Ukraine has a very interesting history and diverse cultural heritage. With what is happening in Ukraine today, I thought it to be important to teach our children about Ukraine.
While doing my research, I learned a lot of interesting information. One tidbit is that many people refer to it as “The Ukraine“. However, this is not the proper phrasing. In Ukrainian, ukraina means “borderland”. Therefore, much like the Netherlands (which means the low lands), many people took to referring to Ukraine as “The Ukraine” as in “the borderlands”.
Ukraine: Brief History
Ukraine was once a member state of the United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). Since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, though, Ukraine has been an independent nation.
Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe. Its neighboring nations include Russia to the east, Belarus to the north, Poland to the west, and Romania and Moldova to the south. The Crimean Peninsula is located between the Black Sea and Sea of Asov south of Ukraine. Its capital city is Kyiv, located in northern Ukraine.
Ukraine is the second-largest European nation in size behind Russia covering 233,031 square miles. It has a population of over 44 million people. It is mostly made up of fertile grasslands known as steppes and has booming agriculture. The sunflower, the national flower, is grown throughout the country. Ukraine is the world’s largest producer of sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.
For those of us who grew up in the 1980s, we remember the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster. This is the world’s worst nuclear disaster. It affected Ukraine, Belarus, and other neighboring countries with radioactive fallout. The current Chernobyl Exclusion Zone covers over 1,000 square miles and radioactive cleanup is still taking place. The nuclear cleanup is scheduled to be completed by 2065.
Ukraine plays a major role in the international community as a provider of fuel, iron, steel, machinery, and transportation equipment. Ukraine is known as the Breadbasket of Europe. It is Europe’s number one producer of natural honey, and the world’s 3rd largest producer of buckwheat, pumpkins, and potatoes.
Ukraine not only has a diverse and interesting history, but it also has a fascinating cultural heritage. Ukraine‘s cultural heritage includes Baroque architecture and traditional folk dances, such as the Kalyna where participants wear highly decorative costumes.
Ukrainians are very proud of their heritage, which can be seen by the flag waving on Independence Day and Kyiv Day. Dress is casual, while higher-end dining in the capital often requires formal attire, and women are to wear a hat or scarf when visiting Orthodox churches.
When visiting someone’s home, shoes should be removed on entering a home. Formal attire is rarely required, though people dress smartly for the theatre. Visitors should avoid ostentatious displays of wealth in public places. Men should not shake a woman’s hand unless it is offered to them. Women should cover their heads when entering a church or mosque.
Ukrainian is the sole official state language. It is still widely spoken in western and central Ukraine, although Russian is spoken by virtually everyone.
Ukraine is big on the arts and every town has at least one theater (Kyiv with many), along with innumerable galleries. Its museums cover all genres, while some of its arts and crafts are known the world over. Ukrainian craftspeople churn out fabulous jewelry and ceramics, along with handcrafted dolls, decorative eggs, and beautiful embroidery.
Ukraine is currently facing an invasion by Russian forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to overthrow and bring Ukraine back under Russian rule as part of his goal to re-establish the former USSR. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, though, is standing by his citizens and military personnel in defense of his country.
In a televised speech, President Zelensky stated that his intelligence services had identified him as Russia‘s top target, but that he is staying in Kyiv and his family will remain in the country. “They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state”, he said. When offered asylum in the United States and Turkey, he responded by saying, “The fight is here in Kyiv; I need weapons, not a ride!”
In his efforts to stand against Russia, President Zelenskyy has been compared to Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England during World War II, and he is recognized as a national hero for Ukraine.
Prior to the Russian invasion, President Zelenskyy has been seeking membership to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the European Union. He is hopeful for application to both organizations by 2024.
This free packet includes:
- Interesting facts about Ukraine
- A brief biography on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
- A brief Ukrainian history and culture lessons
- Geographical and environmental information
- Industry and agriculture
- Famous Ukrainians
- Crossword puzzle and word search
- Writing Prompts
Books about Ukraine for Kids
In addition to the information provided in this post and the free printable packet, here are some books about Ukraine for kids:
A Short Story About the Russia-Ukraine War – This fascinating book will help you teach your children about the Russia-Ukraine conflict using simple terms.
- Ukraine – Social Studies for Kids – learn about Ukraine’s history, culture, and traditions
- My Ukrainian American Story – Journey with Oksana as she shares her Ukrainian American experience.
- Travel Dreams Ukraine – Social Studies Fun-Schooling Journal – Learn about Ukrainian culture through the Arts, Fashion, Architecture, Music, Tourism, Sports, Wildlife, Traditions & Food!
- The Blackbird Girls – this story shows that hatred, intolerance, and oppression are no match for the power of true friendship, set the backdrop of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster.
Also, please check out some of my other free resources:
- Ancient Greece – list of free resources about ancient Greece
- Timeline Notebook Pages – simple and effective way to learn history using a timeline
- 70 Folktales & Fables from Around the World – wonderful list of books
- Italy Coloring Pages – children will truly love these
I created this printable about Ukraine with coloring pages as a PDF file for my email subscribers to download.
Just fill out the form below and you will receive instantly the PDF via email. Please check your spam folder.
When you receive the email, please copy and paste the link into a new tab on your browser to download the printable.
I post several FREEbies weekly, so you will always have something new for your children.
I certainly hope that you and your children learn something new about Ukraine.
Thank you for pinning this post for others to appreciate.