I don’t if it’s been apparent here, but I’m something of an Anglophile. I also love history, and watching history-in-the-making. So, Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee has been a big deal to me, as it is something I had never seen before, and will likely never see again, and like anything that’s important to me, it found its way into our school and family activities.
I found a great website with lots of fun Jubilee, (as well as British), activities. There were coloring sheets, mazes, word searches, worksheets, and craft ideas. They were suitable for a variety of ages, so I was able to find some activities for Turkey and Bunny, some for Moose and Ladybug, and some for all four of them, (but nothing for Chickadee, yet…I guess I’ll just have to tell her about the Jubilee when she’s older). This was a great way to learn about the royal family, the monarchy in general, and even a little bit of British history. I’ll be coming back to this website for ideas for the Olympics later in the summer!
Of coure, we needed to make crowns again. They’re a little bit different from the ones we made for the Royal Wedding, but one of the basic templates was the same. Nothing wrong with recycling a good idea with a new twist!
I made one pattern for the boys…
And a different one for the girls:
It was fun watching how the children went about decorating their crowns… they’re all so different! Turkey, naturally, was very exacting about which gems he chose. Bunny was a little particular, but not to the extent Turkey was. Moose had a specific way of making his, but his reasoning wasn’t quite clear to me. And Ladybug? She just wanted to put the most gems possible on her crown! Typical Ladybug. Even Chickadee had a tiny tiara, although she wasn’t too excited about wearing it!
I did make one special crown myself, using this pattern. I made it to fit Ryan’s head, but mostly, I made just because I wanted to see if I could. I was quite happy with the results!
I found a children’s book about Queen Elizabeth II for us to read: Queen Elizabeth II: Her Story by John Malam. Sadly, I couldn’t get a physical copy of the book here in The Colonies, (sorry, I couldn’t resist), so this was my first attempt in the world of Kindle books, (but read on the iPad). It worked out fine in digital format, but I liked it so much, I really wish I had a printed copy! It’s a great book, which focuses primarily on the Queen’s formative years, and early reign, and has lots of interesting facts and great pictures. Bunny loved it, and read it on her own several times, which explains why she’s been entertaining us with Windsor family trivia!
We also did some “Jubilee math” in school. I had Turkey and Bunny figure things out like what year the Queen’s coronation occurred, how old she was when she was crowned, and what year she was born. We then answered similar questions about Queen Victoria’s reign. We also figured out how old Prince Charles would be if he were to reign for 60 years starting now, and were quite shocked at the answer.
We watched most of the festivities on BBC America, (with a little help from CNN), as well as some documentaries about the royals. The children were impressed by the number of boats at the flotilla on Sunday, but I think their favorite part was watching the Tower Bridge get the “full lift” for the Queen. I really liked the belfry boat. The beacon-lighting ceremony on Monday, followed by a fireworks show was also quite popular. I liked Tuesday’s church service especially the Te Deum, and the flypast was awesome, especially the Red Arrows, but I really just loved watching it all. We also saw specials on the Queen’s horses, as well as the new BBC documentary, The Diamond Queen, which has been added to our movie library.
Anytime we learn about something British also means it’s time for a tea party. We tried a different flavor of tea this time, and I got really adventurous and made scones with “Devonshire Cream,” as well as shortbread, dried apricots, red currant jelly sandwiches, and my personal favorite, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on cocktail rye. Yum!
We also got to have two special, English-themed dinners. On Saturday, following the Thames River Pageant, I made sausage rolls, which were delicious. Tuesday’s dinner was a replica of the coronation chicken served at the luncheon following the queen’s coronation 60 years ago. The chicken was (somewhat surprisingly) a huge hit with all of the children…and I thought it would be too “weird” for their somewhat unrefined palettes! It was fun to make some English foods for dinner both nights!
I also picked up a four-pack of Boddingtons Pub Ale, which is an ale I’ve wanted to try ever since I heard it referenced on an episode of Friends. It was a little more bitter than I tend to prefer, but it was one of the most interesting beverages I’ve ever had, down to the fact that you can’t drink it out of the can because of a nitrogenated insert.
No English meal would be complete without a trifle for dessert! I chose a somewhat untraditional double chocolate mocha trifle. This recipe is definitely going in my permanent collection…it was amazing!
This was definitely an event I’ll never forget, and I really hope the children, (aside from Chickadee), will never forget it either!