I am thrilled to announce the we are now officially affiliates of an *awesome* hands-on program that aims to teach kids about world cultures called “Little Passports.” Every month, we will receive a special package in the mail from 10 year old “Sam” and “Sofia” filled with fun souvenirs, letters, stickers, photos, activity sheets. A new country every month! Continue reading →
June’s pick for our “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series is Spain!! In 1996 I spent a glorious semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain: we loved the winding streets and hidden plazas, the colorful festivals, hiking in the snow-covered Sierra Nevada, drinking tea and admiring the Islamic architecture, exploring the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighborhoods, witnessing the semana santa (Holy Week) processions, and of course studying our Spanish lessons in the courtyards of the incredible Alhambra (an ornate palace and fortress). We lived with host families, who really took care of us and helped us to acclimate to Spanish daily life- from bringing us on family trips to their homes in the countryside of olive groves and serrano ham, to conversing with us in Spanish, to introducing us to typical culinary delights. Continue reading →
My daughter’s 2 favorite quotes from the Lorax are:
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
This post is dedicated to all of our wonderfully green trees, the lungs of the Earth, the shelter to millions of creatures, and therefore what is keeping us and all living things alive…. Here are resources to learn about TREES: Continue reading →
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Cooper, a Graphic Designer from London who has just published a wonderful children’s book about African musical instruments. Of African-Caribbean descent, Natalie is interested in African history and culture, particularly in that of the diaspora. Her educational children’s book “African Musical Instruments” is a wonderful addition to any home or library that aims to teach children about cultures around the world. The detailed, colorful drawings are perfectly paired with fascinating facts on over 20 unique instruments found throughout Africa. Kids love music, and learning about how distinct rhythms and sounds are made is one way to explore the arts and musical traditions of diverse cultures.
Though in the age of iPhones and GPSs we seem to be losing paper maps, I still love exploring maps, and believe kids need to learn map skills, and develop their geography awareness. Because of this I have many activities on Kid World Citizen to help parents and teachers teach children about maps. Kids not only can learn to read them, but to recognize their components and build their own maps. I was recently asked for a list of vocabulary or concepts of maps kids should learn. Here are the geographic terms- and their definitions- that I think are important for kids to be able to identify. Thank you creative commons for the images I was able to adapt!Continue reading →
Many schools are celebrating an “International Week” as a way to highlight projects completed throughout the year, celebrate the cultural heritage of their students, and of course to learn about different perspectives from around the world. When I ask schools around the world what their students’ favorite activities were for International Week, the #1 answer always has to do with food. Continue reading →
Being married to a proud mexicano I am often asked what we do to celebrate 5 de mayo (May 5th, the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, see more here). Honestly, my husband didn’t celebrate it en grande in his 24 years growing up in Mexico- mostly they learned the history of the war, La Guerra de los Pasteles, and once in a while would get a day off of school. But now living in the US (and especially in Texas) we are embracing May 5th as a day to celebrate Latino heritage. This year we made some beautiful amate paintings, watched folkloric dances, and participated in a fun “cinco de mayo” party by making sopes and other goodies. We told the kids this was a festive time for both Mexico and the US to celebrate Mexican culture, and an opportunity for some to learn more about it.
Here are some ideas for you to learn about Mexican culture with your kids, and celebrate el 5 de mayo: Continue reading →
May’s destination for our “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series is Finland! Let’s learn about Finland: a Nordic country, which means “Northern Lands,” and bordered by Sweden, Norway (way in the north), Russia to the east, and the Baltic Sea to the south and west. Finns speak Finnish and learn Swedish in school, and Sami is spoken in the northern, Lapland regions. Finland is covered by majestic, green forests, and almost 200,000 icy blue lakes- a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and winter sport athletes!
Before having kids, my husband and I lived in London for a couple of years and were able to travel quite a bit- we spent a couple of weeks in Helsinki, Finland in December (including the shortest day of the year!). It didn’t matter if it was cold, or dark- Finns of all ages were outside walking around, visiting the Christmas markets, playing in the snow, and sitting at open air cafes. I didn’t own a winter coat at the time, but I put on layers, topped by a windbreaker and reveled in the festive atmosphere. Continue reading →
“Each year, approximately 350,000 people attempt to be smuggled through the U.S.-Mexican border…this is one boy’s journey.” SMUGGLED is a new film that tells the story of a 9 year old boy and his mother, as they are smuggled into the US in an attempt to immigrate to a better life. Though it is based on real stories, it is actually fictional/narrative film and received 5 festival awards and 15 official selections in 2012. Here is the official trailer:
I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of teaching with multicultural literature: it can transport us to another time and place, kids learn universal human emotions and feelings, quality multicultural books help to dispel negative stereotypes while teaching tolerance and respect, characters can encourage pride in kids’ cultural heritage, and in the case of the book I’m reviewing today- Bijoy and the Big River- multicultural books can teach us about kids around the world, especially when paired with extension activities.
To learn more about our environment, start local! Can you identify any trees in your neighborhood? Can your children? In this exercise, kids will do a little research about local trees, and make an identification guide of the trees they find. You might be surprised how quickly kids can learn to identify trees by their leaves, seeds, bark, and overall shape!
I am thrilled to introduce Jenny Buccos, the Series Creator & Director of the multi-award winning ProjectExplorer.org educational series. She began her professional career with Credit Suisse First Boston managing global media projects in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York. In 2003, before the existence of YouTube, she founded the online video site ProjectExplorer.org as a means to educate students about global cultures and histories. To date, she has directed/produced more than 400 incredible short films for students.Continue reading →
As Earth Day approaches, our attention is focused on tangible ways to help protect our environment. One easy and virtually free way for kids to go green is to start a backyard compost bin. Composting is a natural way for organic (previously living) materials to break down, into a nutrient-rich soil that we can use in our garden. Did you know that in the US we make about 4.43 pounds of waste per person each day? (see epa.gov) That is 250 million TONS of trash per day! We make too much garbage and 13.4% of the waste produced in the US in 2010 was yard trimmings, 13.9% was food scraps. We could be composting this waste, recycling it, and returning it to the ground!
Here are reasons why it’s important to compost, instructions on how to do so with kitchen scraps, and resources (books, clips, and games!) to learn about composting at home. Continue reading →