day).  In a tradition that dates back to 1564 paper fish are secretly stuck on people’s backs without their knowledge.  For more information check here:


Materials: Coloured cupcake liners, googly eyes, child safe scissors, white glue, waxed paper, cloth for sticky fingers, tape (if you want to trick people by sticking them on their back on April 1st).

Step 1: Have your child pick out a colour for his/her fish and help them of have them cut out a small triangle piece to be the fish’s mouth.

Step 2:  Have your child cut out fins and a tail from another cupcake liner.

Step 3:  Spread out some glue on the wax paper for dipping and then have yoru child glue on the fins and tail.  If you have a child that adores gluing they could attach scales as well, but my kids wanted things minimal. 

Step 4: Glue on a googly eye (or draw it on).

Step 5: Let the fish dry and then come April 1st try to trick someone by placing it on his/her back without knowing it’s there.



NOTE: Throughout France there are many beautiful monuments and buildings.  Check these two sites for some ideas: and  We choose the Pont du Gard aqueduct (a bridge from ancient Roman times) and the island commune of Mont Saint-Michel for this craft but your child can choose whatever image he/she likes from reading about France in books or searching online.


Materials: A picture of a monument etc., parchment paper (or tracing paper), a pencil, child safe scissors (or craft knife/X-ACTO knife for parent use or for much older children), glue stick, coloured paper, black paper.


Step 1: Have your child find an image of a monument, building, castle or city in France that he/she likes.   Make a copy of the picture if you find it online or use a picture from a book. 

Step 2: Lay parchment paper (or art tracing paper if you have some) over the picture and trace an outline onto the paper using a pencil.  It doesn’t matter if mistakes are made this won’t be seen in the final product so no erasing is required.

Step 3: Lay the traced picture on top of black craft paper.  Help your child cut the silhouette out.  For something simple like the Mon St. Michel one we did my youngest could cut it out himself.  For the more complicated pattern of Pont du Gard an X-ACTO knife was used on a cutting board (My 13 year old could use the knife) and parental help may be required.

Step 4: Have your child choose a background colour from the craft paper.  We opted for one colour for the simple silhouette but thought two would be nice for the more complicated picture (we used blue for the water and purple for the sky).

Step 5: Carefully apply glue to the back of the silhouettes and glue to the paper.  Now it is ready to display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.



                 NOTE: One of the things I love about France is the gorgeous and varying landscape.  I showed my boys some photographs found on Pinterest of sunflower fields, lavender fields, vineyards, poppy fields and asked them to choose one to use as the basis of this next craft.

                 NOTE: Impressionism is an art movement from the 19th Century that originated in Paris during the 1870s and 80s. It uses small thin visible brush strokes.  Degas, Caillebotte, Monet, Pissarro, and Renoir are some artists whose works you should explore before making this craft. Check here for more information and some examples:

Materials: Drawing paper (a sturdier paper works best but in a pinch you could use plain old computer paper), oil pastels (you can find these in a craft store…they were worth the effort to buy these as my boys really like using this medium, but this project could also work with crayons or paint like water colour, tempera or acrylic).


Step 1: Have your child pick a landscape for inspiration and then choose the colours he/she would like to work with.  Different shades of the same colour work nicely.

Step 2: Have your child use just strokes of colour to create the picture.  Tell them that when the picture is held up from a distance it will look more complete but up close he/she is just capturing the colours.

Step 3: Hold the picture up form a distance to show this when it is complete.  I just LOVE this craft!!!

Step 4: Display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.



Note: Henri Matisse was a French artist who used bright colours in his fluid original works.  Primarily a painter, an interesting change in his art developed in his later years when he developed cancer and was left bed bound, making painting and sculpture difficult for him.  As a result, he began to create cut paper collages . For more information on Matisse check here:  For more information on the cut-outs check here: You can also just do an image search for “Matisse Cut-Outs” to show your kids some examples.

Note: I have noted two picture books about Matisse above, but here is another that focusses on his cut-outs: Henri’s Scissors, by Jeannette Winter, Beach Lane Books, 2013.

 Materials: Coloured paper, white paper, pencil, child-safe scissors, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Show your kids some examples of Matisse’s cut-outs (use books from the library or look online).

Step 2: Point out how many have coloured squares or rectangles as the background and then have your kids pick out the colours they want to use for their background.  Have them cut out and arrange the coloured rectangles on their page and then glue them in place.

Step 3:  Matisse was inspired a lot by nature and the sea so many of the shapes added to his art have leaves or plant like shapes.  He also has stars on some, even people and we even saw one with a guitar on it.  Have your kids draw and cut out shapes of things in nature (or elsewhere) in white paper and then glue them to their paper.

Step 4: Display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.



NOTE: Our France Theme Day would not be complete without an Eiffel Tower inspired art project.  I was going to make this more complicated piece and add some chalk background (as seen on this art project I saw on Pinterest: but my Youngest and I liked the painting just the way it was and decided to keep it as is.

NOTE: The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower name after its engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.  It was built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World Fair.

Materials: Paper (we used a page from an old school Scrapbook which was a nice long sheet of paper), black paint, paint brush, newspaper or plastic to cover your work station, art smock or old clothes to wear when panting, a yogurt container of water to clean the brush, paper towels and a piece of wax paper to use as a paint pallet.

Step 1: Have a picture of the Eiffel Tower ready for this craft to use as reference.

Step 2: (Optional) If you want you can fold the paper in half to give your child a sense of the middle the page and a guide for height. 

Step 3: Have your child draw the basic outline lightly in pencil (you can do this for small children).

Step 4: Now have your child paint over the pencil lines and then add X’s to create the iron supports of the Eiffel Tower.

Step 5: Let it dry then display and enjoy!


OTHER: Sometimes you can find fun crafts inspired by different countries and cultures at Craft Stores. One summer my boys saw some wooden Eiffel Tower Birdhouses and wanted to paint those.  Check them out on our Facebook page under Moore Crafts and Activities.,


NOTE: For information on French Cuisine check here:

NOTE: A meal in France often consists of three courses: hors d'œuvre or entrée (introductory course, sometimes soup), plat principal (main course), and fromage (cheese course) or dessert.

NOTE: It would be impossible to properly cover the many famous French dishes because every region has its own speciality

BREAKFAST (le petit déjeuner):

NOTE: Typically, the French do not like savory breakfasts.  Here are some French breakfasts I discovered while researching this Theme Day:

Pastry – Usually a plain croissant or a pain au chocolate

Toast and Jam – the last of the previous day’s baguette lightly toasted with a spoonful of jam

Note: These are served with coffee (usually café au lait), tea or hot chocolate (chocolat chaud).   For a French Hot Chocolate recipe try this one:



NOTE: People in France typically don’t snack, but if you don’t want to try to cook a French dish serve this as a snack to give your kids a sampling of French fare.

Baguette and French cheese: I served….See what you can find at your local grocery store.

For information on 10 French Cheeses try this page:  For a photo of our fromage samplings check on our Facebook Page under More Goodies.


LUNCH (le déjeuner):

NOTE: Lunch can vary in France.  Some French people still go home for lunch and make a warm meal.  Others go out for a three or four course restaurant meal (salad or soup, meat or fish, dessert, and occasionally a cheese plate).  Others buy sandwiches on the street or in train stations.

NOTE: You and your kids (especially picky eaters) may find it interesting to learn what kids are served for lunch in schools. Check here for some information: or here:


Baguette Sandwich – Typical street sandwiches in France are cheese, ham and cheese, boiled eggs, tuna, salami and cheese.

Croque Monsieur – This is a grilled cheese sandwich like no other.  There are many different recipes for it.  Here’s one:

 Savory crepes: We made sweet crepes for the Theme Day but savory ones are nice, too.  Check here for recipes to make them sweet and savory:

Omelet: Parisians often enjoy an omelet in a brasserie for lunch.  They are usually plain and thin or have only one ingredient added like ham, mushrooms, or Swiss cheese. 

Quiche:  It is common to find quiches next to sandwiches in French bakeries. 

Brasserie Salad: Lettuce with egg, cheese and meat...that sounds yummy to me!

Bisque – A bisque is a smooth and creamy soup. Perfect for a chilly or rainy day.  Make your favourite or buy one from a store.

French Onion Soup: There are many recipes online.  Make your favourite.


DINNER (le diner):

NOTE: French dinners can vary.  If you’ve had a full three or four course lunch then typically dinner is simple but if the lunch was simple then dinner will be larger. Dinner is usually eaten between 7:30 and 8:45pm

Pot-au-feu – This is a French beef stew.  I have not made this recipe yet but it looks delicious:


Steak-frites – This is simply steak and fries and is considered by some to be the national dish of France served in many French bistros.  I hope to try this recipe soon:


if vegetarian fare is more your family’s style make a Ratatouille (a vegetable stew usually made with eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, tomato, onions and garlic).  Sadly, my kids would take one look at the zucchini and eggplant and run for the hills, but this recipes still looks good to me:


Salade Niçoise  - Fortunately when it comes to vegetables my kids like salad so we had this for dinner for our France Theme Day. I used this recipe:



NOTE: A Pâtisserie is a type of French bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets and must have a maître pâtissier (master pastry chef) who is licensed. 

Pastries—See if your local bakery has any of these tasty treat: Macaroons, éclairs, Mille-feuille, tarte tatin, madeleine…. While I love to bake, I have not been brave enough to try any of these special treats and I let the professionals make them.

Pain au chocolat—There are many different recipes for this treat.  I once read a simple one that just used a baguette and melted chocolate (very easy) but if you want to try to bake them, this one looks good:

Sweet crepes make a lovely dessert.  There are heaps of crepe recipes, I tried this one:

If it’s Christmas time try a Bûche de Noël—this is a lovely rolled chocolate cake decorated to look like a log with jam in the middle. My mother makes one every Christmas! I cannot seem to find a photo of it even though I know I’ve taken picture of it, but check our facebook page near Christmas and hopefully I will remember to post one.

Tarte Tatin—this is an upside-down pastry with apples caramelized in butter and sugar.  I haven’t made this recipe yet, but would like to one day:

 For the braver cook try to make a crème brûlée or a sweet soufflé  (they can be savoury, too).




Print out a copy of my French Flag Worksheet and have your child colour it red and blue in the appropriate areas.



Print out a copy of my Basic Geography of France Worksheet  and have your child colour it.  Then together as a family search an atlas or online for the capital city of France.  Have your child write the answer on the worksheet. We also wrote the names of two of the main rivers that flow in the France. Please excuse any anomalies in the shape of the country as the worksheet was drawn by me and hence is not perfect.


France is a European country and is surrounded by six other countries (and two microstates).  Print out a copy of my Basic Geography of Europe/France 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!



The official language of France is French.  Print out my Common French Words Printable  and try to say some everyday phrases in French. I apologise for any errors.  Here is where I found the words I used: and and and  and


As your family reads about France write out some interesting facts you learn about this European country on this Printable Worksheet: Facts About France.


For more information about France, specifically traveling there, try this site:

 To see the top ten tourist attractions in France check here:

For the top ten tourist attractions in Paris check here:





Search through your child’s DVD/video collection (or visit your local library before hand) to find your child’s favourite shows that may highlight France in some way.


For some cartoon movies that take place in France try these:


· The Aristocats

· The Hunchback of Notre Dame

· Ratatouille



Try to find these non-fiction titles at your local library:


· Families of France, Arden Films, Inc., 2005 – part of the Families of the World video series

· Countries of the World: France, Schlessinger Media, 2007




Many museums have paintings from famous French artists.  See if you can find any on your next visit.

Visit your local bakery and check out what French pastries are on offer and then buy some as a family treat.

Visit your local deli and see which French cheeses are available.  Buy some along with a baguette and go on a family picnic to enjoy your delicious fare outside.

Ah, Paris!

France: Colouring Page

Bon Appétit Posters

Cupcake Liner Fish for Poisson d’Avril!

France Monuments Silhouette Craft

Journaling about France

Matisse Inspired Cut-Outs (Collage)

Faces of France Craft


Fleur-de-lis Stenciling

Impressionism Inspired Pastel Landscapes

Photo: C Wright




Eiffel Tower Painting



Food Inspired from France



Printables for your France Theme Day




Learning Printables for your France Theme Day

Gorgeous Sunflower Fields in France

The pretty town of Fougères in France