A is for Apple
A is for Apple! In Swedish, the word apple is äpple. It is pronounced epp-leh. Apples are grown in most countries around the world. You can find apple trees in Sweden everywhere from orchards to backyards to out in the wild. Use the link below to have fun being creative with with apples!
Apple recipes that are easy to make with children:
B is for Bee!
In Swedish, the word bee is bi. It is pronounced the same in Swedish and English. Did you know there are over 250 species of bees in Sweden? About 30 of those are bumblebees. The sad news is that more than one third of the bee population is declining. The bees are running out of places to live due to urbanization. Urbanization is when rural areas turn into more populated places like cities. We need bees because they are our most important pollinators. Without them, our food supply would be in trouble. To help this, a popular fast food chain, McDonald’s, is using some of their billboards as bee hotels in Sweden! Little holes are punched throughout the billboard and there are bee houses behind the sign. This is giving the bees new places to live and will hopefully help them increase their population. Below there are some activities relating to bees.
C is for Cat!
In Swedish, the word cat is katt. It is pronounced kaht. About 20% of households in Sweden include a cat as a pet. Did you know that there are wild cats in Sweden too? The largest wild cat in Sweden is called a lynx. A lynx can grow to be about 3 feet long and has strong legs allowing it to jump far and climb high into trees. They are carnivores who hunt for food mostly at dawn and dusk. Reindeer is their main prey.
Below there are some activities relating to cats.
This first craft uses just paper (along with some art supplies if you’d like to make it fancy) to make the cutest origami cat! (via pink stripey socks) Click here for craft.
This second craft uses part of you! Your handprint! Trace or paint your hand to create an adorable cat craft. (via kids activities blog) Click here for craft.
Did you know that there are Swedish books all about a man and his cat? Sven Nordqvist wrote a fun series all about them! Pettson (the man) and Findus (the cat) live in a small farmhouse in the countryside in Sweden. They have lots of silly adventures together! Check here for more information about these books!
D is for Duck!
In Swedish, the word for duck is anka. It is pronounced ahn-kah. There are many kinds of ducks that live in Sweden. There is even a species of duck called the Swedish Duck! The breed was developed in the coastal areas of Germany, Belgium and Holland. At the time they were introduced, that area was under the Swedish throne. Swedish Ducks come in a variety of colors. They are related to mallards, but are closer to the size of a goose. Sadly, Swedish Ducks are on the endangered species list. Another popular duck in Sweden is Donald Duck, or Kalle Anka! Every Christmas Eve at 3 p.m. millions of Swedes tune in to see the Christmas special featuring Kalle Anka and his friends. This tradition has been going strong since 1959.
Below there are some activities relating to ducks.
E is for Elephant!
In Swedish, the word for elephant is elefant. It is pronounced el-eh-fahnt. There are not any elephants living in the wild in Sweden. Many zoos are also moving elephants out- they don’t do as well in a zoo setting. Instead they are often being placed in large parks where scientists and experts can recreate their natural habitats. Below are some links to facts about elephants and also some activities!
F is for Flower!
In Swedish, the word for flower is blomma. It is pronounced blue-mah. Linnea Borealis (named after Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, who invented the standardized system of naming organisms) is the national flower of Sweden. Each province also has its own flower. You can see those here. Sweden is well known for its variety of plants and flowers grown all around the country-both in the cities and countryside. Below are some links to help you explore more about flowers!
G is for Goat!
In Swedish, the word for goat is get. It is pronounced yet. While goats aren’t very common farm animals in Sweden (sheep and cows are found more often), there is one very famous goat in Sweden: The Gävle Goat! This is not an actual animal, but a large scale figure made of a frame and straw. It is built new each year and some years it reaches nearly 50 feet! It is based off of the traditional Swedish Christmas goat, or julbocken (yool-bock-en) and has been built in the town of Gävle each Christmas season since 1966. Unfortunately, it has been destroyed by people most years, usually by fire. The last time it was destroyed was 2016. Security has been improved the last few years and the goat has survived! Below are some links to help you explore more about goats.
Here is more on the Gävle goat.
Here is a STEAM activity based on the Three Billy Goats Gruff (via A Little Pinch of Perfect).
This craft uses a paper plate to make a goat craft that can also be turned into a mask! (via DLTK).
H is for Heart!
In Swedish, the word for heart is hjärta. It is pronounced hyart-ah. A heart is a common motif in Scandinavian arts and crafts. You can often find hearts on quilts, in knitted items, in paintings, carved into wood, and many more places! Hearts are used in decorations throughout the home. Christmas is a time where many Swedes will feature heart shaped ornaments on their trees. Hearts feel cozy and sweet and bring feelings of love. You may have seen people putting teddy bears in their windows during the quarantine. Hearts are another popular way people can show love to their neighbors.
This activity uses odds and ends you may have around the house (like fabric, paper scraps, etc.) to create a collage heart! (via Make It Your Own).
This second activity shows you how to make the popular heart basket. You can make it out of paper or even felt! These are easy to follow instructions, however there are also many YouTube videos out there as well! Once you get the hang of how the weaving works, you can even find more difficult patterns and templates. (via Mama Pea Pod).
I is for ice!
In Swedish, the word for ice is Is. It is pronounced ees. Sweden is pretty famous for winter activities like skiing and skating. There is so much to do outdoors in Sweden all year long! Did you know that there is a hotel in Sweden made out of ice? There are a few other places with ice hotels but Sweden’s is the oldest. It is rebuilt every year. Click on this link for some more information about Sweden’s Ice Hotel. Below are some activities you can do at home!
This super fun (and maybe messy!) activity uses food coloring and water to create ice paint! Creativity will be through the roof! (via powerful mothering).
This is a science experiment to make fizzy ice! (via toddler approved).
J is for jellyfish!
In Swedish, the word for jellyfish is manet. It is pronounced mah-neet. If you ever go swimming or boating in Sweden, you may encounter different kinds of jellyfish! Did you know that Sweden has had some news worthy jellyfish stories? In 2013, Moon Jellyfish swarmed Sweden’s Nuclear Reactor and clogged the pipes! In 2018 Lion’s Mane Jellyfish were seen on Sweden’s West Coast for the first time in 88 years.
- When jellyfish swarm suddenly, it is called a bloom.
- A group of jellyfish is called a smack.
- Jellyfish numbers are booming leading to an unbalanced ecosystem.
- The rise in numbers is partly due to over fishing of the natural predators of jellyfish. Another reason is because the temperature of the oceans are rising which makes it easier for jellyfish to reproduce.
- Jellyfish have no brains.
- Some jellyfish can be the size of a pinhead, others can be the size of a human.
K is for Kite!
In Swedish, the word for kite is drake. It is pronounced drah-keh. People fly kites all over the world. It is a fun way to get outdoors to enjoy nature. Sailing a kite high in the sky is a thrilling experience! In Sweden, people fly kites on land…and in the sea! Kite surfing is a sport where people use special surfboards and hold onto special kites while in the water. The wind pulls them along and sometimes at high speeds!
This site gives more information and some great kite surfing photos.
Making kites can be a bit tricky, but this craft is a breeze! All you need is a paper bag, some string, decorating materials and a windy day! (via I Can Teach My Child blog).
L is for Lion!
In Swedish, the word for lion is lejon. It is pronounced lay-on. People might not think that Sweden is a place where you’d find many lions. However, you might be surprised to find out that they are all over downtown Stockholm! During the 1990s, artist Anders Arfelt created barricades to protect the sidewalks of Gotland. Wanting to avoid just having large cement blocks, Arfelt made them in shape of a sheep. In 1995, Stockholm asked Arfelt to create barricades for this city in the shape of lions! There are also lion sculptures throughout the city in other areas like the Parliament and the Royal Palace.
Here is a page full of lion facts.
This craft helps you create a beautiful lion’s mane using a fork! (via crafty morning).
M is for Moon!
In Swedish, the word for moon is måne. It is pronounced mohn-eh. There is a huge Swedish-American connection to the moon. Did you know that Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut and 2nd person to set foot on the moon (literally right behind Neil Armstrong), is Swedish-American?
Buzz Aldrin Fun Facts:
- Buzz visited Sweden many times after the moon landing.
- In 1970, Buzz was chosen as Swedish-American of the year.
- Buzz was born with the first name Edwin, but legally changed it to Buzz in 1988.
- Buzz got his name when the younger of his two elder sisters mispronounced “brother” as “buzzer.” This was later shortened to Buzz.
- Buzz’s mother’s maiden name was Moon.
- Buzz spent a total of 289 hours and 53 minutes in space throughout his career as an astronaut.
- Buzz was supposed to be the first man on the moon, but Neil Armstrong’s position in the space capsule made it easier for him to step out first.
- Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear was inspired by Buzz Aldrin.
- Buzz has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Buzz holds honorary degrees from six institutions.
Buzz Aldrin and other astronauts used a lot of scientific thinking when they were on their missions. They didn’t have a word for it during that first moon landing, but they were using STEM! STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and is an important part of the curriculum in most schools. STEM is important because it is part of every aspect of our lives!
A few years ago, LEGO partnered with NASA. “We’re going to use the classroom of space, the International Space Station, to inspire the next generation,” said Leland Melvin, associate administrator for NASA Education and a former astronaut. Melvin said the LEGO partnership is crucial for NASA’s education mission because the blocks invite children to think, basically, like engineers. After all, building with the toys means deciding what shape to make, what combination of blocks together make that shape the best and determining what the thing can do when it’s finished. They also come up with designs that will be stronger depending on how the bricks are aligned with each other. Playing with LEGO bricks is a great STEM activity!
Directions: Use your imagination to create something related to the moon, space travel or life in space. Space shuttles, space craft, launch facilities and even space colonies are some ideas to get you started! You are the engineers. Have fun and be creative!
Space food isn’t something you can only eat in space; you can also make space food at home! Want to know how to make and eat real space food just like the astronauts do? Here is a recipe to try. Grab your parents and make some delicious space food.
-1 pack instant pudding
-quart sized zip top bag
Put one tablespoon plus one teaspoon of dried pudding mix into a zip top bag. Add 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of powdered milk to the bag. Pour in just under ½ cup of water. Squish and squeeze the bag until the pudding sets. Cut the corner off of one end of the bag. Eat just like the astronauts, with no utensils!