Friday, June 27, 2014

Learning about Birds. Art and Dance: Swan Lake.

Learning about Birds: Art and Dance

We've been busy: painting, drawing, discussing birds, observing birds in the parks and the Zoo, dancing - pretending to be birds. This is a very beautiful and exciting theme for preschoolers!


This post is the last for exploring the wonderful Russian culture hands-on with the World Cup for Kids project. There were 32 countries participating in the World Cup. After many exciting games, only 16 countries made it to the next stage.

Congratulations, Team USA, and thanks for the great games!

Tuesday, June 17 Russia - Korea Republic
The post can be found here: Cupcake Castle: Play-doh and scissors skills
Sunday, June 22 Russia - Belgium
The post can be found here: Treasure chest and precious stones from fairytales
Thursday, June 26 Russia - Algeria
Do you want to read more about Russia? Birch - Russian Soul

Swans in Russian Culture

"Swan Lake" is probably the most famous, with its wonderful music composed by P.I. Tchaikovsky and beautiful ballet dancers dressed as swans. The ballet was first staged in 1877 in Bolshoi Theater, Moscow. An interesting fact: the premier was heavily criticized for poor production and Tchaikovsky's music that was found too noisy.

The magical story of Swan Lake is about eternal love. Odette, The Queen of the swans, was transformed into a swan by the evil sorcerer. Prince Siegfried is into partying and sports, busy celebrating his 21st birthday, and finally goes hunting with friends. There by the lake, he falls in love with Odette by the first sight. Only he and his love can save Odette from the evil spell. Prince fails his task. The only option they have left to be together is to die. Siegfried and Odette jump into the lake and reunite for all eternity.

This romantic and tragic ending was changed many times and many versions of the ending to the story exist. So we can also use our imagination to have an ending to our liking. Was the evil sorcerer killed? Did Siegfried die in a fight? Did they both die in the fight? Did Odette jump into the lake alone? Were they both transferred into swans and flew away? What is your favorite ending?

Swans are revered deep in Russian culture. They believed to accompany the Sun God, Ra. They have wonderful virtues of purity, fidelity, nobility, and magic powers. A beautiful girl, a white swan of Russian legends, could do all wise and magic things to help her loved one. According to Russian beliefs, if a person had killed a swan, he and all his family were destined to an unhappy ending.

Exploring and creating

We went to the zoo to learn more about birds. Camilla's favorites are flamingo, penguins, and swans. We found this gorgeous Mommy swan sitting on the nest!

I invited her to dance with the "Swan Lake". She was very creative with a free dance. Then I told her that dancers pretend they are birds with their arms as wings. This simple idea was very new for her and really helped her to understand the purpose of wings for birds - funny!


I also pointed out the colors of the ponds and lakes in the pictures in the books and in parks we visited. When the time came to paint our own lake, we chose the colors of lighter and darker blue, green, purple, and white. Camilla enjoyed painting, mixing, and dabbing white spots on top for reflections. It did take a lot of her to create her lake.


It took us 3 days to make this simple picture below. It was made as Daddy's birthday present. He liked it a lot - the hand prints and the meaning, I guess. Camilla painted the lake first and we let it dry. On the second day, she used Do-a-Dots for grass and flowers around the lake. Then we made the hand prints with white tempera paint and extended the swans' heads by finger painting. I used markers for beaks and eyes.


This swan is a hand print with tempera paint on the black construction paper. Camilla used sidewalk chalk to finish the scene.


I very much hope you enjoy following our hands-on discoveries of the countries and cultures with these wonderful blogs!

All Done Monkey * Kid World Citizen * Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes * Laugh and Learn * LadyDeeLG * Head of the Heard * Marie's Pastiche * Mama Tortuga * Chasing The Donkey * La Cite Des Vents * Homeschool Ways * Melibelle In Tokyo * 30 Minute Crafts * My Twintopia * The Piri-piri Lexicon * MarocMama * Growing Up Gabel * Las Vegas Moms Blog * My Daylights

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