Thursday, February 18, 2016

Continent Boxes - Asia

I am *finally* getting around to showing you inside our Asia Continent Box, even though it's been a good six months that DJ has been exploring it. I took pictures awhile ago but just never typed up the post. So here it is.

As you probably know, Asia is a HUGE continent and it's borders are also a bit controversial because it's really a part of the Eurasian continent, so there is an arbitrary line along the Caucasus Mountains dividing it from Europe. And this means that the Middle East is arbitrarily considered part of Asia and Russia is split in two crossing the boundary. I've chosen to include Russia in our Europe box because (I believe) most of the culture comes from the western most region. The other weirdness about the Asia map is the island of New Guinea, which is half part of Indonesia and therefore considered Asia and half Papua New Guinea which is considered to be a part of Oceania/Australia.

So here is the box. It is labeled Asia in the front and has a sandpaper cutout of the shape of Asia on top. Unlike the earlier boxes I haven't yet decorated it with travel stickers. Maybe someday. The box is mostly yellow to identify it as the same color Montessori assigns to the Asian continent.

Like the other boxes, Asian animals and landmarks are represented by Safari Toobs. The landmarks are the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and Leshan Giant Buddha.

Some of the other Asian animals are represented by these flash cards that I found in the Target $1 Spot. DJ will probably find these more interesting once he's able to read.

I also purchased a world set of landmark cards. These are nice because they bring in a little of the Middle Eastern region which is otherwise missing from my kit.

These toothpick flags were an inexpensive way to include world flags in my boxes but I was really disappointed to discover that it didn't include any of the "*-Stan" countries that used to be part of the USSR. Ugh! DJ loves to use these with a print out of the continent. That has been a consistent favorite of his in each box, so I will definitely need to invest in a real pin map set from Pin It! Maps when he is a bit older.

I don't have much in the way of Asian money. The India packet you'll see later in this post includes some paper money but otherwise I only have a few coins. And most of those coins I cannot identify by country because I can't read the language on the coin! I only know they are Asian coins because they use kanji or other Asian characters.

For Asian stamps, I have 31 stamps but a whopping 19 are from Indonesia! I particularly like the two stamps on the left of the picture. One is red, the other is orange and they both have a picture of an elephant carrying a large log. The characters on the stamps are Japanese hiragana. I was really confused at first because I know there are not elephants in Japan! So I did some research and learned these stamps are from Burma during a time they were occupied by Japan. History, culture, geography all in one little piece of paper!

These cute little paper doll sticker books have been a great way to show DJ different clothing around the world. And this is the first time he's been interested in really dressing the paper girls with the sticker clothes. Each book comes with 3 different outfits and often have a choice of shoes or hats to add variety to the set. They also often include a small toy or animal the child might be playing with.

DJ collected these shells at a local mining activity and they came with a card describing where they came from. As they come from the coastal regions of Asia, Australia and Africa, I divided the set across the three boxes.

One of the reasons I opted for continent boxes is to have representative objects instead of just pictures. In the top picture, there is a floral soap dish from Japan that I bought online, a mini panda statue from China that DJ's grandmother gave me and a glass paperweight with a waving cat etched inside with some kanji characters. I used to know what it said but I've forgotten. Wikipedia tells me the cat is a maneki-neko from Japan but this item was given to me as a gift when an employee of mine traveled to China years ago. The middle picture shows a necklace made from Philippine coco beads from coconut trees. And finally the fancy chopsticks are labeled as made in China but have Japanese hiragana text on them. We have standard chopsticks in our kitchen but I purchased these for DJ's box.

A beautiful, extraordinary addition to our Asia box came to us in a cultural exchange from Bangalore, India. She included so many amazing things along with a three page letter describing everything. Notably the small circle with black and white beads is an infant ankle bracelet that includes tiny bells to know where the child is. The tiny jar with a brown lid (far right of the picture) is an aromatic powder that can be used as a deodorant. Our box smells amazing now! Everything came in the beautiful golden drawstring bag seen behind the postcards on the left. I have no idea how much she spent on this but to me this collection is priceless!

What's not in the box - on our shelf is a digital photo frame that I have several examples of "fine art" on a slideshow. There are about 10 examples from Asia, including this tapestry, which would have been huge and would have lined a wall in one long long rather than the four segments you see in this reproduction. Most of the murals were landscapes.

Click here to see other continent box posts:

Continent Boxes - North America
Continent Boxes - South America

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