Apr 192017
 
 April 19, 2017  Book Reviews, Geography 2 Responses »

One of the joys of reading with my children is of connecting them with great literature. Happily, you don’t have to wait until they are in high school to introduce them to classic stories from the distant past. Today you can find wonderful picture books of ancient tales designed for young readers. Here are some of our favorites:

Ancient Tales for Young Readers | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of several of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Ancient Tales for Young Readers

Of course I have to start with the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the first great works of literature. This epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia dates from the early 3rd century BC and is a staple of high school world literature classes (or at least it was in mine!) But this is no dry tale that is foisted upon hapless students by cruel teachers, it is actually a really fascinating story that instantly drew in my kids. I highly recommend the picture book trilogy Gilgamesh the King by Ludmila Zeman. This series beautifully retells this epic story in a format that young children can easily understand and appreciate. She glosses over some of the more “adult” aspects of the original to create a kid-friendly version of these ancient tales that is nevertheless faithful to the spirit of the classic text. There are battles and quests, mystery, friendship, and romance. Really, what’s not to love?

This wonderful new series is inspired by the classic epic poem by Ferdowsi, the Shahnameh (Book of Kings). The first installment, The Story of Zal & Simorgh, tells of Zal, born with hair and skin as white as snow. His unusual appearance frightened his father so much that he abandoned the baby at the foot of a mountain. Yet Zal is saved by a mythical creature, a magical bird called Simorgh who raises the boy into manhood. Yet Zal is grown and encounters his father again, can he choose love over bitterness and forgive the man who left him to die? This is a wonderful story that touches on classic themes of love, friendship, and forgiveness. The story is engaging for younger readers, and the illustrations are beautiful! I love the attention given to details of the historical and cultural elements. One of my favorite spreads shows court musicians playing traditional Persian instruments. Such a beautiful tribute to this rich cultural heritage!

I am so excited that these stories from Shahnameh are now available for young readers. It is not well known in the West, and what copies are available are really too dense for children. When we studied ancient Iran earlier this year, I checked out a copy of the original Shahnameh and found it really was too difficult for my elementary aged son. That is why I jumped at the chance to review Shahnameh For Kids – The Story of Zal & Simorgh and am excited that they now have a Kickstarter to publish the 2nd and 3rd books in the series – it’s an all or nothing campaign that ends in just a few weeks, so don’t miss the chance to help make it happen!

Related Post: Folktales from Iran

The Monkey King: A Classic Chinese Tale for Children is a wonderfully fun story inspired by Chinese legends about the trickster Monkey. Long ago, the Jade King sent a pure-hearted monk on a journey to bring back the teachings of Buddha from India, in order to bring peace and order to the kingdom. This book is about the beginnings of this epic journey, and how helpers were recruited along the way, including Monkey. It seems that every step of the way the monk is set upon by enemies, but when they find out that he is on a mission for the Jade King, they have a change of heart and want to help him. As it turns out, the often short-tempered Jade King has condemned them to their current fates because of having offended him. They realize that if they help the monk, they may gain the King’s favor again and so return to their former lives.

This story has plenty of twists and turns, with battle scenes and narrow escapes and a cast of colorful characters. But I could just get lost in the lush illustrations. They are so beautiful and full of life that each page invites you to fall into it head first. This is one you will treasure on your bookshelf.

If you want to introduce your children to Greek mythology or get them excited about poetry, I highly recommend Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths. Each poem retells one of the Greek myths as a “reverso” poem, meaning it can be read the same forwards and backwards. The poems are so cleverly written, as each half of the poem gives emphasis to different words, often changing the mean of each line completely. Children who are starting to learn these ancient tales will enjoy seeing them captured in this format, and it is also a great way to spark their own creativity about poetry.

Apr 072017
 
 April 7, 2017  crafts, Easter, Geography 2 Responses »

These days Pinterest is full of fun, adorable Easter crafts for kids, but how many Easter kite crafts have you seen? Although this time of year boasts great kite flying weather, kites are not associated with the Easter holiday here in the US, but kite flying is an Easter tradition in many parts of the Caribbean, especially Bermuda.

Make an Easter kite to learn about the kite-flying tradition of Bermuda

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda

The story goes that once a Sunday school teacher wanted to help his students understand the ascension of Jesus to heaven and so came up with the creative idea of flying a kite with a picture of Jesus on it. The idea caught on, and now Good Friday finds many Bermudians out flying kites, including an annual Kite Festival at Horseshoe Bay Beach.

Traditionally people made their own kites from colorful tissue paper, although more and more imported plastic kites can be seen today.

Kite flying sounded to me like a wonderful Easter tradition, and a great way to do a craft that is both fun but also has spiritual significance.  I’ve got three little kids, so I keep our crafts simple, but if you want to make an authentic Bermuda kite (they are beautiful!) you can watch this slideshow.

Instead, I just opted for this very easy paper kite. They are fairly small and don’t fly as well as the big plastic ones, but I wanted to use materials that we already had on hand and to make kites that would be easy for the kids to put together and decorate themselves.

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda | Alldonemonkey.com

They turned out really cute! I couldn’t resist putting bunny ears on mine. We were all very proud of ourselves and excited to put them into action. So the next day we headed for historic Gibson Ranch, a beautiful local park, to take advantage of the windy spring weather.

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda | Alldonemonkey.com

Unfortunately it was a little too windy for the boys at first, but luckily they rallied (and the wind died down a bit) so we could test out our kites and enjoy the scenery.

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda | Alldonemonkey.com

Beautiful Gibson Ranch

So this Easter try something different – make an Easter kite with your child and learn more about this wonderful tradition from Bermuda!

Series on Easter around the world

Easter is approaching, and once again we are excited to take you on a tour of the world and how it celebrates Easter! Explore the diverse traditions of Easter with us, and don’t miss our series from last year or 2015. You also will enjoy this wonderful overview of global Easter traditions. Find these posts and more on our Easter Around the World Pinterest board:

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Easter Around the World on Pinterest.

March 27
Turning Dutch on Multicultural Kid Blogs: The Netherlands

March 28
Kori at Home: 8 Polish Easter Traditions and Customs for Kids

March 29
Hispanic Mama: Fun Easter Resources for Your Bilingual Kids

March 31
Globe Trottin’ Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Celebrating Pascha – Greek Orthodox Easter Traditions

April 6
All Done Monkey

April 7
Living Ideas

April 10
Russian Step By Step

April 11
Pediatrician with a Passport

Mar 302017
 
 March 30, 2017  Geography 2 Responses »

I was in junior high when former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda were put on trial. As we discussed the situation in my social studies class, my main impression (other than all of those shoes!) was wondering why so many people in this Asian country had Spanish names! Over the years I have had a number of Filipino friends and was always fascinated by the Philippines’ unique blend of cultures but never had the opportunity to learn much about it.

That is why I was so pleased to receive two wonderful children’s books about the Philippines to review, which sparked my interest to discover even more resources to learn about these beautiful islands with my kids. Have fun exploring!

Resources for kids to learn about the Philippines

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Philippines: Resources for Kids

General

Did you know that there are approximately 7,100 islands in the Philippines, or that it was named for King Philip II, ruler of Spain during its 16th century colonization of the Philippines? Or that English is one of its official languages? Encyclopedia Britanica Online has a great article that includes these facts and more, mainly focusing on the geography and landscape.

National Geographic Kids has a country overview for kids, where they can see the country’s flag, currency, and a map.

Since Easter is coming up, have fun reading this article from Crafty Moms Share on how Easter is celebrated in this predominantly Catholic country.

Philippines: Resources for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

As always we pulled out our Smart Globe Discovery SG268 – Interactive Smart Globe with Smart Pen by Oregon Scientific. My husband found this several years ago, and it is a great addition to our lessons, plus the boys just enjoy playing with it in their free time! With the globe’s smart pen, kids can find out the country’s language, government, currency, learn how to say “hello,” and listen to its national anthem. Older kids can even play games to test their geography skills!

Related Post: India Resources for Kids

Books

If you want to teach your children or students about the Philippines, you really must get a copy of All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids. It gives such a wonderful introduction to the history and culture of the Philippines, including activities, crafts, games, stories, and recipes. I can’t wait to do the Filipino version of hopscotch with them now that the weather is warmer, or make some halo-halo, a treat that is a crazy mix of all kinds of fun foods like ice cream, shaved ice, coconut, and fruits – sometimes even beans!

I love how All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids really highlights the diversity of Filipino culture, through the three main characters, who represent its main cultural influences: Chinese, Spanish, and Arab. Each child gives a look at a typical day in his or her life, as well as festivals and traditional foods.

This is a really fun book for kids as it has such a variety of activities and information. Great for any classroom or homeschool!

We also really enjoyed reading Pan de Sal Saves the Day. This is a sweet book all kids can relate to, about feeling shy or that you are just not “cool” enough for your classmates. Pan de Sal is a young girl who is embarrassed of her family’s simple home and the traditional games they play instead of the watching TV or playing video games. On a school trip, however, Pan de Sal overcomes her shyness to help her friends, who discover just how great Pan de Sal really is.

This is a universal story about gaining self-confidence, but it is rooted in the specifics of the Philippines. The main character is named after a bread roll enjoyed in the Philippines (all of the characters are named after some kind of bread – like Muffin and Sweet Bread), and we see her family sing a traditional song and play sipa, a traditional sport. This is a fun book to learn about self-confidence as well as Philippine culture.

Food

The Philippines are known for their cuisine. Get a great, mouthwatering overview from CNN’s 50 Dishes That Define the Philippines.

If you are in the Sacramento area, check out one of our local Filipino restaurants! We visited Fil-Am Bakery and Restaurant. I had driven past it so often and always wanted to try it out! The staff is so friendly and helpful, which is great if, like us, you have no idea what to try! The woman who served us was so sweet to my kids in helping them pick out something. In the end we sampled turon (a sweet banana egg roll – my favorite!), bitsu bitsu (like a doughnut but made with rice flour), and – because my four year old declared he did not want anything sweet (!) – pancit (thin rice noodles). They loved everything, but the pancit had all three of them practically licking the plate! Our server made us promise to try the lumpia next time, which we definitely will – along with three big bowls of pancit!

Want to travel the world with your kids? It's easier than you think! Often you can find restaurants or small eateries in your town or a nearby city. We had fun visiting Fil-Am, a local Filipino restaurant & bakery, and sampling some typical treats. Shown here are turon (a sweet spring roll filled with fried banana) and bitsu bitsu (a kind of a chewy doughnut made with rice flour). We will definitely be going back! Find more resources to teach kids about the Philippines on the blog today! (Link in bio). . . #mkbkids #kbn #momsoninstagram #kidbloggersofig #sacramento #visitsacramento #mysacramento #exploresac #sacramentofood #mytinymoments #ourcandidlife #instagood #instakids #ig_motherhood #kbnmoms #ignorcal #philippines #filipino #yummy #yum #lecker #nomnom #homeschooling #kbnhs

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If you’d like to try cooking some Filipino dishes yourself, a wonderful resource is the blog Cuddles & Crumbs. She has tons of great recipes, including fish spring rolls (lumpia), steamed rice cakes (puto), and mung bean and sticky rice pudding (ginataang-munggo).

You can also visit Kid World Citizen to try this terrific Filipino Flan recipe.

Travel

Thinking of visiting with your family? GlobeTotting has an amazing collection of articles on traveling to the Philippines with kids.

Dec 232016
 
 December 23, 2016  Christmas, Geography, raising world citizens, recipes Comments Off on Kid-Friendly Holiday Drink: Haitian Pineapple Nog

This month we’ve been learning about Haiti, and in particular Christmas treats from this beautiful but beleaguered country. We really loved the sweet potato pudding, so we were looking forward to trying pineapple nog, a wonderful kid-friendly holiday drink. The flavors are quite different than eggnog, but it has a similarly creamy consistency. It is traditionally served at Christmas time, but these tropical flavors would also be well suited for summertime.

Kid-Friendly Holiday Drink: Pineapple Nog | Alldonemonkey.com

Christmas in Haiti

But first we took a step back to learn about Haiti and how they celebrate Christmas there. For our character-building classes at home we’ve been focusing on courage, so we talked about how the people of Haiti have incredible courage. First, because they successfully waged one of the first revolutions in the Western Hemisphere, which was also the largest successful slave rebellion in modern times. Haitians today also demonstrate incredible courage in the face of widespread poverty and repeated natural disasters. (For information on charities that operate in Haiti, see the end of this post). For those that want to delve deeper, you can read about how in many ways Haiti’s current suffering stems from its incredible victory more than two centuries ago and the fear it invoked in Western powers.

But back to Christmas! Here is a wonderful first hand account of how Nwèl (Christmas) is joyfully celebrated in Haiti despite the lack of material wealth. One beloved tradition mentioned there are the Christmas fanals, paper lanterns made in the shape of houses, churches, or animals and lit with candles or Christmas lights. Celebrating with family and friends is at the heart of the festivities, and most families attend midnight mass together on Christmas Eve.

Afterwards it is back home for all night dinner parties called reveyonsChildren often play woslèwhich is similar to jacks. Before going to sleep, they make sure to leave out their shoes, filled with straw, which Tonton Nwèl (Santa Claus) will fill with presents.

Kid-Friendly Holiday Drink: Haitian Pineapple Nog

Adapted from Taste the Islands

While the cocktail kremas is very popular at Christmastime, a kid-friendly holiday drink is pineapple nog. It is light and creamy, with a blend of tropical flavors that all ages will enjoy. Plus, it literally takes 2 minutes to make! It honestly took me longer to write the recipe here than it did to actually make it.

The original recipe does not call for any sweetener, but for my crowd I knew I needed to sweeten it up a bit. (It is actually really refreshing just as it is, so try it before you add any sugar!) To keep it relatively healthy, I used a banana for much of the sweetener, which was great because it’s in keeping with the tropical flavors.

I also wanted to make it dairy free for my son, so instead of the traditional mix of coconut milk and regular milk, I used all coconut milk. If you prefer you can make the traditional version.

Kid-Friendly Holiday Drink: Pineapple Nog | Alldonemonkey.com

Ingredients

1 can of coconut milk

20 oz can of crushed pineapple

1 ripe banana

2 T sugar (optional)

sprinkle of nutmeg

Put all ingredients in blender and mix thoroughly. Delicious as is but even better chilled!

Makes 3 large servings or 4-5 small servings

What is your favorite kid=friendly holiday drink?

Kid-Friendly Holiday Drink: Pineapple Nog | Alldonemonkey.com

He is a little suspicious of those brown flecks. It’s just nutmeg!

Organizations to Support in Haiti

There are many charities operating in Haiti. Here are two of my favorites:

Lidè: An educational initiative in rural Haiti that uses the arts and literacy to empower at-risk adolescent girls and help them transition into school or vocational training.  Established by Author Holiday Reinhorn, Actor Rainn Wilson and Executive Director Dr. Kathryn Adams in response to the devastating earthquake of 2010, the Lidè program seeks to uplift women and girls who have been denied equal access to education.

New Horizon School, Mona FoundationRecognized as one of the best in Haiti, New Horizon School is educating the next generation of graduates trained as agents of change in the sustainable development of Haiti through its focus on academic excellence, personal transformation through building moral capabilities and commitment to community service.

Christmas in Different Lands 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to our fourth annual Christmas in Different Lands series! This year each participating blogger will focus on a different country, sharing a traditional dish and more about Christmas in that country. For even more glimpses of global Christmas celebrations, see our series from previous years (2013, 2014, and 2015), plus follow our Christmas board on Pinterest!

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Christmas Around the World on Pinterest.

December 2
Multicultural Baby on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Japan – Strawberry Christmas Cake

December 5
Crafty Moms Share: Nigeria – Jollof Rice

December 7
English Wife Indian Life: India – Christmas Plum Cake

December 8
Living Ideas: Indonesia – Tumpeng nasi kuning

December 9
Creative World of Varya: Lebanon

December 12
Hanna Cheda on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Poland – How to Make Polish Gingerbread Cookies

December 13
the piri-piri lexicon: Portugal – Sonhos

December 14
Raising a Trilingual Child: Italy – Diverse Traditions

December 15
Let the Journey Begin: Latvia – Pīrāgi
Spanglish Monkey: Spain – Polvorones

December 16
Pack-n-Go Girls: Austria – Vanillekipferl

December 19
Mom Hats and More: USA – Apple Streudel

December 20
Multicultural Baby: Paraguay – Sopa Paraguaya

December 21
La Clase de Sra. DuFault: Chile – Pan de Pascua

December 22
Uno Zwei Tutu on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Colombia – Hojuelas
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Roast Pork

December 23
All Done Monkey: Haiti

Celebrate Christmas Around the World Printable Pack from Multicultural Kid Blogs

Don’t miss our other posts about Christmas in different lands, plus our printable pack Celebrate Christmas Around the World, on sale now!

Dec 202016
 
 December 20, 2016  bilingualism, Book Reviews, Geography Comments Off on Travel Books for Kids: Top Cities

I love books that beckon children to travel and to imagine themselves as the heroes in great adventures. The travel books for kids highlighted below do this by focusing on particular cities – Kyoto, Paris, Mumbai, and London – and introducing young readers to the sights and culture of these noteworthy locales.

Travel Books for Kids: Top Cities

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Travel Books for Kids

Learn about Kyoto along with a young girl traveling there with her grandfather in Megumi’s First Trip to Kyoto. This is a really lovely book. The illustrations are wonderful, and I love that through the story we learn language and culture as Megumi and her grandfather count the things they will see in Kyoto: 10 bonsai trees, 9 orange koi, and so on. Japanese words are sprinkled in throughout the story, with footnotes giving the meaning and pronunciation. At the end there are also fun facts, a map, and Japanese numbers 1-10. But beyond this, what really makes the book come to life is the close relationship between Megumi and her grandfather. The affection between them lends a warmth to this story and will attract young readers even as they learn more about this beautiful city.

Related Post: Global Adventure Books for Kids

Take your kids on a gentle adventure through Paris with Beep Beep In Paris. Beep Beep is an adorable little red car who has adventures throughout Paris with his friend Chocolat the Cat (who has a habit of disappearing to eat desserts!) Poor Beep Beep does have some minor mishaps, but he is always helped by Chocolat, who helps Beep Beep feel at home in this new city. I have read this book many times with my preschooler, who loves the curious little car and his feline friend. (I actually won this book a few years ago from a friend’s blog: read her review of the book!) This sweet bilingual French and English book is a great way to practice vocabulary and take a virtual tour of the major landmarks of the city of lights. Read it with a cup of hot chocolat!

I was excited that our friends that wrote a wonderful Diwali book are now back with a new Maya and Neel adventure! Let’s Visit Mumbai! (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series, Book 2) is a fun, beautifully done story about two siblings from the US who are exploring Mumbai with their pet squirrel Chintu. Kids aren’t the only ones who will learn from this book – I never knew that Mumbai was originally a group of 7 islands! And did you know that Bollywood comes from Mumbai? There is even an “info zoom” spread about Bollywood as well as another on the famous dabbawallas who deliver food throughout Mumbai. The graphics are so colorful and engaging, and the story packs in a lot of information in a natural way. And I love that just as in Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! there is a visual recap of the adventure at the end of the story. My only complaint about this (and the other books on this list) is that they don’t come with samples of the mouthwatering foods they feature!

Travel Books for Kids: Click the Book - London

If you are looking for innovative travel books for kids and/or want one that is customizable in two languages, you need to check out Click! London. This fun-filled adventure is not only a fast-paced story for children about London, it is also fully bilingual, in the languages of your choice! (Right now Spanish, English, and Italian are available, with more to come). Come along as two children take a wild, somewhat surreal ride through the sights of London!

Dec 142016
 

If you are like me, a gift for your child is not only fun, it’s also an opportunity to teach them something. Fun toys that teach coding! Great gifts for book lovers! And so of course I have some great recommendations for you of multicultural gifts that your kids will love and that will also teach them about the world and encourage them to explore it even more. Enjoy!

Multicultural Gifts for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of many of the items below; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Multicultural Gifts for Kids

Spanish Alphabet Print : Multicultural Gifts for Kids

I absolutely adore the alphabet posters from Gus on the Go! We have one in Spanish and one in French hanging in our baby’s room, and she loves pointing at all the adorable pictures! I love that she is learning the Spanish alphabet (and French!) in an organic way, with pictures that correspond to the correct Spanish letters – and it includes the “ch” and the “ll”! And did I mention how adorable the pictures are?? Also available in Hebrew, Greek, and Italian, and you don’t want to miss their fun language learning apps, like Gus on the Go: Spanish for Kids.

What young child wouldn’t want to play with this inviting Plush Basket of Babies from Creative Minds? These soft, 10″ dolls are huggable and fun multicultural gifts for all ages, from very young children in search of a snuggly toy to older kids who love pretend play.

Karen Katz’s books are real favorites around our house. Her bright, colorful illustrations always include diverse characters, and her stories are told in simple language for the very young. I love that she takes her young readers seriously and talks to them about topics like world peace, as in the beautiful Can You Say Peace?. A lovely addition to the library of any little world citizen!

Multicultural Gifts for Kids - Culture Chest

I was so excited to find out about Culture Chest, a subscription service offering multicultural picture books for children ages 3-8. Packages typically include 1-2 paperback books plus an activity. Books are selected with care for cultural relevance and accuracy. I love that the boxes follow the celebration of the heritage months. For example, for November (Native American Heritage Month), our box included two wonderful books related to Native American heritage: Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales and the lovely Navajo legend How the Stars Fell into the Sky. This service makes a great gift to help children learn about other cultures and celebrate their own heritage.

If you want a fun STEM project for your child to work on, you can’t beat the next two multicultural gifts! Japanese Paper Toys Kit: Origami Paper Toys that Walk, Jump, Spin, Tumble and Amaze! is so fun and creative and work well for a range of ages. Each paper toys kit comes with materials and instructions to make 21 different toys – that really move! The projects are easy enough to finish quickly so that kids can start playing with them!

Another great STEM activity kit is the Origami Zoo Kit, which includes the book, 40 papers, 95 stickers, and a zoo map for pretend play with your creations. It is so fun! Perfect for your animal lovers, or any child that likes crafts! I love Tuttle’s origami kits for kids, because they are so colorful and engaging for kids, and parents will love how easy the projects are to put together. The papers already have the patterns on them, plus they come with stickers to decorate once you are finished. And kids will love playing with their animals at the “zoo” afterwards. Hours of fun!

Older children will love All About Thailand: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids. It is packed with all kinds of fun learning activities about Thailand, from stories and songs to recipes and games. Kids can practice speaking a few words of Thai, learn more about elephants, or make their own shadow puppets! This is one my son really enjoys reading, and that I steal from my kids’ room to read for myself! Would also be perfect for the classroom or a home school unit.

Atlas of Animal Adventures: A collection of nature’s most unmissable events, epic migrations and extraordinary behaviours is simply gorgeous. Young children will love the detailed illustrations, while older children will pore over the detailed maps and information about animals from around the world. This is one of those books kids will keep coming back to because there is always something new to discover!

I’ve reviewed this album previously, but it is one that we pull out every holiday season, because everyone in the family loves it. Celebrate The Season: Multicultural Songs For The Holidays By Daria is a beautifully done collection of traditional holiday music from around the world that will have everyone singing along. It is a nice mix of upbeat songs and more gentle tunes, with wonderful instrumentals and Daria’s warm, resonant vocals. Not to miss! These CDs make great multicultural gifts to stick in your loved ones’ stockings!

Dec 012016
 

The holidays are fast approaching, and this year I decided to try a new treat: a Christmas pudding from Haiti. It is heaven, a sweet combination of flavors we typically associate with the Caribbean, like coconut and banana, with those we associate with the winter holidays, like cinnamon and sweet potatoes.

Haiti Christmas Treat: Sweet Potato Pudding | Alldonemonkey.com

Pain patate is a traditional treat in Haiti, served throughout the year but particularly at Christmas. It is sometimes translated as sweet potato cake or bread, but in other places as sweet potato pudding, which is more how ours turned out.

The recipe is very easy, but it does require quite a lot of cooking time, since the sweet potato are not cooked ahead of time but instead grated and cooked in the batter itself. If you decide to use orange yams like I did instead of the white sweet potatoes traditionally use, be warned that your pudding will take much longer to set, as the white sweet potatoes are much drier and so hold up better in the batter.

Either way, though, the results are delicious!

Haiti Christmas Treat: Sweet Potato Pudding | Alldonemonkey.com

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Pudding (Haiti)

Based on this recipe from Manmie et Tatie

Ingredients

2.5 cups of sweet potatoes (I used one large sweet potato)
½ cup raisins
1 cup evaporated milk
1 ¼ cup coconut milk
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup butter
½ tsp of salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ripe banana
1 lime (zest only)
1 T ground ginger
2 T vanilla

Haiti Christmas Treat: Sweet Potato Pudding | Alldonemonkey.com

To Make:

    1. Soak the raisins in boiling water. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Grate them with a box grater or (much faster!) cut into pieces and grind in a food processor.
    2. Put the grated sweet potatoes in a pan, along with the evaporated milk, coconut milk, brown sugar, butter, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
    3. Cook on medium heat for 45-50 minutes, stirring frequently. As it cooks, mash the banana and add to the pan, along with the raisins, lime zest, and ginger. Continue to stir frequently.
    4. Add the vanilla then stir and cover. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the batter begins to thicken.
    5. Pour into a greased 8 x 11 baking pan and cook at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 ½ hours. The dish is done once the pudding has set and turned a golden color.
    6. For a more cake like consistency, refrigerate for 24 hours.

Holiday Treat & Cookie Swap Around the World

You’ve heard of the holiday cookie swap – here is a virtual swap, hosted by Crafty Moms Share, with recipes from around the world! Visit the linky below to find new multicultural recipes to try this holiday season, and link up your own!

Link up your own holiday recipes!


Oct 112016
 
 October 11, 2016  Geography, History 3 Responses »

Olmec Jaguar Craft | Alldonemonkey.com

Recently we looked at children’s books about the Aztec. Today we’re reaching further back into the history of Mesoamerica (that is, Central America and Mexico) to learn about what is often considered the “mother culture” of this culturally rich region: the Olmec. We learned some of the background of this ancient people and looked at the art they left behind. We focused on some of their most important carvings with a simple but fun jaguar craft that helps reinforce the history lesson but can also be used for younger children to learn about the letter “J.”

The Olmec: Mother Culture of Mesoamerica

The Olmec civilization prospered in the swampy region along the Gulf of Mexico from 1200 BC to 400 BC, more or less at the same time as ancient Greece and the New Kingdom in Egypt. Many of the elements we associate with later civilizations like the Aztec and Maya – sacred ball games, pyramids, human sacrifice, and foods like corn and chocolate – actually began with the Olmec.

Olmec Jaguar Effigy

Olmec Jaguar Effigy, Source: Wikimedia

 

Olmec Stone Head, Xalapa Museum

Olmec Stone Head, Xalapa Museum, Source: Wikimedia

If you have heard of them at all it is probably due to the massive stone heads they constructed, most likely in memory of their rulers. (A fun craft to do with your kids would be to make their own “stone heads” with play dough!) The Olmec were also known for smaller stone carvings that seem to be related to their religion. Many of these are believed to represent deities, often associated with powerful animals like the eagle, the snake, and the jaguar.

Olmec Stone Were Jaguar Face

Olmec Stone Were Jaguar Face, Source Wikimedia

The jaguar in particular seems to have been significant, and there are many jade carvings of a were-jaguar, that is, a cross between a human and a jaguar.

Olmec Were Jaguar

Olmec Were Jaguar, Source: Wikimedia

Now, who could resist such a perfect subject to bring my boys to the crafting table? This craft works well for different ages, because my older son was really focused on capturing all of the elements of the ancient carvings. With my preschooler I focused mostly on the “J is for Jaguar” aspect and let him just have fun building with the dough.

J is for Jaguar: Olmec Jaguar Craft

This is a very simple jaguar craft, and you could make it even simpler by substituting play dough for salt dough, or even just making masks out of construction paper or craft foam. Go with what is easy! I picked salt dough because in the end it would have a similar feel to the stone masks we were copying (without having to carve any stone ourselves!) and we would have the option of making them permanent creations.

If you are making salt dough, I recommend this recipe. To color our dough green like the jade that was often used, I used all of a small tube of liquid food coloring. Some people recommend using powdered paint or gel food coloring so you aren’t adding more liquid to the recipe, but ours turned out fine. Be aware that once the creations dry overnight the color will fade somewhat, though it still is a nice shade of green.

Olmec Jaguar Craft | Alldonemonkey.com

Before drying

Be sure to look at images of the were-jaguar for inspiration. For younger children, you can leave it at that, but for older children you can ask them to incorporate the major elements from the Olmec were-jaguar carvings:

  • a cleft head (that is, a notch cut on the top of the head)
  • somewhat slanted eyes
  • an open mouth, either with fangs or toothless
Olmec Jaguar Craft | Alldonemonkey.com

The finished were-jaguars

The Olmec carvings varied on how much they looked like a jaguar and how much like a human, so leave that to their imaginations. When they are happy with their work, set them out to dry overnight and bake, if desired.

31 Days of ABC - October 2016 | Alldonemonkey.com

After taking a break last year due to the arrival of Baby #3, we are back with one of my favorite series, the 31 Days of ABC! You can look forward to 31 more days of activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet.

I am so happy to be working with an amazing group of kid bloggers, who will be sharing their amazing ideas with us in the coming days. And this year for the first year we are also adding a giveaway, so be sure to scroll to the end and enter for a chance to win!

So join us as we jump, skip, hop, and read our way through the alphabet this October!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!



31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Creating a Preschool Letter of the Week Curriculum

A – October 2

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Apple Scented Glitter Glue and Apple Craft

B – October 3

Witty Hoots: How to Make Fabulous Button Bookmarks

C – October 4

Preschool Powol Packets: Construction Truck Preschool Action Rhyme

D – October 5

ArtsyCraftsyMom: Printable Dinosaur Alphabet Sequencing Puzzle

E – October 6

Preschool Powol Packets: Elephant Art Project and Thailand Lesson

F – October 7

Spanglish Monkey: Spanish-English ABC Flashcards

G – October 8

Royal Baloo: Simple Ghost Painting Project

H – October 9

Peakle Pie

I – October 10

Look! We’re Learning!: Insect Activities for Kids

J – October 11

All Done Monkey

K – October 12

Preschool Powol Packets

L – October 13

Raising a Trilingual Child

M – October 14

Creative World of Varya

N – October 15

Peakle Pie

O – October 16

For the Love of Spanish

P – October 17

Little Hiccups

Q – October 18

All Done Monkey

R – October 19

Sugar, Spice & Glitter

S – October 20

Crafty Mama in ME

T – October 21

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

U – October 22

Witty Hoots

V – October 23

Creative World of Varya

W – October 24

X – October 25

All Done Monkey

Y – October 26

Our Daily Craft

Z – October 27

123’s – October 28

Hispanic Mama

Prewriting – October 29

Sugar Aunts

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

The Jenny Evolution

Alphabet Clip Cards – October 31

The Kindergarten Connection

Find more great resources in 31 Days of ABCs 2013 and 2014!

Giveaway

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win this great prize package, open internationally!

Kidloland

3 month subscription to the Kidloland app, which includes 575+ interactive nursery rhymes, songs, stories, and educational activities to help children learn ABCs, animals, fruits, vegetables, shapes and more!

Alphabet Experts Mega Bundle: 31 Days of ABC Giveaway

The Alphabet Experts Mega Bundle from Kindergarten Connections contains 500+ of alphabet printables, including tons of activities for each letter of the alphabet! ($58.50 value)

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Sep 232016
 

The Aztec were one of the greatest (and best known) civilizations of pre-Colombian America. They actually referred to themselves as the Mexica (pronounced “Meh-shee-kah”), which is where we get the name “Mexico” from. The term “Aztec” didn’t become popular until the 18th century, although there is evidence that the Mexica originally called themselves this because they had migrated central Mexico from a homeland they called Aztlán in what is today northern Mexico.

The Aztec: Top Books for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

The Aztec are a great topic to explore especially with older kids who will be fascinated by their rituals, warriors, and (of course) human sacrifice. Here are the best books I have found for learning about the Aztec with kids.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Top Books for Kids about the Aztec

 

A great book to start with, especially for young children, is Blue Frog: The Legend of Chocolate. After all, who wouldn’t want to learn a legend about how humans came to have chocolate? Long ago, Sun God is the only one who has chocolate, which he keeps guarded inside the pods of the cacao plant. Wind God thinks he should share this treasure with humans, but Sun God greedily refuses. Wind God then transforms himself into a blue frog, who spies on the Sun God and helps humans discover where the chocolate is hidden. The colorful illustrations are inspired by Aztec and Mayan art. Includes a recipe for hot chocolate.

In Musicians of the Sun famed author/illustrator Gerald McDermott brings to life the legend of how the Lord of the Night brought joy to the human world through music. The Lord of the Night, seeing that his people were sad and the world a colorless place, helps Wind fly to the house of the Sun (yes, here is that mean Sun God again!), where Sun is holding captive the Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green musicians. With the Lord of the Night’s help, Wind is able to battle the great Sun God and free the musicians, who bring color and laughter to the world with their music.

I love Ballplayers and Bonesetters: One Hundred Ancient Aztec and Maya Jobs You Might Have Adored or Abhorred. It shows the real diversity of this ancient society, and what everyday life would have been like for those holding various jobs. Examples of some of the types of jobs included are state jobs, palace jobs, everyday crafts jobs, luxury crafts jobs, and military jobs. Kids will love the latrine boatmen (who basically collected and sold human waste) as well as the voladores, who would perform at festivals, swinging by their feet like birds high above the crowds. Includes a general introduction to Mesoamerica, with a timeline, fun facts, and quick overview of the language.

Hail! Aztecs is an incredibly fun book. This faux tourist guide is a hilarious, engaging look at the Aztecs, put in terms of modern day society. So for example, there is a shopping guide (all about the markets) and a careers guide. I laughed out loud at the Celebrity Big Brother, where different gods and goddesses “compete” for your vote by telling why they are the best of the bunch. You also don’t want to miss Monty’s blog, posts from Montezuma himself (who was also named Hunk of the Month) as the Spanish first arrive. This is soon interrupted and an “Under New Management” sign appears, followed by a few “blog posts” from Cortés.

I love the concept of What Did the Aztecs Do for Me?, which breaks down why kids should care about the Aztecs. (Like the fact that they invented chocolate and tortillas!) It covers worship, games, and food, with “then and now” comparisons, such as where the Day of the Dead originated and how it is celebrated today.

If you have a child who is interested in fashion or crafts, a great choice is Clothes & Crafts in Aztec Times. It goes over what crafts were done by the Aztecs (such as making pottery or building stone pyramids), as well as the different kinds of clothing and jewelry used. My favorite part is at the end, where you can learn to make some Aztec hairpieces and clothing. (Note: this DIY part is only a small section of the book).

Interestingly, when I searched for books on the Aztec, there were quite a few about Aztec warriors. I found How to Be an Aztec Warrior to be one of the best. No surprise, since it’s from National Geographic! The premise is that you are a living in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlán and wish to become a great warrior. Do you have what it takes? The book goes through the various qualifications of being a warrior, from being loyal to your clan to handling the various weapons. I love the use of very engaging but realistic illustrations as well as photos of actual artifacts. If you run across How Would You Survive as an Aztec?, it is by the same author and illustrator and appears to be an early version of this book. Though it doesn’t focus just on warriors, it has almost identical information and many of the same illustrations.

I adore this series, which is a tongue in cheek look at everything from the Assyrian army to Titanic. They are totally fun to read, with silly illustrations and irreverent looks at history that will leave everyone laughing – and I guarantee they will remember the information! Keep in mind that they do make light of serious situations (like human sacrifice, in this case), but if you don’t mind that then you will love them. I do wish they would focus on something other than human sacrifice, since that’s such a sensationalist aspect of the Aztec civilization, but I also understand it because it does get kids’ attention!

In You Wouldn’t Want to Be an Aztec Sacrifice kids imagine themselves as the next person to be sacrificed and learn the ins and outs of what might be in store for them.

Another very irreverent book is The Angry Aztecs. Before you get too upset about the title, you should know that other books in this series include The Vicious Vikings and The Rotten Romans. These are very funny books that older kids will love, using humor to convey well researched information. My son has been reading these books and laughing out loud, but at the same time he really is learning a lot from them!

One middle grade book I have not had a chance to read but that looks really good is Neil Flambé and the Aztec Abduction, part of a series of adventure books. I was worried at first that it might be an Indiana Jones style adventure that relies on popular rather than accurate information about the Aztecs, but this looks to be well researched as well as fun.

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2016 | Multicultural Kid BlogsWe are so excited for our FIFTH annual Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway! Through the month (September 15 – October 15), you’ll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can enter to win in our great giveaway and link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!

This post is also part of the series Global Learning for Kids. Each month we will feature a country and host a link party to collect posts about teaching kids about that country–crafts, books, lessons, recipes, etc. It will create a one-stop place full of information about the country.

This month we are learning all about Mexico, so visit Multicultural Kid Blogs to link up any old or new posts designed to teach kids about Mexico – crafts, books, lessons, recipes, music and more!

Save

September 14
Hanna Cheda on Multicultural Kid Blogs: How to Pass on Hispanic Heritage as an Expat

September 15
Spanish Mama: Los Pollitos Dicen Printable Puppets

September 16
Hispanic Mama: Children’s Shows that Kids in Latin America Grew Up With

September 19
Spanish Playground: Authentic Hispanic Heritage Month Games Everyone Can Play

September 20
Tiny Tapping Toes: Exploring Instruments for Hispanic Heritage Month

September 21
Kid World Citizen on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fascinating Facts about Peru!

September 22
Spanish Mama: Printable Spanish-Speaking Countries and Capitals Game Cards

September 23
All Done Monkey

September 26
Crafty Moms Share

September 27
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

September 28
La Clase de Sra. DuFault

September 29
Embracing Diversity

September 30
Mama Tortuga

October 3
Hispanic Mama on Multicultural Kid Blogs

October 4
La Clase de Sra. DuFault

October 5
Pura Vida Moms

October 7
Spanglish House

October 10
Mundo Lanugo

October 11
Kid World Citizen

October 12
MommyMaestra

October 13
inspired by familia

October 14
El Mundo de Pepita on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Don’t miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway!

Giveaway begins September 14 and goes through October 14, 2016.

Enter below for a chance to win one of these amazing prize packages! Some prizes have shipping restrictions. In the event that a winner lives outside the designated shipping area, that prize will then become part of the following prize package. For more information, read our full giveaway rules.

Grand Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

Grand Prize

-Month of free access to online Spanish home learning program from Calico Spanish
-If You Were Me and Lived in… series, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal books from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only
-Spark important conversations about diversity, inclusivity and acceptance with award-winning Barefoot Books! Collection includes Barefoot Books World Atlas, The Barefoot Book of Children, Children of the World Memory Game, The Great Race, Mama Panya’s Pancakes, Off We Go to Mexico, Up and Down the Andes, We all Went on Safari, We’re Sailing Down the Nile, We’re Sailing to Galapagos US & Canada Shipping Only
Aquí Allá CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band US Shipping Only
-Animales CD from 123 Andrés US Shipping Only
-Best of the Bowl CD from Hot Peas ‘N Butter US Shipping Only
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (hard cover), El fútbol me hace feliz by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo (paperback), Blankie/Mantita by Leslie Patricelli (board book) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only
A Child’s Life in the Andes e-book plus music CD from Daria Music
-Hola Hello CD with lyrics in digital format from Mariana Iranzi
-T-shirt of choice (or equal value $18) from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only
-Scarves, coin purse and painted wood bracelets from Nicaragua, and a map puzzle of Central America from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only
Latin GRAMMY-winning album Los Animales from Mister G US Shipping Only

1st Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

First Prize

-If You Were Me and Lived in… series, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal books from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only
Aquí Allá CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band US Shipping Only
-Animales CD from 123 Andrés US Shipping Only
-Best of the Bowl CD from Hot Peas ‘N Butter US Shipping Only
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (hard cover), El fútbol me hace feliz by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo (paperback), Blankie/Mantita by Leslie Patricelli (board book) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only
-Hola Hello CD with lyrics in digital format from Mariana Iranzi
-T-shirt of choice (or equal value $18) from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only
-Scarves, coin purse and painted wood bracelets from Nicaragua, and a map puzzle of Central America from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only
Olinguito, from A to Z! (bilingual) by Lulu Delacre, Rafi and Rosi by Lulu Delacre, Mamá the Alien (bilingual) y René Colato Laínez and illustrated by Laura Lacámara, Marisol MacDonald and the Monster (bilingual) by Monica Brown from Lee & Low Books US Shipping Only
-Ecuador Themed International Cooking Box from Global Gastronauts US Shipping Only
Ora de Despertar Ladino Children’s Music CD from Sarah Aroeste Hard copy if US winner; digital if international winner
T-shirt of choice from Mundo Lanugo US Shipping Only
Latin GRAMMY-winning album Los Animales from Mister G US Shipping Only

2nd Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

Second Prize

-If You Were Me and Lived in… series, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal books from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only
Aquí Allá CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band US Shipping Only
-Animales CD from 123 Andrés US Shipping Only
-Best of the Bowl CD from Hot Peas ‘N Butter US Shipping Only
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (hard cover), El fútbol me hace feliz by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo (paperback), Blankie/Mantita by Leslie Patricelli (board book) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only
-Hola Hello CD with lyrics in digital format from Mariana Iranzi
-T-shirt of choice (or equal value $18) from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only
-Scarves, coin purse and painted wood bracelets from Nicaragua, and a map puzzle of Central America from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only
Culture Chest with the theme “Dancing in September” for Hispanic Heritage Month. Includes bilingual books Tito Puente, Mambo King and Me llamo Celia Cruz, both by Monica Brown and Rafael Lopez US Shipping Only
Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) and single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app from Gus on the Go
Latin GRAMMY-winning album Los Animales from Mister G US Shipping Only

Bonus Prize

Piñata de Laly | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

Piñata from Piñatas de Laly Europe Shipping Only

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Aug 042016
 
 August 4, 2016  Geography, multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on Summer Games Activity Pack Review

Is your family excited about the upcoming Summer Games? Explore the world together as you watch and learn with this fun Summer Games activity pack!

Summer Games Activity Pack Review | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the Summer Games activity pack from Multicultural Kid Blogs for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

I love to find creative ways to explore the world with my kids. I try cooking recipes from other countries, and we read a gazillion books together, many about cultures from around the globe. And all of these are great, but one thing that really gets kids (and adults!) excited is a sporting event, especially a big, huge sporting event like the upcoming Summer Games.

When the World Cup happened two years ago, my then four year old got really into watching the matches with my husband, and we learned so much about the countries that were participating, like Iran and Costa Rica. He memorized an unbelievable number of national flags, as we charted the progress of the teams in the tournament.

The Summer Games offer a similar opportunity – a way to see a friendly competition of nations play out on our TV screens on a daily basis, in all its pageantry and glory, with all its incredibly true tales of heroism, dedication, and perseverance.

That’s why I was thrilled when the incredible team from Multicultural Kid Blogs put together this brilliant activity pack for the Summer Games. It is over 100 pages (yes, that’s right – over 100 pages) of fun facts and activities to help kids learn about the Summer Games, the host city Rio de Janeiro, and the participating countries. For example, for each featured country (the host country plus most medaled nations) kids learn the history, geography, landmarks, wildlife, music, famous residents, and history in the Games, plus a fun recipe to try and a list of books to read.

I love that as they learn about each country they can color it in on one of 5 continental maps. Plus there is a medal tracker that I can’t wait to use, as well as features on most medaled athletes. As a homeschooling mom (and one with an eye on avoiding the summer slide!) I love the review worksheets at the end of the pack.  The good news? They are so fun that my son loves them, too!

In other words, there is so much in this Summer Games learning pack that I’m sure I am forgetting to tell you about something!

Even with my back turned I can tell when my son is reading the pack, because I hear things like this: “Did you know that golf will be in the Olympics for the first time in over 100 years? 100 years!!” “I want to try water polo!” “Did you know that a famous athlete from Great Britain has the same first name as my uncle – your brother??” “Let’s make Viking Bread today!” (These are all actual quotes).

If you want some fun activities for your kids to do related to the upcoming Summer Games, I highly recommend this activity pack, which has so much for kids – and adults – to enjoy. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to print your FREE Olympics passport!

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