I’m a big fan of educational integration. No subject exists all by itself, and the more we make connections between subjects, the more meaningful the educational experience is for the student. I love to find ways to connect music to every subject under the sun: literature, science, nature, art, Bible, — I could go on and on. I see classical music as a gateway to everything else, and today the gate is opening to geography and architecture…
Earlier in the week we talked about the Water Music, which was written for the King’s boat jaunt up and down the River Thames in 1717. Handel wrote party music for the 18th century, basically.
A hands-on activity is great for giving a classical music piece some historic context (the music alone can be a little abstract sometimes, especially for very young children). So today we are going to reconstruct the River Thames and its iconic buildings — using materials you have laying around your house.
The Thames was the very reason London became such an important city. Trade and transportation trumped everything, and great cities developed by the water. I love this summary of British Architecture history – it’s a wonderful study tool for older kids or for you to summarize for younger ones. As an American, where something built in the 1800s is considered old, I find these buildings fascinating. #ifthesewallscouldtalk
Okay, let’s get started!
First, Gather the Supplies:
- I used a map I found here.
- These drawing tutorials for London landmarks are great.
- I found this paper at Michaels (but any blue paper will do).
And of course, get your soundtrack going:
Your background music is pretty much the reason you are doing this, after all.
Oh, don’t forget your nature:
Okay, now let’s really get started!
Create Your Buildings
These drawing tutorials are wonderfully flexible. My 6-year-old daughter did the Tower of London by tracing, and my 12-year-old son and his friend followed the tutorials and free-handed the others. I love how they turned out:
Aaaaaand…since I am new to internet tutorials, I totally failed to take pictures of each step, so let’s just leap to the end, ‘k?
Create Your River + Everything Else
Behold, the River Thames and some of London’s most famous structures…
And there you have it! Teach your kids a little bit about geography and a little bit about architecture, all the while filling their ears and brains with the glorious sounds of Mr. Handel’s Water Music:
If you give this a try, I’d love to see your photos! Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on social media: @kristihillmusic.
Happy listening and river building!