20th January

1885 L.A. Thompson patents the rollercoaster – so build a rollercoaster for a marble run or toy cars. This one looks great:


1930 Buzz Aldrin born, so maybe build a rocket ship and have a picnic on the moon (moon-cheese sandwiches in circular-cut bread with moon pies)…

… play with moon sand

You could also make a teabag rocket,


rocket snow globes,



kitchen roll rockets,


balloon rockets,

rocket lollies,

paper cup rockets,

cake pop rockets,

rocket ship sandwiches

…  the list is endless.


Þorrablót (2016) – Iceland’s pagan midwinter festival. http://icecook.blogspot.co.uk/2006/01/orrablt-or-thorrablot-icelandic.html

20th November

Stir-up Sunday (2016) – the last Sunday before Advent Sunday: make your Christmas pudding today!

1820 an 80-ton sperm whale attacks the Essex, inspiring Moby Dick – see 18th October.

1985 Microsoft Windows first released – so play computer games.

Argentina Day of National Sovereignty – see 9th July

Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 – see 16th September

Elizabeth II’s wedding anniversary (1947)

20th October

1720 Carribean pirate Calico Jack captured by Royal Navy; his flag was the Jolly Roger with the skull and two crossed swords – have a pirate day!

1632 Sir Christopher Wren born

Kenyatta Day/ Mashujaa Day/ Heroes’ Day (Kenya)

Guatemala Revolution Day:

Guatemala was the home to the fascinating ancient Mayan civilisation until around 900 A.D., when they were killed off by drought. The Spanish came in in 1519. The capital city moved around a lot, and was finally moved from Antigua to the Ermita Valley after an earthquake in 1773.

In 1821 Guatemala declared its independence from Spain. They then had a bunch of revolutions and civil wars, accidentally got caught up in the Cold War on America’s side. In 1996 (!!) the civil wars finally ended and history has embarrassed America in showing their support of the Guatemalan government’s genocide of all those dangerous possible socialists, like students and farmers.

We learnt about hurricanes, because Guatemala is kind of in a hurricane basin, by creating ‘hurricanes’ by stirring a pint glass of water very fast, and spinning ourselves in to hurricanes too, and watching some clips of how they are formed on Youtube. You could also learn about the Mayans or draw the iconic cross in Antigua.

20th July

1969 Apollo 11 lands on the moon

1976 Viking I lands on Mars

Colombia Independence Day (from Spain)

At first Columbia was on the route from Mesoamerica and the Carribean to the Andes and Amazon for early humans about 18,000 years ago. The first farmers, the Muiscas around 1000 A.D., grew maize, potatoes, quinoa and cotton – none of which Europe had before we discovered the Americas. They traded gold, emeralds, blankets, ceramics, cocoa and salt with neighbouring countries.

Spanish explorers arrived in 1500, and called it the New Kingdom of Granada. A lot of Spanish explorers were looking for El Dorado, the Golden One, a Muisca chief who covered himself in gold as part of an initiation rite. The legend grew until it was about a whole city or empire made of gold.

This golden raft depicts the El Dorado ceremony.

In 1819 New Granada, led by Simon Bolivar, claimed independence from Spain, and renamed itself Colombia after Christopher Columbus (not a very independent name). Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador were part of Colombia then. Bolívar became its first president.

Venezuela and Ecuador separated from Colombia in 1830. Panama separated in 1903 so that American could build the Canal, for which America paid Colombia $25 million.

Colombia had a few civil wars which eventually were finished when their Conservative and Liberal parties agreed to just swap power every four years, but eventually guerrilla groups formed again. America supported the government in suppressing left-wing militants.

Colombia is part of the Ring of Fire, a part of the world shook by earthquakes and volcanoes, and is dominated by the Andes. Its flora and fauna are considered megadiverse, containing up to 20% of the world’s species.

Its national sport is tejo. It is famous for its emeralds, coffee and Shakira.

Dia del Amigo (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay)