What is a Landmark?

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We’re only in our second month of a subscription to Raddish Kids, but I continue to be impressed with the company’s thorough lesson plans to accompany each recipe. I mentioned last month that the lessons are meant for everyone from preschoolers through big kids, so you’ll need to adapt and adjust accordingly. To wit, I worried Travis wouldn’t get much out of a lesson on French landmarks (to go along with the French dessert we baked), but boy was I wrong!

The idea is to learn about the Eiffel Tower specifically, and then follow-up with a discussion of landmarks in general. So we started with a video clip about the Tower.

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Travis had so many questions right away: Could you really go to the top? What was the tower made of? How did they light it up at night? He was even more amazed when I pulled out a few old photos from my own trip up to the top!

Next, we looked at pictures of other landmarks. I selected some from a travel magazine, and showed him a mix of man-made (the Great Wall of China) and natural (the White Cliffs of Dover). Now it was time to ask him to define a landmark based on what he saw.

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This was a tricky question for a preschooler, but he decided it was something you built. I pointed back to the cliffs again, and we settled on this definition: anything that can be easily recognized, that marks a specific location.

We explored further with a fantastic STEM activity, encouraging kids to build replicas of famous landmarks. Duplo was a natural medium for my preschooler, and he loved the challenge.

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Here is our little Eiffel Tower, replete with a tourist on top!

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We also tackled London Bridge, the Parthenon, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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Big kids can get super creative with these, in a wide variety of materials, and aim to be much more exact.

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From here, older children can go on to make a brochure, travel blog, or model of any landmark they choose. But Raddish’s suggestion for young kids was to keep things closer to home. I’ll be honest: If I didn’t have a three-month-old, I would have taken Travis to a world-famous landmark in nearby New York City, like the State of Liberty or the Empire State Building.

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But since that was out of the cards, I asked Travis if he could think of a landmark in our little town, and was so proud when he remembered the bell we pass ever day en route to school, part of a Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building.

So off we went on a frigid morning for a few pics!

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Travis loves using our instant camera, so was a happy participant despite temps in the teens.

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We came home and wove it all together by making a brochure. I showed him a few examples, and soon he was gluing pictures down proudly.

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In sum, this was definitely an advanced social studies lesson for a preschooler, but I’m glad we accepted the challenge to tackle it. Travis learned so much, and we had a blast in the process.

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