W is for World

We did our "W is for World" unit around Earth Day, but it is a great unit for any time of the year. Here are a few of the things I did with my kids as we studied this letter and topic:

Learning the Letters

One thing I like to do is have my kids to a letter hunt in context. So as we read books about the world, I had them search for the letter W on the pages we were reading. Then, we emphasized what sound the "w" made in that word that they found. I am also working on sight words with my older son, so among the sight words we focused on this week was the sight word "we." (Other good sight words that start with W are "with" and "was.") When I teach a sight word, I first introduce it to him by itself and I teach him how we read the word. Then we read the word in context of a book or short paragraph (Often, you can find books at the library that target specific sight words). Finally, we practice writing the word and making up our own sentences with the word.


How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World (Dragonfly Books)  by Marjorie Priceman
This is a delightful book in which a girl travels all over the world to gather ingredients for an apple pie. It had cute illustrations and a fun story that kept my kids engaged while at the same time getting a tiny glimpse of different countries around the world.

The Earth and I by Frank Asch
This shows the simple joys of the interaction between a child and the earth. At the end the earth is "sad" and the child realizes the responsibility we have to take care of the earth.

We like the Good Night series by Gamble. We have also read Good Night Ocean, Good Night California, and more. This book has simple words and illustrations that take you all through the day over the world.

Love Your World  by DK Publishing
This book gives kids some practical ways to do their little part to take care of the earth. I love how the book itself is made from recycled paper, with a cardboard cover.

The Whole Green World  by Tony Johnston and Elisa Kleven
This cute rhyming book follows a girl as she appreciates all the beauties in the world around her.

Earth Book  by Todd Parr
My kids enjoy Todd Parr's books with their simple, understandable text, and bright illustrations. This book about the earth was a great introduction about ways we can take care of the earth.

Math Activities

For a little math and culture combined, we practiced counting in different languages. Since many of my son's friends are either Chinese or Hispanic, we focused on counting 1-10 in English, Chinese, and Spanish. (I found a free app for my ipad with the basic phrases in Chinese, and I already knew a bit of Spanish).


For a science lesson, we learned about layers of the earth (this was a great continuation/review from our unit on volcanoes)--I loved the idea of using playdough model to teach about the earth.

Social Studies

My kids love learning about different countries and cultures. We often do this in conjunction with holidays around the world. We learned about China as we celebrated the Chinese New Year, about France as we celebrated Mardi Gras, and about Mexico as we celebrated Cinco de Mayo. However, "W is for World" was a bit broad--you could talk about any countries you wanted to. That was a bit overwhelming to us. So we just kept it simple--we played some games with our toy Vtech Globe and did activities (i.e., coloring in a world map and learning continent names) from a World Geography activity book that I picked up from the dollar aisle at Target a while back.

Field Trip

We went to the California Science Center Ecosystems exhibit. The CSC is free every day, though you do have to pay for parking. The Ecosystems exhibit is fantastic--it takes you through the desert, ocean, polar ice caps, and more as you explore the different types of ecosystems this earth has. There were plenty of hands-on activities for my kids. They loved this outing.


We bought a huge pack of coffee filters at the dollar store and we enjoy using them for crafts. I was inspired by this idea to make coffee filter earths. To make an earth, we used our green and blue dot painters to decorate coffee filters (or you could just use blue and green markers). Then we sprayed them with spray bottles filled with water to make the colors run together.


We decorated round sugar cookies with blue and green frosting to look like the earth. I also like these earth muffins.

Games and Songs

A few kids' songs we sang were "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," and "It's a Small World," "Hello Around the World," and "We are One World."

For a movie break, we watched the Baby Einstein Video, World Music.

We also dressed up in different costumes and pretended to travel on a train to different countries around the world (I always have to connect trains somehow into the lessons for my boys!).

For more ideas that I collected, see my "W is for World" and "Earth Day" boards on Pinterest.

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