The Story of Ferdinand (and Spain)

Our kids had a blast working through The Story of Ferdinand from Five in a Row, Volume 2.  We are continuing Galloping the Globe and I’m seeking fun and interesting ways to tie literature into our country units.  There are certain books that literally SPEAK to kids.  This was one of them.  All three children were happy to listen to The Story of Ferdinand over and over.  What a great classic.

Some of our resources:

The Story of Ferdinand the Bull, Usborne’s Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do, Ferdinand the Bull and Friends CD, 365 Things to Draw and Paint (Usborne)

Measurement in Inches and Centimeters

Part of the study of Ferdinand is looking at measurement (based on the page in the book where he grows to be a big bull).  I put together this activity for the kids and it’s simple to duplicate.  We used Inches and Centimeters.  I made table grids for them to simply fill in the numbers and gave them items to measure and their own measuring tapes.  Simple but really fun and great practice for measuring!

Measuring paper, Ferdinand, a foot, and our seedlings.

Audrey especially learned a lot through this exercise, as she hadn’t had a ton of exposure to measuring (like Simon, her older brother).  She actually continued measuring items long after her chart was complete.

Science- Dying Carnations

Ferdinand loves to sit under his favorite tree and ‘smell the flowers’.  I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to do a fun science experiment with flowers.  We’ve tried this before with very little success but this time, we were better prepared.

We used carnations and natural food coloring.  Really, the only items you need are white carnations, food coloring and water, making it a fairly inexpensive activity.
Cut all the ends off of all the flowers diagonally and leave them out of water for an hour.
Let the kids have fun mixing colors for their flowers. 
We used a bunch of mason jars (our go-to jars for so many experiments) and each child made 3-4 different colors.
Tip:  Use a large amount of food coloring and less water.  It will take a highly concentrated mixture to really get the flowers to suck up and display the color.
After 2 days, the flowers looked like this:
So beautiful!!!
Along with our studies of botany, we talked about how flowers ‘drink’ the liquid and how it moves through their stem to the veins in their petals.  The liquid is colored, so the flowers take on that color!

Science – Exploring our Sense of Smell with Smelly Jars!

 Again, Ferdinand loves to smell flowers.  So much that he refuses to fight in the bull ring, sitting down and sniffing beautiful flowers instead.  This made me think of some fun ideas for exploring our sense of smell.  I’ve seen Smelly Jars at Science Centers and similar places and I knew it wouldn’t be very difficult to mimic what had been done.
I dug out a bunch of old spice jars I received years ago and covered them with construction paper to block the view of the smelly item inside.  I also labeled them with numbers to help with our game.

I filled the jars with various spices and scents and then covered the tops with wax paper and tied it tight with small wire.  I then used a tooth pick to carefully poke holes to release the aroma of the jar.
These are the smells inside the Smelly Jars.  The kids used their lists of 1-8 and matched the letters they thought were in each jar.  For older kids, you could skip writing the hints and have them guess at random and see how well they do!

We read about Taste and Smell from the Usborne First Encyclopedia of the Human Body


 Art – Size and Perspective

One of the prompts in Five in a Row is to discuss how the illustrator uses size and perspective to tell the story.  I got out the Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do and found this activity!  Science, sure… but art for us!



Art – Painting Trees

Another Usborne Art book, using small pieces of paper and acrylic paint.


Narration – re-telling The Story of Ferdinand

As a Charlotte Mason home educating family, we are really working hard on Narration.  When I asked the kids to trace their favorite illustration in the book, Audrey decided she wanted to trace EVERY illustration in the book and create her ‘own’ Ferdinand story.  I thought it was a fantastic idea!  You may want to try this with your child.

The idea of narration is the child is essentially telling you what they have understood and taken away from the learning process.  They are not regurgitating facts but instead, telling you what they actually  know.  In this case, from reading the book.  Audrey had such a sense of accomplishment when we used a binder to make her book more complete.  Her comprehension of this story was fantastic, which was easy to see through her narration of the entire plot and details. 

Tracing illustrations using tracing paper carefully taped onto the page.
I had Audrey do a narration of the entire story (from memory) while I typed.  I typed the sentences exactly as she said them.

Audrey then cut out the sentences and pasted them to the appropriate page.

Language – Interjections!

‘WOW!’  is used in the story when Ferdinand gets stung by the bee.  This was a great opportunity to discuss interjections and their use in the English language.  My husband put together this game for us to do together.  He took sentences with interjections at the front and cut them up.  We then spread them out and practiced putting an interjection into a sentence. 

Putting together our interjection sentence board.

We also watched the song “Interjections!” from Grammar Rock and wrote down the Interjections found in the song.

Art – Humor in Art!

We discussed how illustrators use humor to pull the reader in and enhance the story line.  Simon traced his favorite funny illustration.


Drama Cards – acting out scenes from The Story of Ferdinand

This is an activity I found on Homeschoolshare.com.  We printed the action cards, folded them, and put them in box.  We then took turns picking one and acting it out for the others to guess.  Fun! 

Playing with Cork 

Ferdinand loves to sit under his favorite oak cork tree.  We took a trip to a local U-Brew winery (I know, weirdest homeschool trip ever!) and bought some cork stoppers to play and create with.

Cork boats.
Making a cork compass was also a fun activity.  I easily found many instructions online and in Science books.  The needle, once magnetized, will always spin to point North.  Very cool!


Spanish Food and traditions

We took a trip to the olive bar (our kids LOVE olives) and picked out some new types of olives to try.  Spain is known for their olives!

From “Eat Your Way Around the World”, we learned that in Spain, it was once very common to eat using small picks.  Many appetizers are still served this way.  (Tapas)
Paella!  Delicious.

Ferdinand/Spain Books



Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚






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