We recently participated in the Worldwide Culture Swap, where families (or schools) exchange cultural packages and learn about another culture. The letter and package was so thoughtful, I though I would share it with you here. Emma’s mom is the founder of Be Bilingual and has written a fabulous practical guide for multilingual families.
Opening our letter and packages from Finland!
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
This April, for our “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series, we are traveling to France! We were fortunate to visit France several times when we lived in London, and thoroughly enjoyed the fresh, local ingredients, phenomenal artisan cheese, and the delectable pastries. We decided to incorporate these elements into our evening by doing a French cheese taste test, enjoying a fresh salade nicoise, and finishing with by some coconut macaroons.
Cheese. A visit to France is not complete without tasting some of the gorgeous French cheeses. After the main meal in France, a course of cheese is often served with the salad before the dessert. In fact, even French school lunches often include a cheese course (drool over samples of French lunch menus here). When we were in France, we were told that there are so many types of French cheeses that you could try a different variety every day for a year and not ever repeat. We decided to hold our own French cheese taste test! Continue reading
Finding similarities and differences when reading fairy tales from around the world hones kids’ critical thinking skills, and helps them to focus on the details. Even the Common Core Standards includes this in one of their “Reading Literature” standards:
Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures (RL.2.9.).
There are many reasons to read fairy tales to children- especially because they’re whimsical, creative, and fun! Today we’re looking at Gingerbread stories. Continue reading
Posted in Around the World, Asia, Australia, Australia and Oceania, China, Europe, Food, France, Ireland, Literature, Mexico, Norway, Russia, The Americas, UK, United States
Tagged fairy tales, fiction children's books, folktales, Gingerbread Man stories
It’s that time again! This month for “Around the World in 12 Dishes” we visit the green island of IRELAND!!
When I was very pregnant with Maya, and Vivi was 2.5 years old, our family took an unforgettable trip to the gorgeous country of Ireland. We toured up and down the west coast: from County Mayo and Achill Island, through the Cliffs of Moher, down to Killarney National Park- with a quick trip to the east side to visit Dublin. It was an amazing trip of emerald green landscapes, grey stone castles and churches, and dramatic shorelines looking over the Atlantic. Continue reading
It’s that time again! Time to learn about the world in our February Culture Swap!!! If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more cultural traditions this month, you’ve come to the right place. This link-up will include crafts, book recommendations, history on holiday traditions, cultural customs, food recipes- a multitude of ideas to help you teach your kids about their community, and about the wider world. The link-up below will be open for the entire month of February (with another coming in March), so check back often to see new posts!
Globally-minded parents and educators: I’d love to see some posts for some winter and spring traditions around the world- Lunar New Year, Carnaval, Purim, Ayyám-i-Há….. or just learning about any cultures! Do you have some cool gift ideas to help your kids learn about the world and global cultures?
What have you been doing this month to teach your kids about the world? Have you tried any food or done any cool art projects from other countries? Learned another language? Read books from another culture? Share your ideas here so we can all learn from you!:) If you don’t have a blog or web site, write your ideas in the comments! Everyone can benefit when we share your best ideas. Continue reading
Fast, easy, delicious. When I was asked to share a simple family dinner recipe, I immediately thought of Chicken Tinga. Tinga de pollo is a Mexican dish that came about after the Spanish conquest. The kitchens of the many religious convents in Puebla, Mexico (near Mexico City) began to mix new ingredients (chicken, onion, olive oil) with the traditional and indigenous foods (like corn, beans, tomato, and chiles) to create a new fusion of what now constitutes Mexican food. Because of this, Puebla was considered the “Centro Culinario del País” (Culinary Capital of Mexico). Continue reading
This is our 4th post as a part of the “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series! This month we visit Austria! Can you find Austria on a map? In which continent is it located? What language do they speak? (hint: it’s not “Austrian!”) What is the name of the majestic mountains that traverse the country?
Often times, lessons to help kids learn about other countries are geared toward older children. This is a lesson plan to present a new country to kids as young as preschool- in a way that they will remember! They will explore and learn about other countries using their five senses: seeing, touching, listening, tasting, and smelling their way to discover a new place. I recently presented this lesson about Ethiopia in my son’s preschool class, and the kids loved it. It can be easily adapted to any country, with a bit of research.
Creative commons use; author Simm 2009
This is our 3rd post as a part of the “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series! This month we visit GREECE! Can you find Greece on a map? What is the body of water next to Greece? Let’s look at the terrain and weather of Greece:
- more than 250 sunny days per year
- 80% of Greece is mountainous
- No point in Greece is more than 85 miles (137 kilometers) from water. Greece has about 9,000 miles of coastline, the 10th longest in the world
- the wild olive tree originated in ancient Greece, and it currently is the 3rd largest producer of olive oil in the world
- Greece has between 1,200to 6,000 islands, depending on the minimum size taken into account
Our guest writer, Michelle Seitzer is a writer who loves elders, chai lattes, satire, all things Norway, antiques, her family, NYC, the arts & her Boston Terriers. She is currently in the process of adopting a child from Bulgaria and is sharing a bit of Bulgarian food and culture with us.
In the fall, my husband and I had the pleasure of being Bulgarian — or at least eating like one — for a night.
When we were first married, my husband and I lived and worked in London for a bit. I taught English at a local college, and had the pleasure of becoming friends with many of my wonderful students. One lovely woman, Janka, and I have been able to keep in touch through facebook. I am so excited to have her share with us the traditions around Christmas in Slovakia, plus her extra-special recipe for the most delicious, spiced honey cookies you’ll ever try! D’akujem vám- thank you!!
I will talk mainly about the differences between Slovakia and Western Europe, and possibly to the USA.
So the first difference is that our Christmas (Vianoce) is very much driven by Christian and mainly by Catholic tradition. For us the first Christmas holiday day is Christmas Eve – in Slovakia it is called Generous Day. This has a reason, we get the presents already on this day )
Thank you to my friend Janka Kožíková from Bratislava, Slovakia for sharing this soft, honey & spice cookie recipe with us!
Christmas in Slovakia is a beautiful time of year- and no family would celebrate without making these delicious, soft honey and spice cookies. Continue reading
This is our 2nd post as a part of the “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series! This month we visit MOROCCO! Can you find Morocco on a map?
As an exchange student in southern Spain, I visited Morocco for 2 colorful weeks as an adventure-hungry student. My girlfriends and I were so excited that we could enjoy the delicious, aromatic dishes typical of Morocco- without a hefty price-tag. In the tiny restaurants we visited daily, we would point to Arabic and French menus, not really knowing what we were ordering! Every time, our table was spread with an assortment of dishes: different salads, meatballs, tajine dishes cooked with lamb or chicken and vegetables and served with couscous.. Continue reading