The monuments in Washington D.C.

We are back to studying, or at least reviewing, the things we have already learned about the monuments before we go. So far, we have learned about Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington and why they are important. Now we are looking at the monuments themselves and why they are neat.

The National Park Service has a great Junior Ranger book for the Mall and the monuments on the Mall. We printed it out and filled in what we could fill in. There are some places in it to draw pictures of the monuments (those will have to wait until we get there) and some other things like that. But all of the trivia and the puzzles we did. It was a great review of the Presidents and why they might have monuments dedicated to them.

The National Park Service also has a website dedicated to games about different national parks, solving mysteries, and all kinds of fun things. The website has over 50 games. It took my son 2 hours before he wanted to stop playing with the national parks games. I normally don’t go for that much screen time at once, but the games were really interesting. He now knows a lot of trivia – he’d make a great date to a cocktail party if he was older than 4.

We built our own Washington Monuments out of sugar cubes. We tried to get them really high, like the real monument, but failed. It was interesting talking about how the Washington Monument is built out of stone and not glued together, so we tried that with our monuments and it wasn’t really working. It was just a fun, hands-on activity to demonstrate how hard it must have been to build the Washington Monument.

We also did some talking about WWII. My grandfather and grandmother are WWII veterans. Both of them served in the Army Air Force. My grandmother served as a nurse and my grandfather as a doctor. It was interesting to try and put WWII into context for a 4 year old. It went like this: There was a big fight among all the countries of the World – that’s why it was a World War. During this war, lots of people died. But eventually, the U.S. won and now everything is peaceful. It is an extreme oversimplification, but I’m not going to do a deep, in depth, explaining of WWII for him. He tends to take information and assimilate it in dreams, and I don’t need him being scared.

The reason we talked about WWII was to lead in Vietnam and the Vietnam Memorial and the WWII memorial site. He helped me fill out the papers to add my grandmother and grandfather to the WWII memorial, and we sent it in. We talked about Vietnam and I showed him pictures of the wall. He understands that Vietnam was only in one location on the globe (unlike WWII) and that lots of people went missing and died, and that we honor them. I don’t know what he’ll remember of this, but it was worth a shot.

Then we finished up our day with letter practicing and math. We always do our writing and math – I think it’s important to get a good grounding in basics.

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