Read Around the World: Kenya


This summer I’m teaching a series of Read Around the World lessons for a group of kids ages 2.5 years to 5.5 years old.  You can read an explanation of how I do the lessons and some of the materials I use here.


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Last week we visited Kenya!  We start every lesson by locating the country on our map and having one of the kids draw our flight path using a dry erase crayon.  Then they glue the country’s stamp in their passport and I stamp the date on it.



One of the kids took a turn dressing our paper doll from the country. has printable paper dolls that I had previously cut, colored, laminated, and added velcro on so we could reuse them many times, but you could also have kids color their own to keep.




The first book we read was “For You are a Kenyan Child” by Kelly Cunnane


It provides a great picture of a Kenyan village through the eyes of a boy who is not so different from other kids and sometimes forgets to do what his mother asked!



Another Kenyan book I love and have used in the past is First Come the Zebra by Lynne Barasch, but unfortunately I couldn’t use it this time as my library didn’t have it and it was out of stock on Amazon.



This is the plot from the publisher: “When two young Kenyan boys, one Maasai and one Kikuyu, first meet, they are hostile toward each other based on traditional rivalries, but after they suddenly have to work together to save a baby in danger, the boys begin to discover what they have in common.”  I loved the message and the exposure to Kenyan cultures.



We talked about the Maasai people and looked at pictures of them.  Then the kids colored these coloring sheets




We made Maasai necklaces (inspired by this pin)




We also made tribal face masks using  free printable masks and Do a Dot markers





The kids put the masks and necklaces on together and I turned on some tribal music for them to dance to.






Next we read The Water Princess by Susan Verde


This one wasn’t set specifically in Kenya, but I thought the ideas it conveyed were really important.  I would highly recommend checking out this book which is based on the childhood of Georgie Badiel.  It really conveys the struggle of not having close access to clean drinking water, as seen through the ideas of a passionate and lovable young girl .


We talked about how much work it is to have to go get water each day and how the women and children would carry the water in pots on their head.



Each child took a turn carrying a basket on their head as they walked around the house pretending to go on a journey to fetch water.  They filled up their basket with some objects representing water and then returned home to boil the water.  The kids got really into it and talked about wanting to be “Princess Gie Gie” and even added in the part of the story where her mother woke her up early in the morning.




Next we read We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs


Again this one was set in a different African country, but it gave me the feel of an African safari that I wanted.  The kids were involved in the reading of the book by helping with the counting and animal names.



The kids took a snack break to eat animal crackers (and pretend they were on a safari) while I set up the next activity.


I hid plastic animals around the house and then the kids took turns driving our safari truck around the house to spot the animals and put them in the truck.




Afterward I let them play with the animals in kinetic sand to act out their own stories.  The kids always love a chance to play with kinetic sand!




The last book we read was Mama Panya’s Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlin



It is a great story of sharing and community.  A boy keep inviting people to his mother’s pancake dinner and she wonders how she’ll ever be able to feed everyone when they have so little.



Well that is a farewell to Kenya!  Next stop is India!


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