Water mill week

Posted on February 20, 2022Comments Off on Water mill week

I do not remember when and how B. came up with an idea of watching videos about water mills, but one day we found one with a lot of information in it – about water mill in Jelka, Slovakia on river Little Danube – which he has watched so many times since then. The water mill in Jelka became one of his points of interests and he built water mills (made a pile out of pillows and blankets) and he even gave guided tours in his mill. He presented information from the video and he even added his own – the mill burnt out and he needed to repair it, there are hundred of parking spots nearby… He was so interested in it that we decided to visit the water mill in Jelka last weekend.

The visit in Jelka water mill

Little Danube was wide and slow, it was cloudy. We explored watermill and open-air museum and expanded our knowledge from the video. The oldest written evidence are plans of a ship mill that dates back to 1894. The mill was working until 1951, in 1970s it became a property of a museum in Galanta.

We saw there equipments used to work with bees and extract honey, which we related to the book Joseph the Beekeeper by Simona Čechová. There were also equipments for manual processing of the fibers and I reminded B. of a Little Mole episode where the mole makes linen fabric for his trouser. B. took some photographs.

We spent there about two hours. Other visitors came and went, but we stayed. On our way home the weather became not very pleasant – the strong wind blew and and it started to rain. We spent a cozy and warm afternoon at home, B. not napping, still talking about a water mill. He had a hard time to fall asleep in the evening too, he was so excited.

Books

As we do not have many books related to the theme appropriate for B., there are just few but I read few more to give him additional information.

  • Danube – The Magic River – written by Michal Hvorecký and illustrated by Simona Čechová is a book about Danube and many aspects of its life and life around it.
  • Buckwheat in the Mill and in the Kitchen (freely translated from Pohanka ve mlýně a v kuchyni) – written by Zdeněk Šmajstrla is shortly dedicated to Šmajstrla family which runs a mill in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, Czech republic. Most of the book contains buckwheat recipes.

Tactile activity

We buy our buckwheat flour from Šmajstrla mill so this activity was a logical next step after reading the Šmajstrla book. I prepared small bowls filled with buckwheat hulls, buckwheat grain and buckwheat flour. We explored interesting shape of the grain – prism with four relatively similar sides.

Sewing a flour sack

Flour sacks undoubtedly belong to mills and millers, so I came up with an activity of “sewing” a flour sack. As B. is 3,5 years old he needed my assistance with aligning holes. We took turns with holes because they, for now, would be too many for him. In his flour sack he stores his new computer mouse. You can download pattern and process for the flour sack here.

Videos

Here I list few videos related to water mills in Slovakia and Czech republic.

Map activity

One afternoon I collected all the maps where Danube river was included. We followed from the spring to its delta. We found in on the map of Vienna and Bratislava as those are the cities where he had an opportunity to see it on his very eyes.

Works of art

I created a short list of works of art, on which water mills are depicted. My focus was on those with water wheels visible to make easier the recognition of the mill for children. I also tried to include various techniques of art pieces.