We love literature-based learning in our homeschool! It’s such a gentle, effective way to learn and we can’t get enough of it.
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The past couple of weeks we’ve been reading Henry the Castaway by Mark Taylor. Because we’ve had a few days off of school during those weeks, it’s taken us 2 weeks to get through all of our fun activities!
Henry the Castaway
Often, I create a set of printables and activities that my girls and I work our way through during the course of our study. However, I decided to mix things up a bit with this study and do mostly hands-on and extra reading.
Because Laird Angus MacAngus is a Scottish Terrier, we read quite a bit about breeds of dogs focusing on the terrier.
My girls adore dogs and beg constantly for one, but alas, there are no dogs at the Hill House.
So books will have to suffice for now!
In addition to the books we checked out from the library, I found a DK Sticker book that contains many different breeds of dogs. My girls love sticker books, so this was a big hit. There were cheers all around when we located the Scottish Terrier sticker!
The other two books in the picture above were excellent reads!
Show Me Dogs by Megan Peterson is a neat compilation of dog breeds while Scottish Terriers by Susan H. Gray was the perfect supplement to our reading! Scottish Terriers explained this breed of dog in a kid-friendly way with such interesting facts!
Because we’re Geography nerds, we always incorporate maps and the globe if we can.
Since Laird Angus MacAngus is a Scottish Terrier (with a very Scottish name!), we made sure we could identify Scotland on the map, its capital, and the areas that surround it.
By the way, I had no idea what ‘Laird’ meant. I had my guesses based on context, but wanted to make sure, so I consulted Wikipedia which states:
“The term ‘laird’ has generally been applied to the owner of an estate, sometimes by the owner himself or, more commonly, by those living and working on the estate. It is a description rather than a title, and is not appropriate for the owner of a normal residential property, far less the owner of a small souvenir plot of land. It goes without saying that the term ‘laird’ is not synonymous with that of ‘lord’ or ‘lady’.”
Just do you don’t have to look it up yourself. 😉
Making Our Own Rivers from Salt Dough
Since so much of Henry the Castaway is set around a river, I wanted to incorporate that into our hands-on learning in some way.
Salt Dough to the rescue!
(scroll to the bottom for the recipe)
I thought it would be fun for my kiddos to make their own river scenes using salt dough and their imaginations.
We used a couple of pages from the book as inspiration.
Before we began, I had the girls gather some rocks, small sticks, and leaves in case they wanted to add lifelike materials to their river scenes.
And WOW did they surprise me!
First, I mixed the dough while the girls were outside gathering the rocks and sticks.
Then, each child received a lump of salt dough and a piece of foam board.
I’ve also cut down a heavy cardboard box and used that with success in the past. The foam board is only easier because it’s pre-cut and extremely sturdy.
After we analyzed a few of the river scenes from the book, my kiddos started making their own creative scenes.
Islands, waterfalls, rocky banks, wooded banks, hills, fish, and even a campfire showed up in these scenes!
After letting the scenes dry for about a week, we brought out the paints to put the finishing touches on them.
Again, I was so surprised at their creativity!
Salt Dough Recipe
Salt Dough is so easy to make and very forgiving. This is a tried and true recipe which never disappoints us!
This recipe yields enough dough for one river scene pictured as above.
I quadrupled the recipe to have enough dough for each of my 4 children.
Items needed: white flour, salt, water, medium bowl, wooden spoon
→ Mix 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup salt.
→ Add 1/2 cup of water and stir.
→ Then knead the dough in the bowl a couple of times.
Add more water if your dough is too stiff or more flour if your dough is too sticky.
When the dough is the correct consistency, it should feel and have the pliability of playdough.
Have you and your children read Henry the Castaway? What activities did you enjoy most?