Monday, May 26, 2014

Folktales From New Zealand

It is time for another month's theme at Poppins Book Nook.

This month's theme is Folklore- something that is very prevalent in New Zealand. If you would like a great resource for Folktales, you can get the free Folktales Lapbook from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom.

Traditionally, folk tales were used to explain something happening, such as the rising of the sun or why the tide goes in and out, as we learnt in the book Parata the Taniwha.

Taniwha are water spirits of Maori legend. They may live in rivers, lakes or the sea, and can take many forms; logs, eels, reptiles or whales. They are often regarded by local people as guardians of that stretch of water, but some are evil monsters.

In the folktale of Parata the Taniwha, when Parata breathes in the tide goes out, and when he breathes out the tide comes back in. This was a great introduction to teach Lucas about tides. and how they actually work.

We did a simple activity to show how the tide goes in and out. Please note that this activity is aimed at preschool level, so it is a very basic overview!

You will need:
Brown sugar, 1 cup water, blue food colouring, a rectangular glass dish, a cup to pour the water, and a ball to represent the moon.

Lucas started off by making a beach at one end of the dish using the brown sugar to represent sand.

We then coloured the water blue to represent the sea, and poured it into the dish.

We placed the moon at the beach end of the dish, and made the tide go in. I explained to Lucas that the moon's pull controls the tide and so where the moon is in relation to earth is what influences the tide.

We then moved the moon and made the tide go out.

Lucas was very excited to make the tide go in and out, and seemed to understand the concept of the moon influencing the tide as well. He also had great fun mixing the brown sugar into the water!

I wanted to teach Lucas a song I remembered from my childhood about a taniwha. Lucas and I discovered a great website with this song, where Lucas could even put his himself into the video clip! Please click here to see the video and hear the song. You can even use your own child's photo to recreate the video clip- Lucas had so much fun on this website.

One day a taniwha (water spirit)
Went swimming in the moana (sea)
He whispered in my taringa (ear)
"Won't you come along with me
There such a lot to see
Underneath the deep blue sea."
 I said "Oh, no, no, no!
You'd better go, go, go,
Although I know we could be friends.
My Mama's waiting for me
Underneath the kowhai tree (yellow- the kowhai tree is a native plant)
Taniwha, haere ra!" (goodbye)

We had great fun learning some Maori words, doing water play and singing a song. I would love to see how you are inspired by Folktales this month, please share your ideas over at Poppins Book Nook with us!

Clip art by Melon Headz

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  1. This is such a neat way to learn about tides! I love cultural activities <3 Folktales are always thought provoking and inspirational... I can't wait to read more.

  2. What a great activity! Love the song too!

  3. What a creative way to demonstrate tides!

  4. This is a very neat way to learn about tides!

  5. This is a fun tale I hadn't heard before. I love your tide activity too!

  6. This is a fun idea to explore tides. I love that folktales inspire imagination as well as creative learning.

    Thank you for helping to bring a spoonful of reading fun to the Poppins Book Nook this month!


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