Second Step: Nellie Bly ~Exploring~

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There are so many great opportunities for learning when it comes to Nellie Bly! I’ve had to narrow down some of my ideas quite a bit! Nellie Bly’s life and career lend themselves to many fantastic themes that activities can be planned around, but in keeping with our photo shoot I’ve chosen ‘around the world’ as our theme. It opens up so many doors to learn about so much with the kids and is easy to make age appropriate since my girlies are still quite little! I’m also kind of cheating a little since Big Sister and Brother are in the midst of an international unit at preschool! They’re already doing half of my work for me! 😉

So, to kick off Nellie Bly we started with a game. We played the game Round the World With Nellie Bly. It’s a 300 piece puzzle, that when complete, is a remake of a board game released in 1890. The puzzle comes with rules, game pieces and a die as well. I let the kids attempt to help with the puzzle but it was a little beyond them.  I ended up putting the puzzle together and was happy to have a quiet activity to do by myself after the kids went to bed. 🙂 When they discovered it finished the next morning they were excited to take a look and play a round. I let them have some time to look at the game first and just play with the pieces a bit. The game board is very picture heavy and some of the pictures sparked some conversations about Nellie’s trip and travel in general which was a great start! The real fun came when we started to play though(fun is a debatable adjective here if you ask the kids, lol)! Nearly every single space on the board sends you somewhere else. You could be sent back to port, back 2, 5, or even 10 spaces. You might get lucky on a rare occasion and land on a spot that is ‘safe’ and let you be or you could actually be propelled forward a few spots. The kids found this incredibly frustrating. They never knew what would happen next and the idea that they could be sent back so often and so far was galling! It was a perfect segue into a chat about what travel was like back in the 1890’s and why it was such an accomplishment for Nellie to go around the world in 72 days!

That evening I began reading ‘It Can’t Be Done Nellie Bly,’ by Bonnie Christensen to the kids. It’s a telling of Nellie’s journey as she circumnavigated the globe and the adventures she encountered along the way. With some of her stops in the book we will also stop and complete an activity to go with that country. Her first stop is in London, England.

In honor of London we attempted to paint peg people to look like the Queen’s Guard and discussed some ways that England is similar and different from the US. This is where that international unit at school is really helping out! They’re making all kinds of connections and are familiar with some of the places we’ll be talking and reading about already. I tried to paint a peg person as well. I was nearly done when I left it to dry and put Little Sister to bed, and upon returning to finish it up, I found my son had taken the liberty of finishing it for me. See the pictures below for the result, lol!  After painting our peg people I took out some passport sticker books that I ordered from Oriental Trading Co. and we put a sticker in our passport for London. Next up is France, then Italy, Egypt, Hong Kong and Singapore. We’ll see if I’m crafty enough and find the time to do an activity for each!

I’ve created a Pinterest board with links to all the things mentioned above for your reference! 🙂

First Step: Frida Kahlo ~Exploring~

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I’ll admit that part of the appeal of doing this project with my daughters was the opportunity to shop for cute outfits, dress up, and take pictures. It’s soooo much fun!! I can’t escape the former school teacher in me though, and there had to be more meat to what we were doing. So, we’ve spent some time reading, creating, and exploring Frida Kahlo’s life and her artwork through various methods. This aspect feeds my need to research and plan. 🙂

To start, we already owned the children’s picture book ‘Frida’ and had read it, but visited it again. The artwork is stunning, but the story is told in a bit of a depressing light(hard to avoid with her life at times) that required some discussion. It does do a good job of presenting true and accurate information though. I then picked up ‘Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself.’ This book is told from the point of view of a young girl learning about Frida Kahlo for a school project. It includes photographs of Frida Kahlo and her artwork, so it makes a nice reference book for young children. A great digital resource that we found via Mommy Maestra(a terrific site for lesson planning for Frida Kahlo) is a fun iTunes app called Frida’s World. It is a very cute story about Frida that you can read to your children or you can choose to have it read to your child. It also includes some coloring pages from the story. We really enjoyed this app and the story is very positive and upbeat. Speaking of coloring, we found some coloring pages online(a favorite and free download found here), and purchased a coloring book as well, but I have yet to receive it. Finally, we worked on some paper dolls. I ordered a book on Amazon of paper dolls, but they were too pretty for me to cut up! I instead found some online that you can order and print instead. 🙂 I may end up trying to scan some pages of the book to print and cut if I find the time. 🙂

Once we knew about her story  I wanted to look a little closer at her style. A lot of who Frida was, she portrayed through her choice in clothing, hairstyle and decor of her ‘Blue House.’ La Casa Azul, is Frida’s house in Mexico City, Mexico which is now maintained as a museum to Frida. Last year they opened a temporary exhibit of Frida’s dresses and costumes(see video on the exhibit here). It is a fabulous website with a sections for Children and teachers here, and visiting the actual museum has been on my bucket list for some time now! We had a lot of fun looking at the website and seeing how the clothes we picked for the pictures corresponded to Frida’s own style.