An amazing learning tool and hands-on activity ~ our Around the World mobile!
My youngest daughter and I have traveled with Jules Verne “Around the World in 80 Days” and we took some ‘scenic tours’ in Geography and Social Studies along our route.
Most our Geography studies focused around our large laminated world map as we plotted Phineas Fogg’s route, and we learnt the many countries of the world with our Sonlight Geography Songs CD. (Memorization and learning through song is the most amazingly effective learning method we have ever used! My homeschool graduate sang along with us while she was busy with her work! She remembered these songs from 11 years ago when we first used the CD.) We pasted flags from each country around our world map in the order of the songs to better assist our memorization.
While I searched for other hands-on ideas, I came across Kids Around the World with gorgeous pictures of children in traditional clothes. As I always look for some hands-on activities for my children to do while I read aloud, I printed black-and-white pictures and Miss.L12 happily painted her pictures during the next few days reading. She used the color pictures as her reference. With all these ideas floating around, I decided to create an “Around The World” mobile.
I used the Montessori continent color scheme in their printable Geography files to co-ordinate the elements of our mobile. I added a cultural element or famous landmark for each country. So the mobile has ~
- Name of each continent
- Continent in the prescribed color
- Selected countries from each continent
- Flags for each country
- Children in traditional clothes
- Famous landmark or cultural element for each country
Here are my free downloads ~
- Countries for mobile with 1-4 & 6 listed above
- Children around the world – with the extra children not included in the kizclub.com download
Quick reference list ~
- This activity took several weeks of fairly consistent work. It is NOT quick or easy, so it is most suited to middle schoolers (and their enthusiastic and determined moms!)
- Although my middle schooler loved painting the children pictures, she did not enjoy pasting the flags, continents and labels to backing card or felt.
- I used colored felt for backing as it is lightweight and brightly colored, but you can use card stock. Bold colors are best.
- We used thin wire to hang the elements. We pierced the wire through the felt and it was quicker than punching holes in the card, but I used a thick darning needle to make a hole in the felt first. You could use fish gut or strong string instead.
- I had my daughter pre-cut dozens of short pieces of wire (about 5cm/2″ long) to connect elements to each other. I used our beading round-head pliers to make neat little loops on both ends. We used 25cm/10″ length wires to form the upper branches for each country.
- To make the mobile’s 3 main “arms” we pushed wire through micro-sprayer pipes which are light but rigid, and bent round loops to hang the continents from each end. You could use dowel sticks.
- We grouped the countries to balance the arms. There are 2 continents (Europe & Asia) with 7 countries each which we balanced on each end of one arm, The other 4 continents have 3 countries each which we hung on the ends of the remaining 2 arms.
After all the hours of wire work, stabbed and pierced fingers, glue and felt fluff, it was complete and looked stunning! It hung over our work table for the remainder of our Around the World studies.
Would you give this a try? Or maybe use the downloads in a different way? What about a simple booklet or a lapbook instead? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.
PS. Ideas for traditional clothing were done without intending to stereotype or offend. Please adapt any aspect of these downloads for your own use.