Our adventures around the world with Build Your Library has lead us to Europe. We’ve been working through the continent v.e.r.y. s..l..o..w..l..y, leaving lots of space for extra reading, projects, and play. One of our favorite places to visit was France. Ooo la la!
Elementary Europe Unit Studies
Madeline was an instant favorite in our house! Both my kindergartner and three year old loved reading this award winning series about Madeline’s magical adventures through Europe. The prose makes the stories fun to read and rhyme, and the beautiful illustrations took us through Europe’s most famous monuments and palaces. I can’t say enough about this memorable series. We will return to these books again and again.
Magic Tree House Book #35, Night of the New Magicians by Mary Pope Osborne is a magical adventure through Paris with Jack and Annie. The Magic Tree House obsession continues in this house! The learning doesn’t stop when the Tree House disappears. These books have really inspired a great deal of interest in a huge variety of places, people, and times. There has been many adventures to choose from for all of our units this year!
The original series of Madeline is included with Amazon Prime streaming (1 season). We all loved this series. The shows go right along with the books – even using the same rhymes with the addition of a few very memorable poems and songs. Madeline Sing-a-Long was also a favorite – and turned out to be a nice break from Christmas music during the holidays!
“We love our bread. We love our butter,
but most of all we love each other.”
If you just can’t get enough of Madeline (we couldn’t), an additional three seasons of Madeline episodes, The New Adventures of Madeline, as well as a very funny live action movie with all of the familiar characters is available to rent or purchase on Prime.
For more Europen Unit resources, playlists, and movies see this post.
Build Your Library dedicated five weeks to European studies, but we spent seven weeks working our way through the continent. We started our winter break a little later than I’d planned, but it was worth it to see my son having so much fun exploring beyond the written curriculum.
Role playing with Madeline and The Bad Hat was a huge hit! The best of child-led learning. “Mom! Let’s make a Bad Hat costume for me, and sis can be Madeline!” I printed off the faces from a Google search, and stuck on Popsicle sticks to make two quick costumes. The kids chased each other through the streets of Paris, joined a band of Gypsies, flew on magic carpets, and sang all the now familiar songs from the original episodes.
Building with Blocks
After reading and watching a bit about the Eiffel Tower the oldest was inspired to build his own. It turned into a STEM activity. How tall can we build it? How can we make it more stable? After looking at the Eiffel Tower we expanded our base and the final result was a tower as tall as him! Of course, the best part was knocking it down.
The main selection for France for BYL was Linnea in Monet’s Garden. To be honest, we couldn’t really get into this one. I can remember looking through this book as a child, but as a read aloud to a five year old, it wasn’t my favorite. We looked at Monet and his family and the images of his house in Giverney. He loved looking at the reproductions of the water lillies and the Japanese bridge and was soon pointing out Monet references in the world. “Look, Mom, the Japaneese bridge!” on a journal at the book store. “Look, Mom, water lillies!” on a walk in the park.
We are lucky enough to live where the weather is beautiful for most of the year, so we made a trip to our local park to walk through the fragrance garden. I would have loved to bring some art supplies, but at this stage of life (3 little ones 5&under) that’s not the easiest undertaking! We walked and talked about flowers. Noticed different colors and smells. Read the plaques and sat on every bench. We’d walked through the gardens before, but after talking about Monet and how he saw his garden my son seemed to see it through fresh eyes.
Our culminating French experience was a trip to a local French/American Bistro. We all ordered French cuisine, and the oldest was so happy to try ham and cheese crepes, croissants, baguettes, quiche, and of course French Fries. We noticed all of the French decor and learned a few French words like chandelier, a la carte, hors d’oeuvre.
I hope this gives you some ideas to create your own Elementary French Unit Study. If you’re traveling through Europe in your classroom or homeschool, keep an eye out for my upcoming Unit Plan posts for Greece and the United Kingdom!
The suggestions and ideas are super easy and mostly free, however if you plan on purchasing materials please consider using the Amazon Affiliate links here to support our homeschool.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’re enjoying our big kindergarten adventure. We sure are!