We don’t have a TV (I think I’ve mentioned this once or twice before) and so we do lots of stuff.
Once I told a guy that I don’t have a TV and he said, “Oh, so your life doesn’t suck then?”
He pretty much hit the nail on the head.
So yesterday’s not-sucky day went like this:
Evelyn (who is six) didn’t have school (she goes 3 days a week) so she made cards for all her teachers and played with her tea set while I worked. Then we went swimming and she earned two stars for figuring out how to swim all the way across the pool without breathing.
A little bit later, Julian taught her to throw a trompo (Spanish for a complicated heavy wooden top with a string that you have to pull ever so skillfully to spin).
After dinner she painted a pretty landscape (those round things are supposed to be mountains), we talked about grammar (double negatives), and we discussed extensively how hunter gatherers utilize nature to make all of the things they need. This finally culminated in the making of an Amazonian shelter for her Hello Kitty dolls.
Disclaimer: This is an arts and crafts how-to post in disguise. It is actually a reminder to teach our children that this American life isn’t the only way to live, that not everybody everywhere has all of the stuff we have and not everybody cares, and that it is no disadvantage to live under the trees and be dirty all day long. Art projects are a fine way to bring life to these ideas. Photos like the one above help make the concepts concrete but actually collecting all the stuff you would need to make something and then bringing your own imagination into it is much more powerful.
So, with no further ado, here’s how to make a toy sized Amazonian shelter from stuff you find outside:
What you’ll need:
- String and scissors (found those in the kitchen drawer)
- 7 larger sticks of same length
- 8 small sticks of half that length
- A platform to keep the shelter from sliding around – dirt, carpet, or some paper and tape
Tie two sticks together at one end, making a triangle. Do this again. Connect the two sets with one stick going across the top.
Attach the two remaining long sticks going lengthwise across the middle of each side. Connect 4 short sticks to the top and middle sticks of each side, looking like a sideways ladder.
You can either thread the leaves into these smaller sticks or you may simply tie the leaves to the top horizontal stick. And voilà, plaster Hello Kitty dolls are safe from the imaginary rain.
A couple of months ago I started the conversation about what is natural and what is man made. That led to a conversation about the things we really need. Ever since, Evelyn has been asking me all sorts of questions about “the people who live outside” or hunter gatherers. She is fascinated with the idea that there are people somewhere in the world who don’t have stuff.
What is your experience teaching kids about other cultures?