#TravelingThroughLearning – GUATEMALA Unit!

Guatemala is a Central American country south of Mexico, and features rainforests, volcanoes, and ancient Mayan sites. The capital, Guatemala City, features the stately National Palace of Culture and the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Antigua, west of the capital, contains preserved Spanish colonial buildings. Lake Atitlán, formed in a massive volcanic crater, is surrounded by coffee fields and villages.

I visited Guatemala in 1999 when I traveled there with a good friend of mine, Lisa, to the Los Pinos Orphanage in Guatemala City. Over the weeks we volunteered there, I spent a lot of time with the orphans, ages a few days to around six or seven. It was humbling to see the little ones need basics I had taken for granted as a teenager. We were able to tour the city and travel to Antigua on the bus for the day and immerse ourselves in the culture of the country. I fell in love with this beautiful country and someday would love to go back as an adult.

I love to see what other parents and caregivers do for their little ones, so please post on Instagram (savybabyactivities) under #travelingthroughlearning and follow my feed, and I will feature my favorite activities at the end of the month. You can also share what you have done on this blog or PM me with Guatemala-themed activities that you have done/and or blogged about and I’ll include links to them in this post once the unit is complete.

Geography:

  • Placemat & Flag of Guatemala – This full color printable shows some interesting stats of the country as well as some pictures of major landmarks. I like to put it in a plastic sheet protector and use it as a placemat for meals. It is excellent to promote learning at the dinner table. This also includes a Guatemala flag to post as part of your unit.
  • Map Outline & Major Cities of Guatemala – This outline map can be transferred to foam or felt and the city tags can be printed off and attached with map-pins, to help learn about the major cities.

Model of Landmark/Dwelling:

  • Build a Mayan Temple Out of Legos – A fun STEM activity that promotes creativity and principles of engineering.

Mathematics:

  • Learn about the Guatemalan Quetzal – Great hands-on activity to describe the monetary differences of coin currency and how they differ from your own countries (in our case, the United States).
  • Work on units of Measurement with this fun Montessori-inspired Mayan-themed measuring activity.

Life Cycle: 

Montessori-Themed Indigenous Fauna Cards:

Worksheets:

  • TBD

Science Experiment:

  • TBD

Sensory Play:

  • TBD

The Arts:

  • Make a Quetzal, Guatemalan’s national bird, out of construction paper and a toilet paper tube!
  • Channel your inner Mayan and make event masks out of old egg cartons.
  • Worry Dolls – Give your worries to these adorable little dolls which have been a favorite for Guatemalan children for many years.

Practical Life Skills:

  • Learn to make tortillas, a Guatemalan staple.

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Paper-plate Weaving – Celebrate the art of traditional Guatemalan weaving with this fun, child-friendly activity.

Gross Motor Skills:

  • TBD

Music:

  • Guatemala’s national instrument is the Marimba, and is a large wooden instrument looks like a big xylophone. It has a special significance for the Mayan community in Guatemala. To this day, the marimba is used in celebrations and ceremonies across the country. You can make one out of a cardboard box!

Art Mannequin:

We dressed our art mannequin as a traditional Mayan Guatemalan woman. I wish I had more colorful fabric as traditional Guatemalan dress is very colorful. We used lace overlaid on some green and red fabric for the “huipil” or top. The skirt is made of grey fabric with red ribbon sewn along the center.

Influential Figure:

Our Influential Figure for this Month was Norma Torres, who was born in Guatemala and moved to the USA at the age of five. She worked as a 911 dispatcher and was elected the Pomona city’s mayor in 2006. Torres is an example of the social integration of Latin immigrants, their personal success.

Recommended Reading:

  • Silly Billy – Billy is a bit of a worrier. He worries about hats and shoes. He worries about clouds and rain and giant birds. Most of all, he worries about staying at other people’s houses. His mum and dad try to help, but still Billy worries…until a visit to his grandma’s shows him how to overcome his fears with the aid of his imagination – and some tiny worry dolls.
  • Guatemalan ABCs – Take an alphabetical exploration of the people, geography, animals, plants, history, and culture of Guatemala! Filled with colorful illustrations and easy-to-read text, the Country ABCs series makes learning about countries and cultures as simple as A to Z.
  • The Wheels on the Bus – Journey to Guatemala on an exciting bus ride from a village to a market town with this jaunty, fresh approach to a favorite song.

I love to see what other people have done for Guatemala themed activities, so if you have something you think I need to add to this list, please DM me! 🙂

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