Homegrown Catholics is an excellent resource for religious education teachers, homeschoolers, and parents. Here you'll see all my lesson plans and project ideas on many Catholic subjects as well as school topics. If you would like to read about my adventures as a Home Educator, click on the St. Brigid's Academy tab above.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Festival of Nations: Brazil

Brazil at NWMH Festival of Nations

Our local homeschool group had their first Festival of Nations.  It was a hit with my kids and 15-20 other families. I highly recommend it for other groups, or families who like the idea of focusing on one area and really diving deep into the culture, geography and history.  Our family traveled to Brazil in South America via books, videos and music. Here is just some of our favorite resources to get you started on your journey!


The Display Board

Brazil at NWMH Festival of Nations

The board covered almost everything we learned about. We featured Country Facts, Geography, Resources, Sightseeing, Rainforest and Natives. Dozens of fun facts are all over the board. I think we learned the most while making the board, as the kids had to re-research the tidbits of information to add. But how did we piece it together?

I started by looking up images online of rainforest animals, Yanomami natives, Brazil maps and flag, Rio De Janeiro, Carnival, Amazon River, Amazon Proper, Amazon Rainforest, The Pantanal, Iguacu Falls, etc. Saving the images, I resized them onto MS Publisher pages and printed them out for the kids to color.  I labeled the sections of the board, added basic line drawings of trees, a river, falls, parade float, etc and they filled in the rest. The Natives section is wood craft sticks and raffia. Most of it is colored pencil or marker.

Did you know that most of our oceans fresh water comes from the Amazon River?

Did you know that most of our fresh air comes from rainforests, such as the one in Brazil?

Did you know that mahogany and teak wood is taken from rainforests in Brazil [deforestation], endangering the hundreds of species of animals and insects that live there, as well as our air?

Did you know that the city Curitiba was built to be a global model for future cities? The most "livable" city.

Top Destinationsbrazil map

Rio de Janeiro

Rio hosts popular beaches, such as Ipanema and Copacabana, as sung by Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow. Just about anywhere you'll bump into people dancing the Samba or Capoiera (Judo/Dance Fighting), especially at Carnival the week before Lent. Visit one of the seven wonders of the world when you see the Christ the Redeemer statue. It is also becoming popular to walk the streets of the hillside favelas which are homes to the lower class citizens.


The long panorama is a line drawing from IllustratedMaps.info of Rio de Janeiro that I stretched to a few pages. Each child plus myself colored one section.


[Photo credit to Mystery Wallpaper]


[Photo Credit RioDeJaneiro4u.com]

The Amazon Proper

Amazon ProperAmazon Proper2

Where the Negro River and Amazon River meet, the two do not mix waters for 4 miles!

Iguacu Falls


Miles of waterfalls can be found in southern Brazil.

A Taste of Brazil

Brazil at NWMH Festival of Nations

We sampled a trail mix of cashews, chocolate and coconut. We also featured "guess that food" jars with fabric lids, inside was coconut, cashews, coffee and cocoa powder. Brazil is a natural resource for many fruits, nuts and beans (cacao and coffee).



The people of Brazil cherish their time spent sunning, dancing, playing music, playing futebol (soccer), visiting wildlife, and hosting thousands of guests from all over the world. Tourism and Exports of food/wood/latex/coffee are their main sources of economy, (aside from illegal drug smuggling.) Their main religion is Catholicism, seconded by African spirituality. The natives are the most unique, left almost untouched by modern society, people of our time.

Brazil at NWMH Festival of Nations

After reading 123 Suddenly in Brazil: The Ribbons of Bonfim,  we did some research about the ribbons. It began as a Catholic tradition of honoring saints and Jesus by wearing these ribbons as a witness to prayers answered. Recently they've become more of a lucky charm or wish ribbon. But we had fun sharing this history and opportunity with those who stopped by! I did not order the ribbons from Brazil because I thought it up too late. So I made ours from satin ribbons from the craft store and added the words in permanent marker. Everyone got a ribbon tied on with the history and explanation on a flyer (in the resources & ideas section below entitled "Wishes for You").

Salvador da Bahia

Poster I made (with Patron Saints I chose reflected the desire):

Wish Ribbons


Craft Ideas


Carnival Masks (eye masks with feathers and gems)

Beaded Necklaces (Colorful beads or macaroni on string)

Maracas (dried beans or macaroni between paper plates)

Christ the Redeemer paper statue (link to printable at website)

A few favorite coloring pages to get you started!


Rio - dancing Brazil Carnival

Yanomami Man Warrior 基本 RGB



Brazil Worksheet


Books about Brazil, the Rainforest and the Amazon River


Amazon River by Anne Fitzpatrick

Brazil ABC’s by David Seidman

Brazil: Enchantment of the world by Ann Flieinrichs

Brazil: Faces and Places by Elma Schemenauer

Countries of the world: Brazil by Leslie Jermyn

Count Your Way Through Brazil by James Jaskins

Cultures of the world: Brazil by Leslie Jermyn

The Rainforest Grew All Around

Rio De Janeiro by Deborah Kent


1,2,3 Suddenly in Brazil: The Ribbons of Bonfim by Maldonado

Amazon Fever by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Grk and the Pelotti Gang by Joshua Doder

Magic Tree House: Afternoon on the Amazon by Mary Pope Osborne

Terror on the Amazon: The Quest for El Dorado by Phil Gates


Great Websites for Kids






Check out this Virtual Tour which features one of the seven wonders of the world - Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio!

The Rainforest



Teacher Resources




Nossa Turne da Netflix!

Amazon & Brazil Based Movies

Go Diego Go (TV Series)

Rio (G)

Barney: Celebrating Around the World (G)

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (G)

Three Caballeros (G)

IMAX: Amazon (NR)

IMAX: Tropical Rainforest (NR)

The Mission (R)

Anaconda (R)

The Emerald Forest (R)


Movies with scenes in Brazil

Jungle 2 Jungle (PG)

Moonraker [Bond] (PG)

The Incredible Hulk (2003) (PG-13)

Fast Five (PG-13)

Twilight: Breaking Dawn (PG-13)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick and the Holy Trinity


Have a special day with your children on St. Patrick's Day! There is a plethora of resources online, but here are some of my favorites. Why on earth would I make up any more of my own with so many to choose from?!


Homegrown Catholics: St. Patrick's Day Activities


Hide gold coins around the house for children to find - with the intention that they have to clean up as they go! :)



Pin the Shamrock on Saint Patrick


St Patricks DaySt Patricks Day

Celebrate with an Irish Party - Green and Rainbows

and maybe some Corned Beef & Cabbage?

St Patricks Day

Food Fun

St Patricks DaySt Patricks Day

St Patricks Day


Other Ideas from…

Catholic Mom: St. Patricks Day Resources

Catholic Icing: St. Patrick's Day Activities & Crafts

Homeschool Classroom: St. Patricks's Day Resources

HotChalk Lesson Plans: St. Patricks Day School Lessons (Art, Math, Science…)

Spoonful: St. Patricks Day Crafts


st-patricks-placemat-craft by Spoonful

Shamrock and Rainbow Placemats




Homegrown Catholics: St. Patrick's Day Activities

Catholic Icing: Shamrock Trinity Craft (all "Trinity" activities on CI)



Young children connect best with God the Father as our creator. There are so many lessons about creation and Genesis, I suggest starting there.



With Palm Sunday the following week, I suggest this lesson on Palm Sunday for a lesson about Jesus.

Ministry to Children: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday Crafts on Pinterest, my favorite being the Hosanna Palms from Mustard Seeds' blog



During Lent, we are preparing our souls to be worthy of Christ's Mercy. "Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit" I would suggest a lesson plan on the Holy Spirit: Our Life, His Home.

Ministry to Children: 4 Lessons Plans on the Holy Spirit

Wonderfully Made CD by Rob Evans, The Donut Man (includes "Our Body is a Temple" song)

You Tube: MelSoulTree's This Body is a Temple song


St Patricks Day

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