Learn about Madagascar with kids: activities and resources

We have recently spent a few days learning about different countries around the world. Our first stop, to my daughter's request, was Madagascar in Eastern Africa. Here are a few ideas, resources to get you going with learning about Madagascar. 



Let's clear things first. No we did not watch the movie Madagascar (you know the one I mean with the talking animals). It has little to do with Madagascar. Here are some of the things we learnt about and used. I hope they inspire you in learning with your own children at home or in the classroom.

This post may contain affiliate links for which I may earn a few cents to buy myself a coffee in exchange for the free content I provide. 


Map & flag

Our first task was, of course, to find Madagascar on a map. We used our beloved atlas Maps for that. Madagascar fills a double page on it. It is beautifully illustrated and full of talking points for kids. Once we had looked at that, Mr 6 was tasked with reproducing the country's shape with playdough while Miss 10 wrote some important facts (official language(s), capital city, population) in her little printable passport. They also coloured the country in their 'fake' passport's map. Finally, they drew the flag.

Every time we learn about a new country, we do this little routine.


Story

There are lots of really great read-alouds on YouTube for kids. We found this lovely story read by a teacher about the great trees (baobab) and animals that make Madagascar so special: This is the Tree written by Miriam Moss and illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway.



 

My only regret was that I would have liked something by a person of colour but couldn't find anything authentic on short notice. If you have any ideas, please leave us a comment below, I would love to have an alternative. 

For my French-speaking readers, we also have this book we really like in French about the baobab and the animals of Madagascar: Boubam et le tam-tam (we love this series of books with their audio stories).


Recipe

Making burnt rice tea

We struggled finding a recipe we could do with limited ingredients available to us at the time (thanks quarantine). So we ended up preparing a drink altogether. We made burnt rice tea. Yes, I know it sounds awful. But it was actually a really interesting process and tasted good (between a tea and a cereal drink). We found the recipe for burnt rice tea here. 


The finished product 



Music

I love playing music while we do other things and finding authentic music these days is pretty easy with streaming services. We found some great singers from Madagascar and have actually started many of them to our usual music rotation. What better way to raise little world citizens! 

On our Madagascar day, we listened to Razia Said and Lala Njava. It was important for me they sang in malagasy. Language exposure is important for our little world citizens and to fight injustice.


Craft

Malagasy silk weaving is one of the country's most revered and longstanding craft traditions. Of course, we don't have silk at hand at home and I probably wouldn't give it to my kids if we did! So we made a much safer and cheaper version of weaving with paper. 



We cut up a bunch of old magazines with colourful pages, cut out lines in white paper and simply threaded the magazine strips into the white paper. It was a great yet very simple activity my kids really liked and I think it can be done with a huge age range.



Fun facts

We also learnt about vanilla. Even if vanilla is not native of Madagascar (but rather Mexico), much of the world's consumption comes from Madagascar. We looked at a vanilla pod, talked about our trip to a vanilla cooperative in nearby Reunion island and we watched a couple of videos on YouTube about how vanilla grows, how it is harvested, etc. I am not going to link any one in particular as there are so many great ones.


Printable

While we listened to music, we also did these cute little printables (crosswords) to learn about Madagascar and practice language skills (as French is a language spoken there). The first one was suitable for my 6-year-old and the second one is much better suited to an older child (my 10-year-old found it challenging). Click on the images to be taken to the original sites for download. 




Wildlife

To end the day, we watched an episode of Madagascar, a tv documentary series narrated by the wonderful David Attenborough. As usual, these documentaries are informative, mesmerising and kids absolutely love them. Highly recommend them. 

Madagascar narrated by David Attenborough


Cartoon

A good friend also recommends this cute little cartoon for young kids. The characters travel to many countries around the world and Madagascar is amongst them. Here are the episodes about Madagascar in French and in English. There are actually 3 different episodes you can watch as a whole or separately. 


If you have more resources, I would love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below. 



Post a comment

0 Comments