Friday, September 4, 2015

Awesome History: Early Humans

 My friend, Shelli and I decided to co-opt history.  Or maybe co-op history.

Whatever, it's awesome!

We are following The Story of the World.  We read the chapter(s) we are covering that week with our own kids, then meet Friday mornings for fun projects based on the subject.
 The plan is to do one craft project, one active activity, and one themed snack.

We started with early humans, so Zorg built a fire (what's more exciting than starting a learning activity with "let's make FIRE?!"), and then we cut spears from an unwanted bamboo stand.

Hmm.  Rereading that, I realize I just implied there are wanted bamboo stands.  There must be some somewhere. I suppose if you have pandas you want bamboo, but I digress.

We had the kids try throwing their spears by hand, and then with an atlatl.

Atlatls are great!  First of all, very fun to say (it's pronounced "at-lat-l,"  try saying it 5 times fast).

Secondly, it's a trick that early humans all over the globe figured out.  It's essentially a lever.

We made ours by using duct tape to make a pocket at the end of a stick.  You put the spear (or dart) end in the pocket and sling it with the stick.  With practice, you can get the spear really far and hit your mammoth (or your dog, be careful) with a lot of force!
 Next it was down to my friend's basement cave for painting.

The advantages of co-op!  Shelli's an actual artist, so she had cut out stencils for the younger kids.

Rather than decorating the actual walls of Shelli's basement cave, I tore off some sheets of builder's paper.  I made sure I tore off any smooth edges so each paper had an irregular look - like an animal hide, I was thinking.

We used the burnt branches from the fire for charcoal (see, it wasn't just pyromania!).

I had wanted to try blowing paint powder over the kids hands, the way you see the hand prints in some cave paintings, but it turns out that only works with paleolithic hygiene (you don't care if it never comes off your clothes/hair/skin).

Instead, Shelli suggested we try spray paint.  To be clear, not the kind that comes in a can!  I mixed the powdered tempera with water and used a household sprayer.

That worked really well - it allowed our cave artist's to "sign" their work distinctively.

 We also offered artist's charcoal, India ink, brown and orange paint, and a variety of brushes.

One thing I liked about this project was that it offered a lot of choices: stencil, draw, or both; branch, charcoal, or ink; spray or don't spray.

Everyone's cave painting was unique, and everyone ended up quite pleased with their work!

Lastly, we finished with our snack.

Left to right we have
nuts (pecans), berries (blueberries), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), and dried meat (which I said was lizard to go along with the story from the book, but was actually beef jerky).  At the last minute, we added "fish" (goldfish crackers).

A great beginning to history!


Irene Dias said...

It took me 5 tries to say it correctly once. ..hehe still suffer from "language problem".

Wendy said...

Well, it's still sunny, so I guess it's not a problem! ;)