Who else has a case of wanderlust? Yeah, same here. Since returning to the United States after living in Europe for almost three years, we've had to find a way to explore other countries and cultures without actually going there. In 2017 our son and I started picking countries we wanted to learn about and created little "units" so we could explore each country. We'd do crafts, recipes and spend time learning about the country.
Here's how it works. Asher picks a country he wants to learn about. I then create a "ticket" for him to fly, sail, drive or ride the rails to that country. We head to the library and pick out books ranging from informational non-fiction to fictional stories that originated from that country. Then I pick out a few things that we can turn into crafts. We also make a recipe from the country (something similar to what he already eats so its not a giant leap to a new food). Through all of this I let him explore the books we have chosen and we discuss interesting facts about that location. He really enjoys it and it gives us a chance to talk about people who make look different than us or do things differently than us. It's so important these days for kids to experience other cultures, other people and different ways of looking at the world. We just finished up New Zealand and Argentina.
Asher's favorite facts about New Zealand were that two birds that live there are the Kakapo and the Kiwi and that their summer is our winter and our summer is their winter. We made an addictive hand pie filled with meat and cheese. He actually ate it without a fight and loved it (as did I)! You can get that recipe from Food52.com. Our art projects were a Maori mask and clay pendants in two traditional shapes - a whale tale and the twist.
For Argentina we spent a lot of time talking about their culture and diving into books. Ash loves dancing so he enjoyed seeing videos of Argentinian people doing the tango. He also loved their celebrations and traditions. We decided on chicken filled empanadas.... and they were delicious! I snagged the recipe from SavorTheFlavour.com and the only change we made was to the dough itself. We used empanada dough from the freezer section of our grocery store to make the recipe a bit quicker for a 5-year-old, If you're interested in following our "travels," we'd love to have you tag along! Next stop is South Africa! We'll be making Bobotie from AfricanBites.com. Our crafts will be a colorful necklace and our own prehistoric rock art, or petroglyphs. (Fun Fact: There are about 3,000 rock art sites in the country!)