Yesterday I had a genuinely good day! My husband and I went to a little new age shop that is always fun to browse through. I love all that metaphysical “woo woo” stuff, and got some cool new candles, an awesome black skull container, and a book on aromatherapy. After that, we visited a local Native American mounds park, with a beautiful waterfall:
For lunch, we stopped at a quaint little pizza place, which sat us next to an old fireplace with ice skates hanging on it (I love little details like that!):
After eating, we drove by an old neighborhood park near a river and decided to stop and check it out. They had really old playground equipment, like the stuff I grew up with! I couldn’t resist the temptation to play on their bouncy toys:
Or climb to the top of the jungle gym:
I also played on their old, flat board swingsets and a big, bouncy dinosaur that looked a lot like Barney. After playing, we took a walk along the river. I did fall at one point and woke up with a huge bruise on my thigh today. I knew I would be extremely sore today after all that activity, but it was worth it! Days like that make life worth living.
“The Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure” picture book, written by Sonya Kimble-Ellis and illustrated by Matthew Hebert, contains an unusual combination of fantasy, history and life lessons. The storyline of the book revolves around four kids named Rosa, Kamal, Richard and Daisy, who find themselves transported to an ancient Mayan village in Central Peten (now known as Guatemala) thanks to the help of a magical sandcastle.
Once there, the group of kids meet a Mayan native named Chamula, who teaches them more about his culture, including an introduction to Mayan hieroglyphics, local wildlife and all the different aspects of daily life in the village. Luckily, this information is related in an interesting manner, one that doesn’t slow down or ruin the story being told.
This story was an enjoyable read, not only because I personally like history, but because the story is told through the eyes of children, and likeable children at that. Rosa, Kamal, Richard and Daisy take what could become a boring history lesson and turn it into something that kids can relate to, something exciting and new.
I would definitely recommend this book for any history or fantasy lovers, but think it would also be a good pick for any child who simply likes a good story. I will say that this book has quite a bit of text, so it is probably better suited for middle or older elementary age children, perhaps age 7-12 or so.
To find out more about this book, the author or how to order a copy for yourself, please visit The Sandcastle Kids website.
Me trying out the beds the Native Americans used to sleep on...ouch!
Today our family visited an ancient Native American village and archaeological site. Even though our 12-year-old foster son complained the whole time because he wanted to go home and sit in front of a tv or computer screen, my husband and I had a good time.
While we were there, it really hit home how lazy and spoiled some of us have become. The settlement was only 800 years old, but back then, they grew their own crops, hunted their own game, made their own clothing, built their own homes, raised their own children (no daycares) and even buried their own dead.
Life was hard back then, there is no doubt about that. About 50% of the children never lived to the age of six and most adults died by the age of 40 due to infectious diseases and untreated chronic health conditions. Most of their homes were bare one room huts where 8-10 people lived. Their beds were nothing more than sticks tied to the wall with a few deerskin blankets. I laid down on one of those beds today, and let me tell you, they are UNCOMFORTABLE!!!
Although I certainly wouldn’t really want to give up my comfy life to go live in a hut and grow my own corn, the trip today did get me thinking about how lazy, spoiled and anti-social Americans have become. How would our kids today who absolutely have to have a cell phone and the latest jeans deal if our society was suddenly thrown back into an agricultural, hand-to-mouth living situation?
Some cultures of the world still live like that ancient village, in some ways I wonder if they aren’t living lives that are more fulfilling. Which is more rewarding? Watching tv for hours a day or creating something worthwhile, something that will last?