Dec 262017
 

Kwanzaa is celebrated in the United States. Lasting for seven days, the African-American tradition began in 1966. Each day has a special theme. Umoja promotes unity. Kujichagulia stands for self-determination. Ujima provides for collective work and responsibility. Ujamaa works toward cooperative economics. Nia gives purpose. Kuumba develops creativity, and Imani means faith. Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of African-American studies at California State University, created Kwanzaa. Children could read The Kwanzaa Contest by Miriam Moore and Penny Taylor. Another super book is The Children’s Book of Kwanzaa: A Guide to Celebrating the Holiday, by Dolores Johnston.

Junkanoo is celebrated in the Bahamas. People in colorful costumes parade through towns to the sounds of homemade instruments.

Boxing Day is celebrated in Great Britain and Canada. Christmas boxes are given to people such as newspaper deliverers and postal workers. Idea: Wrap something small in a box. Children must list the attributes of the box contents without opening it. They can use all their senses. They can deduce size, weight, shape, smell, and textures. Then share what is in the box.

Saint Stephen’s Day is celebrated in many countries. Saint Stephen was the first Christian martyr, stoned to death around AD 34. Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and Switzerland honor Saint Stephen.

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Dec 262017
 

ShenandoahShenandoah National Park was created in 1926. The park, around 200,000 acres, encompasses parts of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Shenandoah National park has over 500 miles of trails, and 101 of those miles are part of the Appalachian Trail. Children could visit the national park website, watch the videos, and particularly check out the WebRanger portion, at: http://www.nps.gov/shen

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Dec 262017
 
Portrait of Charles Babbage, n.d.

Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage (born London , England, 1791; died London, England, October 18, 1871) was a mathematician. He tried to develop two machines, the difference engine and the analytical engine. However, the time’s technology would not permit either machine to be built. Both these machines were precursors to early computers. Idea: Children could take apart an old calculator to see how small the parts are today. They could compare the parts to an illustration of Babbage’s work.

Nelson

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Thomas Nelson, Jr. (born Yorktown, Virginia, 1738; died Hanover County, Virginia, January 4, 1789) signed the Declaration of Independence. He represented Virginia. A wealthy plantation owner with many slaves, Nelson organized his own tea party when he dumped two chests of tea into the York River. During the American Revolution, Nelson acted as both Governor of Virginia and a leader in the militia. Legend has it that when he found out the British were using his home as headquarters, he demanded the American troops fire on his home.

Jean van Leeuwen (born 1937) has written over 40 books for children. Her characters include Oliver Pig and Amanda Pig. Children can read more about her at her website at: Jean van Leeuwen

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