We didn’t set out to study Antarctica. We stumbled onto it through a book, which is my favorite way to discover anything.
And if you don’t have a copy of MAPS by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski, do WHATEVER you must do to add this book to your collection. It’s a children’s book, but honestly I’ve come close to fighting my kids for a turn with it. We are ALL mesmerized. It’s where cartography, imaginative illustrations, and nonfiction factoids converge.
There is something about pouring over a map. Without realizing it, you enter a new place through a thin sheet of paper. In our family, we call it mapilating. This is a book you can lose yourself in.
So when we discovered Santa left this book in my 5-year-old’s stocking, we rushed to find the map of Antarctica. We had big questions about the place. Our latest installment in The Magic Treehouse chapter book series takes Jack and Annie on an adventure there in Eve of the Emperor Penguin.
The wonderful part about reading fiction is the questions that come up – is there really a Mt. Erebus? McMurdo Station? What are scientists studying there? Yes and yes… and Google has street view of McMurdo Station. Seriously. And there are web cams galore.
And playing in theaters right now, ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE. It’s an award-winning documentary ten years in the making that shows you exactly what it’s like to live there. And it’s fabulous. While our 3-year-old decided a closer look at frigid temps was cause for a nap, my 5-year-old belly laughed at the ridiculously extreme weather, which the movie does a clever job of showcasing. You have never seen such incredible time lapse photography of the night sky. NEVER.
Want more adventure? Take a tour of an abandoned research hut from early 20th century Antarctic exploration. It looks like a movie set!
This visit to Antarctica has us thinking…. why not “visit” more places? Well before we pick out our next country, we are going to need a passport! To be continued….
In the meantime, you are going to love this activity with your kids…
- It brings faraway places closer
- opens the door to weather science
- sparks imaginations
- introduces geology, geography, astronomy, it’s a bonafide STEM freak out!
- and your brain will find it fascinating, too!