"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million." -Walter Streightiff

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Russian Winter Festival

We traveled to Moscow to attend their Winter Festival. They are held in many cities in Russia every year from mid-December to mid-January. We celebrated winter with some traditional Russian culture.
We read a book about a little girl bunny who discovers she loves ice skating. It’s called Bella Gets Her Skates On by Ian Whybrow.
We listened and ice skated to Tchaikovsky’s famous “Nutcracker” Ballet. We used paper plates as our ice skates.
We also used colored ice cubes to “ice skate” around and around on paper to create some beautiful, colorful masterpieces.
A cookie sheet of ice provided us with a rink of real ice where we used little characters as the ice skaters. Spiderman, Batman and Pooh Bear loved spinning on the ice.
A favorite activitiy of the week was playing with matryoshkas- Russian nesting dolls and a popular Russian symbol. They typically depict women
in traditional Russian attire. Ours were little snowpeople. They make a great manipulative for small children and provided us with lots of imaginary play.
We loved reading The Mitten over and over again. It’s written by Jan Brett who characterizes Russian culture in many of her books. This book was about a little boy in Ukraine whose Baba (grandma in Ukraine) knitted him some snow white mittens.
We sat in a mitten shape as we read the story and then we used mittens of our own to try on and fill with animals as we retold the story.
We also had mitten shapes to fill with animal stickers.
Ice sculptures and snow people fill the streets in celebration of winter. We brought some snow in from outside to mold and paint. Even the littlest of us got into the act!
Another day we used food coloring, salt and rock salt to create some awesome sculptures of ice.  As the salt melted the ice, little caves and crevices were formed for some amazing sculptures.
After reading a Russian folktale, The Snow Child,
by Freya Littledale,
we did an experiment with snow to see what makes it melt and what makes it stay cold. We tried putting baggies of snow in sunny windows, shady spots outside, the freezer and the refrigerator.
We decided that having a "snow child" was not such a good idea!

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