Who invented fireworks?

Fireworks were invented in 7th century China. The Chinese people believed they would ward off evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck.

Family looks holiday fireworks

Nowadays fireworks are used all around the world to celebrate various events. In the United Kingdom they are traditionally used on Bonfire Night, the 5th of November, to celebrate the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Please see below video on how fireworks work.

For further reading on the history of fireworks please click on this link.

If you would like to try some indoor fireworks, please see the link below.

What type of animal was the first to orbit the Earth?

The first animal to orbit the Earth was a dog called Laika. She was launched into space aboard Sputnik 2 in 1957. She was a stray dog from the streets of Moscow in Russia. In the early days of space flight animals were used to test the safety of the technology, before humans tried it.

For further reading on the history of animals in space click here.

For an animation of Laika’s story, please see below:

For further reading on Laika’s story, please see the link below.

There is a special event this weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Laika’s flight. Please click here for details.

What/when is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is one of the world’s largest festivals and occurs in Munich, Germany every year. It is a beer festival and travelling funfair and is an important part of Bavarian culture. People attending often wear traditional Bavarian costume.

Two kids, boy and girl in traditional Bavarian costumes in wheat field

The festival begins in mid September each year and lasts for just over two weeks, ending in early October. Over six million people attend each year.

Although you may think it is aimed at adults, the Oktoberfest is also a great day out for families too. The Tuesdays during the festival period are designated ‘Family Days’ with discounted entry and rides. Children are allowed into the beer tents, but those under 6 years old must leave by 8pm.

Click here for a blog post of one family’s Oktoberfest experience.

For a video on the history of the festival, and an excellent showcase of German humour, please see below.

If your child has shown interest in the culture of Germany, please see below link for further reading. (Links to Amazon)

What is the difference between Catholics and Protestants?

Catholics and Protestants are both Christians, which means that their Holy Book is the Bible and they both worship Jesus Christ, as they believe him to be the Son of God.

Lighting candles in a church

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that it developed from the community formed by Jesus himself in the first century AD. Over the next centuries the Catholic Church become very rich and powerful and its influence spread throughout much of Western Europe.

A split occurred during what is known as the Protestant Reformation. This was mainly started by a German friar called Martin Luther. He disagreed with some of the rules and beliefs of the Catholic faith and he tried to ‘reform’ the Catholic Church, but instead they split, and a new movement within Christianity was created.

Catholics believe that the Pope is God’s representative on Earth, and their beliefs are based on traditions as well as the Bible itself. Protestants reject the authority of the Pope and for them the Bible is only basis for their faith.

For a site with a chart of the differences, please click on the link below:

A chart showing the differences from Diffen.

For more detail, please see the following link:

More reading from BBC Bitesize.

For a video on what happened in England, please see the video below:

For further reading on the subject, please see the product below(links to Amazon).

Who were the Anglo-Saxons?

The Anglo-Saxons were the people who lived in Great Britain during the period from around the year 400 to when the Norman Conquest occurred in 1066.

Anglo Saxons

They were descended from Germanic Tribes who moved to Great Britain after Roman rule ended.

The language they spoke developed into what we today call English.

For 10 facts about the Anglo-Saxons, please see the video below:

If you like to visit a Royal Anglo-Saxon burial site with an excellent exhibition, please find out more by clinking the link:

A link to more information about Sutton Hoo.

A further list of Anglo-Saxon sites to visit can be found by clicking the following link:

A list of sites from Archaeology Travel.

For those that like to learn through play, please see the product below(links to Amazon).

When was the Bronze Age?

In Great Britain, the Bronze Age was from around 2100 to 750BC, so it started from around 4000 years ago.

Stonehenge

This is when people started making bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin. It was also the age when people started writing for the first time.

The Bronze Age happened at different times in other parts of the world due to people developing different technologies at different times.

For a video explanation please see below:

The video below shows in detail how they would have made an axe head in the Bronze Age.

For a slightly longer video which is specifically about the Bronze Age in Great Britain, please see below:

If you would like to visit some Bronze Age sites, please see the link below:

A list of English Heritage sites.

Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mines in North Wales.

A list of Scottish sites from History Scotland.

A list of sites from Culture Northern Ireland.

For further reading on the subject, please click the link below(links to Amazon).

When did pirates live?

A pirate is someone who attacks and steals from ships at sea, so they still exist to this day.

Pirates

Photo credit: Sergey Novikov via 123rf.com

When we think of pirates we are usually thinking about what has been called ‘The Golden Age of Piracy,’ which was from around 1650 to 1720.

It was in this period that famous pirates such as Bartholomew Roberts, Blackbeard and Henry Morgan lived.

For more in depth reading on this period please visit the following link:

An excellent site on the history of pirates

For those that like to learn through play, please see below(links to Amazon).