In honor of a birthday trip/engagement trip to NYC with Jessica and Taegan, I developed a cities unit to prepare Aria for what we would find in NYC. The great thing about the unit is that it could easily be adapted to any large city you visit. It is also a great chance to review information learned from a Safety/All About Me unit from the previous year, such as not talking to strangers and knowing your telephone number in case of separation. Not only was it a short and fun unit, but I really think that the material helped prepare Aria well for NYC so that the overload of people and information didn’t overwhelm her.
I divided the unit into two sections: what makes up a city (with a specific focus on things we would find in the city of NY) and a museum portion to prepare for our visit to the Natural History Museum. We built our own subway out of an empty large box (that luckily was double layered, so we were able to turn it into two subway cars). The girls loved playing inside, and I laminated a metro card and map for them to practice “getting around” on the subway. We also had friends over and built our own city out of boxes and aluminum foil. The kids had a blast decorating them and then organizing and reorganizing the city like they were city planners. Additionally, I found a city kit at Hobby Lobby on sale earlier in the year that contained a fire station, garage, and construction site, so the girls were able to make that a part of their city and talk about what sort of jobs people might have in a city. This transitioned really well into a visit to the FDNY store in NY, where a firefighter gave the kids a great lesson on fire safety and they were able to climb all around a fire truck. Definitely a place not to miss!
At the recent homeschool conference I visited, I loaded up on historical Dover coloring books. There was a great one on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island that gave background on those spots while also doubling as a coloring book. Coloring the book helped prepare us for riding the Staten Island Ferry and passing right by both locations. Highly recommend this free and short trip if you want to get close to the statue but not deal with the huge crowds.
Knowing that we would be doing an Eloise in the Plaza tea party in NY, we prepared ahead of time by reading Eloise in the Plaza and watching the show Me, Eloise. I’m not a huge fan of Eloise’s attitude, but this once a week tea party was perfect for kids and one of Aria’s favorite things that we did, other than the Central Park Zoo (which was the favorite). We had so much fun that day going to the Milk and Cookies spa for hair and nails and then looking fabulously dressed up at the tea party just like Eloise!
Lastly, we made sure to prepare ahead of time for the Natural History Museum by doing The Usbourne Museum Activity book and watching the Night at the Museum movie. Though Aria was a little bit concerned after watching the movie that the stuff in the museum would come alive, it got her excited for what we would find. We didn’t have days to wander the museum, so we couldn’t see as much as I would have liked, but the girls loved the ocean and dinosaur halls and saw some awesome skeletons. I would love to spend weeks wandering this museum because it was amazing, but a few hours were plenty for Aria and Taegan!
I could go on and on about the stuff to do in NYC with small girls, but really it was the city itself and its skyscrapers and busyness that Aria loved more than anything. She had a blast walking everywhere and always having something fun to do. So glad we spent our birthday money on a trip this year and can’t wait to see what city we find to visit next!
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Jessica and Ana
Our Homeschooling Mission Statement: We will strive to be patient, godly examples to our children, integrating biblical principles and morality into every subject. Learning should be fun. We will foster an attitude of lifelong curiosity and play while providing the best possible education we can through books, art, technology, food, tactile activities, and cultural experiences. Learning will not be dictated by hours on a clock but will be a way of life for our families.