Thursday, March 11, 2010

Continent Boxes: Australia

I will continue my series on continent boxes today with our Australia box. As with the others, I pin-punched the continent in sandpaper from the top.

My local scrapbooking store had a collection of stickers that looked like the bumper stickers a traveler might stick to their suitcases on clearance one day when my Mom and I were shopping this summer. I bought one of each and have plastered my continent boxes with them.

It was easy to outfit our box with animals using the The Land Down Under Toob. I have made a "photo glossary" for each continent box (also pictured). This serves a practical purpose...Kal-El can sort all of the animals back into the proper boxes this way if he gets it in his head to co-mingle animals from various boxes. It also provides a quick guide for when one of the boys is holding a mysterious animal in their hands and says "what's this?" They also can be used for self-correction when he does "continent sorts." It occurs to me looking at this picture, that I need to add the little blue penguin or fairy penguin from our penguin collection.

I am very disappointed in our local zoo lately. It is warm enough to start going again and I wanted to start taking some "continent trips" over there. I knew Antarctica would be tough...the zoo just isn't going to have a whale or seals (all they have are penguins). But I though we would fair better with Australia. They only have kangaroos and emu! Not even a koala! Bummer. I want to take a trip someplace bigger, we would have some good choices in Florida this summer. However, that would be expensive and my husband thinks we should save those trips for when they are old enough to remember. I'm looking for some good animal video recommendations.

These flags and map are arguable Kal-El's favorite part of the work. The map does not have a flag from every country (as I assume the Neinhuis sets do). It did have New Zealand and Australia. We had a few coins from the area included in the coins and banknotes collection I purchased.

I should have taken a picture during school time today. Kal-El had the sandpaper globe, continents globe, continents puzzle map, Australia puzzle map, and pin map out while he worked with the box. We need more rugs.

The box contains the Australia (Continents) our set. It has proved useful in this particular box because I know very little about Australia. The world landmark cards I purchased have two landmarks from Australia: The Sydney Opera House and Uluru/Ayers Rock.

As I have mentioned previously, we were fortunate enough to participate in a continent swap. Our Australian family bound all of their materials into this beautiful book.

It is a very nice, thick book. I photographed some highlights (the little piece of floating scrap paper was used to block out personal names as needed).

There is a drawing of a little Australian girl dressed in real fabric clothes.

We are enjoying reading (and re-reading, and re-reading...) a photo diary of a child's day in Australia. The boys particularly like seeing how similar her day is to theirs because they included everyday activities such as cooking, washing, eating...

There are pages about common foods that they eat.


A tour of the local Beef Expo....


There is a neat pouch chock full of postcards. Brochures from area attractions were pasted inside.

The family bound a large travel brochure from Australia's Great Barrier Reef right into the book.

There are some nice pages with pictures of animals from their local botanical garden.

Thank you so very much to our friends in Australia for putting this together for us!

Updates:  (I try to update the posts in this series as we add works to the boxes)

 Sydney Opera House (a souvenir brass pencil sharpener purchased on eBay).

 "Ayers Rock" (a red rock about the right shape to stand in). We definitely have a scale issue between the rock and the opera house, but whatever.

Homemade photo glossary and miniature animals from the Safari LTD The Land Down Under Toob.

Great photos and just about the right amount of information for primary/early elementary.

Iconic Australian Foods!  There are some great suggestions in the Look What Came from Australia book.  Our Australian exchange partner supplied a recipe as well. It was nice to find the rest of the recipes I needed on this site.  This weekend we are trying:  meat pie, lamingtons, and Weetabix with bananas (like the little girl from our exchange likes for breakfast).  Later this week we are trying Vegemite on toast, pavlova, and Anzac biscuits.

The boys also made their own books about Australia.  Some they made from scratch, and some from printables.

Other posts in this series:

Continent Boxes: The Challenge
Continent Boxes: Antarctica
Continent Boxes: Africa


  1. Wow!! Beautiful work!! A lot of information!!! Thanks for share it!!

  2. This is all so neat! I absolutely love it!

  3. I love your continent boxes.

  4. Thank you for this post! I LOVE reading your posts about continent boxes! It's so useful. Thanks!

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  6. Great post - I really like the idea of continent boxes. By the way our zoo has koalas, but it doesn't help - koalas are always nicely hidden and asleep during the day :)

  7. I love this, you are giving me some insite to what we will be doing shortly at our house! Thank you for sharing!

  8. I'm so behind blog reading and blogging...but anyway, about your moveable alphabet post...I don't have a solution about the actual box configuration, but my Montessori friend suggested only putting one or two letters in each section because otherwise it's overstimulating to the child and it's certainly has helped us a lot. Later, when my oldest started needing more letters, we added a few more.

    Also, as for games, when the lights were off for bedtime, Koko and I would spell very simple words to each other out loud "c-a-t" and have the other guess the word. But truly, my second child is very neglected because I don't do nearly as much with her.

    Finally, the math storage pics. I'll have them up soon!

  9. What a great continent box! I have some free Montessori free part cards which might be suitable for your box on my blog if you are interested. There are also other Australian printables. Also, another good addition might be some pictures of Aboriginals and their art work such as dot paintings. Anyway, the link to the printables is: Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  10. You have awesome things in your boxes! Some friends and I did a continent swap also, this summer. We are hosting a blog hop to share ideas! Maybe you'd like to join us? My friend Leann is hosting the hop. She is at Thanks!