Galloping the Globe / Five in a Row – Italy

First, I must comment – the more I learn about Europe, the more I love it.  What a beautiful land rich in so much culture and history!  Italy is no exception.  It’s so incredibly beautiful and whimsical! 

For the record, if there was somewhere in the world, other than Africa, that I’d LONG to visit, it would be Italy.  It really would.

We started or journey with a ‘trip’ to Venice.  The place of looove. *wink*  We followed along with the study of Papa Piccolo through Five in a Row and used many of the concepts to introduce Venice through the eyes of a cat who lives along the Grand Canal. We then studied Clown of God which is set in Sorrento. (Living books are a key part of a Charlotte Mason homeschool, so we use many but these two are fantastic as are all of the Five in a Row books.)

Papa Piccolo Activities:

We always start every country study with some cultural food and a look at the world map.  We learned that Italy is shaped like a boot.  I’m excited to see that our children can easily identify Italy, Great Britain, France, Kenya, South Africa, Canada (and Ontario), and the USA on the world map.  Pretty good!  Our cultural introduction meal was Spaghetti and Meatballs with fresh Italian bread.   Easy, but delicious.
We looked at some Italian words and learned how to count to 10.  We also made Italian flags and looked at countless beautiful images of Venice and various other places in Italy.
We took a look at Art in various ways through Papa Piccolo.  First, we worked with watercolors as we tried to create a ‘replica’ of the title page. This was a study in the use of various mixes (more or less water) and how to create a water scene.

Audrey couldn’t resist trying to paint Papa Piccolo.
Art – the study of colors, contrasting and complimentary.  We used old paint chips to creat colorwheels.  We also talked about cool and warm tones and how certain colors either compliment each other or clash with each other. 

Audrey’s final painting for her water colors strudy… love it!

Drama, language, vocabulary, exercise.  In Papa Piccolo, there are countless action words.  I printed them off and then we drew words from a mason jar.  Each child took turns drawing words and we acted out the action together.  Great hands-on vocabulary building activity.

Curled Up.
Perched. Ha.

More Art studies – Michelangelo

Learning about Michelangelo and the Cistine Chapel in Rome. We discussed how he was commissioned by Pope after Pope to paint, when truly, he wanted to sculpt. Even so, his works are now world-famous.

Here’s a great activity to do when learning about Michelangelo – painting laying down!  Michelangelo labored for years on his back to paint the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel.  Here we laid a piece of old plan between two chairs, taped a paper to the plank and practiced painting laying down.  We used oil paints to follow along the lines of what Michelangelo would have used (closer than trying to use acrylic or water colors).  Fun!

Audrey’s finished painting of a person with a volcano.

More Michelangelo – we learned about his famous piece, David and how he was mostly self-taught in sculpture!  We used dry pieces of clay and ‘carved’ them using chisels and hammers.  It was a lesson in how incredibly difficult it must have been for Michelangelo to carve his famous pieces and how much talent and determination he had.

Making Masks!  This goes with our study of Venice.  We looked at the history of Masquerades and the art of Venician masks.  We used paper plates from the dollar story and some yarn to create our own masks.


Art – using yellow to depict light inside a building.  Easy construction paper activity.  I cut our yellow rectangles and squares and black buildings.  The kids decided how they wanted theirs to look.  Here is Audrey’s:

More Italian food… making Gnocci.

Making sugar cookies – not sure if it really ties in to Italy… but it’s baking, anyways!

Field Trip… out for Gelato at a local Italian Cafe!

Yum!  A fun family outing.

Clown of God Activities:

This is a beautiful tale of a man who finds his gift and uses it to honor God by making people happy.  Our kids would eagerly listen to it over and over.

Gravity – learning about gravity through the use of parachutes.  We made simple parachutes out of white garbage bags, string and lego people.  We also threw different objects from a high bridge to see how they fell differently based on weight and shape.

Cultural food – making our own Pizza!

Ready to make our very own dough.

Fresh out of the oven – delicious!


Our Clown of God Lapbooks:

Field Trip… to the country market!  So, it’s not quite the Piazza San Marco, but, we were stretching it. This was an outdoor market where we could buy coffee, hot chocolate, treats, fruits and vegetables, etc.  We thought it was similar to going to the piazza and visiting with friends and shopping the locally made and grown foods.

Other Tid-bits:

Five in A Row Story Disks showing Madeline, Glorious Flight, Papa Piccolo, and Clown of God.

Other books  and legends we added to our study.

We LOVE these videos.  They are fabulous for kids. 

Vivaldi – The Four Seasons in full

Learning Italian Numbers


  • Kathryn

    What a full and rich life you are living and giving to your children! I am so blessed to peek inside your classroom and inspired by your ideas and your blog. Thank you for taking the time, the photos and all the effort to post for the rest of us to enjoy. I pray God's richest blessings on your life and your family. Love, Kathryn

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