Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Birch - Russian Soul (Winter Olympic Games)

I love a Russian birch

Winter Olympic Games are held in Russia. I hope, terrorism will not be an issue there! Meanwhile, we are getting ready - it's time to learn about Russia. Everybody knows about Matryoshka.  There is another, very special for Russian people, symbol: a birch tree.

Birch is often described as a beautiful Russian girl dressed in a traditional bright Russian sundress. Sometimes, the birch is a beautiful bride in a white wedding dress. The painting above is "Birch Grove", a romantic landscape painted in 1901 by Arkhip Kuindzhi.

 
"Birch Grove" by famous Ivan Shishkin. There are several types of birch trees that survive in US (their common enemy is insects). As you can see, the Russian birch has white bark with black stripes, and a wonderful crown of leaves. This makes birch woods look outstanding and breath taking. Maybe that's why a lot of Russian poets devoted their poems to birch.
 
A beautiful white birch tree is in a Russian soul, she is a part of a Russian soul.

 Play-doh tree craft

I drew a tree on white construction paper and glued it onto the piece from a box for durability. Camilla made "carrots" from the black play-doh and stuck them to the tree for stripes. She also made snow under the tree from white play-doh "carrots". The activity is great for fine motor skills!

Tree activities for toddlers

We talked a lot for these activities. About different lands that look and feel different than what we are used to here. About the different kinds of trees. We looked at the paintings and talked about birch. I used several trees to compare the color and the size.
 
We built our small world winter forest with several trees and animals, and a fur rug for a snow. Camilla immediately decided that she wanted to sit in the forest and read a book.
The oak tree has pockets for animals/acorns. With our oak, we reviewed parts of the tree and how trees are used by people and animals. The Christmas tree is a great printout from 3 Dinosaurs. Camilla is very much into Do-a-Dot activities now!
 We have also read a beautiful Russian poem. It's written by Alexander Prokofiev. The translation is mine (Hmmm, blogging is interesting - it makes you do all kinds of things :) ).
 

I love a Russian birch.
Sometimes she's light,
but at other times she's sad.
In the white sundress,
kerchiefs in her pockets,
with beautiful clasps
and green earrings.
I love her standing over the river
in her festive mantle.
Sometimes she is bright and exuberant;
sometimes she's sad and crying.
I love the Russian birch.
She's always with her girl​​friends
dancing in the spring
and kissing, as it happens.
She goes to where she'd want to
and sings at places nobody else does.
In the wind, she bows to her feet,
and bends, but does not break!

What are your favorite trees? Tree activities?