Foraging with "Story of the World"

Now I admit, when I suggested moving on to Chapter 1 in Story of the World, my son's first reaction was, "But, I wanna keep doing Archeology!" 

This sort of reaction means we are definitely winning with our approach to introducing history, so I  told him, "We have a lot more activities you're going to ALSO love, but we have to start Chapter 1 to get there."  That won him over.

The first half of Chapter 1 of Story of the World, Volume 1 introduces "The First Nomads".  It talks about how early peoples were hunters and gatherers, moving with their game, and living in tents, rather than being in settled cities.  It also introduces the Fertile Crescent as the early locale for this kind of life.

My son is already expectant that reading SOTW is often more like a dialogue between us, where I ask him questions that I read from the book and he shares his thoughts, too.

So, as we were reading through this section, it was a good time to head over to Google Maps on my phone and show him where the Fertile Crescent is.

When you're showing children maps, it's always best to begin with a reference they are familiar with, so in our case, we began with our city in Colorado, and then backed out of Google Maps enough to see other countries, and then traveled across (oh, the beauty of the internet!) to Egypt and Syria in order to locate the area we were chatting about.
One of these days, we'll pick up a globe but for right now, this was perfect.

SOTW explains that a child of the Early Nomads would likely have had an important job in the family: foraging.  This really tickled my son's fancy.  And so our next activity was born.

Foraging has actually become a popular pastime (and a very practical one) and so there are a lot of websites out there to help you begin.
 Here's one:
And another:
And this website connects you with folks who offer their excess harvest for free, worldwide, so that no food is wasted:

To begin with, we found a handy bag to serve as "Game Bag", like Tarak and her brother take with them in Chapter 1.

Here he is, all ready to begin his exciting Foraging Hunt.

We do not live in a very rural area.  We are in a suburb of Denver, but it is a somewhat agricultural one, and an older community with some established trees in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Before we went on our Foraging Journey, we found various things to be on the lookout for in our area.  Things such as Chicory and Dandelion leaves, Pineapple Weed, and Elm Samaras.  This was very educational, but to be perfectly honest, we found none of these on our Foraging Walk.  (Still, it will be helpful for the future, I'm sure.) 

At first, the things we found were not necessarily edible.  This clover flower, for instance, was lovely, but we are NOT recommending it as an edible. 

Then, we had a lovely find:  A large apple tree, with low hanging branches loaded with small green apples.  The tree bordered a school, on public land and the apples were small, but my two children considered them quite edible.

In the bag went a couple of the largest ones, and we made a mental note to come back in a month or two when they are larger.

Another tree bore some interesting fruit that looked something like apples.  We gathered some to put in our Bag, but we think these were a rather unpleasant crab apple and they did not turn out to be edible.

I tend to think this goes without saying, but I better say it anyway, because it is very important:

NEVER eat something you are uncertain of, when you forage.

We talked about how the early people might have run into this problem, having no internet and no way to track down what food is good to eat and what food might make you sick.

We also found some little helicopter like seeds.

These went in our bag, too, but only because they were fun, not because they were edible.

Then, the best surprise of our whole journey:  Wild Grapes!

With tiny little, edible grapes on them.  Still a little tart, but if you weren't too picky, they even tasted good!

When we got home, we spread our booty out on the table and I said, "Well, if our family lived back then, it sure is good to know that you would be such good provider for our family!"

If you enjoyed this activity, don't forget to check out our other posts about suggested supplemental activities for Story of the World, Volume 1 here:

#1: Staging an Archeological Dig

And here:
#2:  An Inside Archeological Dig 

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