This weekend we got to watch a local Dragon Boat race! Have you ever seen this?
Dragon Boat racing is a very fast-growing watersport around the globe, and combined Asian fellowship and traditions. But you don’t have to be Asian to appreciate this competitive team sport and it’s fascinating history! Continue reading
Batik is a traditional textile made by hand where artisans use wax to create a design, and then dye the cloth, which resists the vegetable dyes. Originally from Indonesia, batik has symbolic meanings in its colors and designs, and people use the craft to express their creativity and even spirituality. In this easy project, kids substitute hot wax for Elmer’s blue glue and convey their own creativity by choosing images that represent themselves, and colorful paint that reflect their personalities. Continue reading
After reading so many books that featured Asian Elephants last week, we decided we needed to do an elephant art project. First I browsed on-line for elephant images, and found some beautiful hand-embroidered pillow shams and purses. A lot of times the elephants were silver thread or silver sequins, so we decided to use foil. I had seen a technique on pinterest that I wanted to adapt (see original post here), so we gathered our supplies: foil, glue, cardboard, paints. Here is our finished project. Didn’t my son do such a great job? Continue reading
Posted in Animals, Arts and Crafts, Asia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam
Tagged education, elephants, multicultural
Elephants are the largest land animal and can live up to 60 years. There are 2 basic species of elephants: the African elephant (whose ears are larger, look like the continent of Africa!) and Asian elephants (whose ears are smaller, and look like the shape of India!). Asian elephants are an endangered species, with only 25,000 wild elephants living in: Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, and southern China.
We saw this lovely elephant at the St. Louis Zoo (Missouri, US).
Elephants have been highly regarded to Asian culture for thousands of years; here, elephants have been domesticated and are used for religious festivals, transportation and to move heavy objects. Other fun facts:
- they are vegetarians, and eat 400 pounds of green leaves, bark, branches, fruit and grass daily- they weigh over 10,000 pounds!
- they have 6 sets of teeth that wear down and are replaced
- the tusks are actually incisor teeth that elephants use to dig in the ground for roots and break apart tree bark. In Asian elephants, only the male has tusks
- the elephant’s nose has 40,000 muscles and can pick up tiny objects
Here are some wonderful books whose main characters are Asian Elephants! Continue reading
Posted in Animals, Asia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Literature, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam
Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.- The Dalai Lama
With so much violence in the world today, it is our duty as parents and teachers to teach our children about compassion, showing them kindness and respect, and giving them examples and role models to follow. Studying great leaders who embody peace helps kids to make better decisions and learn from others wisdom as well as from their mistakes.
The Buddhist religion was founded in India over 2500 years ago, and is currently practiced by over 500 million people all over the world. The countries with the largest number of Buddhists are: China (especially Tibet), Thailand, Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Viet Nam, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Laos, and Nepal among others. Every country has different ways to worship, but the universal goal of Buddhism is to achieve a state of enlightenment- freedom from suffering- through acts of compassion on all living things.
The Dalai Lama: Peacemaker from Tibet, a biography by Chris Gibb.
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, though Buddhist around the world follow his teachings of non-violence and kindness.
Dalai is translated from Mongolian as “ocean” and lama in Tibetan Buddhism is “perfect teacher.” In fact lama refers to a religious master, specifically a Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monk. Continue reading
Posted in Around the World, Asia, China, India, Japan, Literature, Malaysia, Nepal, People, Thailand, Tibet
Tagged biography, buddhism, education, famous person, multicultural
“Chinese New Year,” as it is known in English, is also known as the more encompassing name “Lunar New Year,” or the “Spring Festival” (春節 in Chinese). Besides China, it is celebrated in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Tibet, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Many countries with large Chinese populations (such as Australia, the US, and Canada) also have large Chinese New Year celebrations. Despite the diversity of the people who celebrate this widespread holiday, and their varied traditions, it is universal at this time of year to gather with family to start the new year. Teaching kids about celebrations around the world broadens their minds and increases their cultural awareness.
I have used this lesson plan for the past several years in my kids’ classes with success- the kids love the props, remember the different elements, and are engaged and having fun while learning about a very important holiday. I’ve included books, crafts, and adaptations for different grade levels, so all ages can learn about Chinese New Year! Continue reading
Posted in Asia, Celebrations, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines, Tibet, Vietnam
Tagged Chinese New Year, education, multicultural
(As always, the pictures in this article were taken by me unless otherwise stated. Most of these were taken in Chicago’s Chinatown, or in Beijing in the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. For permission to use them, please email me.)
Chinese dragons (龙 lóng): kids, teens, and adults love them and they appear everywhere from books to tattoos to Chinese New Year Parades. Unlike European dragons, who breathe fire and must be defeated, Chinese dragons are well-meaning mystical beasts who breathe clouds, often appear in human form, and are frequent characters in ancient stories.
I love the anatomy of a Chinese dragon:
the head of a camel,
the horns of a stag (male deer),
the eyes of a demon,
the ears of a cow,
the neck of a snake,
the belly of a clam,
the scales of a carp,
the claws of an eagle,
the paws of a tiger. Continue reading
Cane takraw ball from www.thaicraftwarehouse.com; image used with their permission
Get your shoes on, grab your jackets, and let’s go outside and play a game popular in Thailand and Malaysia, among other SE Asian countries. Sepak takraw is a ball game played over a net: think volleyball meets hackey-sacking, with some gymnastics moves thrown in. Sepak is the Malay word for “kick,” and takraw is the Thai word for the special woven, rattan ball that is used. This fast-paced game is played on a rectangular court that resembles a badminton court, and traditionally uses the small ball shown above. Watching the players defy gravity with their bicycle kicks that swing over their head is exciting- and intimidating. With any part of the body except hands or arms, players have 3 “touches” to attempt to deliver the ball over the net onto their opponents’ side and try to make it un-returnable (similar to volleyball). Continue reading