Jun 302016
 

Pakistan: Favorite Children's Books | Alldonemonkey.com

This month we have been exploring the beautiful country of Pakistan as part of the Global Learning series from Multicultural Kid Blogs.  The boys and I have been enjoying some wonderful children’s books about Pakistan, from folk tales and fun picture books to ones on topics like refugees and child labor.

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

Pakistan: Favorite Children’s Books

A great place to start is P Is for Pakistan, part of the World Alphabets series. It has amazing photographs of everyday life in Pakistan, from clothes and foods to transport and landmarks. For example, A is for Asslam-U-Alaikum and B is for Badshahi Mosque in Lahore. Wonderful way to give an overview of the sights of this beautiful country and give a sense of what life is like for children there.

Ruler of the Courtyard is an edge of your seat, laugh out loud book from Rukhsana Khan, who has written a number of wonderful children’s books about Pakistan. Saba is scared of the chickens who live in the courtyard of her house, until a confrontation with a snake makes her realize that she has the courage to be the Ruler of the Courtyard. Saba is a spunky, melodramatic narrator that will take her young readers on the journey with her. We loved the surprise ending!

The Gifts of Wali Dad: A Tale of India and Pakistan is a fabulously silly tale of a humble grass cutter who just wants to enjoy his simple life. Unfortunately, his well-intentioned attempts to gift away his growing wealthy inadvertantly makes him the object of increasingly lavish gifts from those he has given to. Children will love this traditional tale and watching as the elaborate gifts become more fantastical and poor Wali Dad more miserable. In the end he is set free from his unbelievable riches with a little divine help.

One of the things I love about Rukhsana Khan’s books is that they are just plain good stories, whether or not you are learning about Pakistan, though of course children learn quite a bit about the country as they enjoy the book. In Silly Chicken, Rani believes her mother loves their pet chicken more than she loves Rani. Rani, of course, doesn’t like the chicken at all. In fact, she thinks Bibi is quite silly. But when Bibi disappears, Rani discovers that she actually misses her. Spoiler alert: though there is a happy ending to this story, Bibi is never found, so be prepared to (possibly) discuss this with your children, although my kids actually didn’t seem to notice this as they were so focused on Rani’s new pet.

Nadia’s Hands is a beautiful book about a young Pakistani-American girl learning to be proud of her culture. When Nadia is chosen to be the flower girl at her aunt’s wedding, she is nervous but soon is caught up in the excitement of the wedding preparations. She does not, however, like the look (and smell) of the designs painted onto her hands, which no longer look like her hands. She worries about what the other kids at school will say on Monday, but the loving words from her family help her to appreciate this tradition and think about classmates that have shared their own cultures. I love the kind gestures and loving words from Nadia’s aunties and uncles as they help Nadia feel like an important part of the celebrations. My favorite line is from the Grandma, who tells Nadia, “When I look at your hands, it’s as if I’m looking at my past and future at the same time.” Lovely book about family and tradition that second generation immigrants (and any child sometimes embarrassed by being different) will appreciate.

King for a Day is another gem from Rukhsana Khan. This book is wonderful on so many levels. It is a great way to learn about Basant, the spring festival in Pakistan, when the sky is full of gorgeous kites battling each other. (This lends itself to many extension activities, of course, like kite crafts and just going out and flying or battling kites yourself!) It also teaches about overcoming bullying and showing kindness to others, as Malik uses his cherished Falcom to battle the expensive kite flown by the bully next door. The book does not address directly the fact that Malik is in a wheelchair, but the lesson will not be lost on the reader that Malik is able to use his cunning and skill to become King for a day, and that he in turn decides to be kind to a young girl he sees crying in the street below.

The remaining picture books on this list address serious issues related to Pakistan. Four Feet, Two Sandals is the story of two young girls (originally from Afghanistan) in a Pakistani refugee camp. They both need a new pair of shoes, but when only one pa available, the girls suddenly find their lives intertwined. They work out a deal to wear the sandals on alternate days and soon find themselves sharing even more – first their stories of loss then their hopes and dreams. A poignant story to get children thinking about how world events affect children just like them.

Pakistan has given the world two fearless young human rights leaders: Malala, who was nearly killed because of her defiance of the Taliban’s prohibition of education for girls, and Iqbal, the young boy who escaped indentured servitude to speak out against child labor, only to be killed in suspicious circumstances at just 12 years old. Their remarkable stories are brought together in Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan: Two Stories of Bravery, a two-in-one book which shares simplified versions of their stories appropriate for young children. I love the kite image found in the illustrations throughout the book, including the centerpiece which connects the two tales.

For children ready to learn more details about Malala, For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story is a great choice. This beautifully illustrated book tells of Malala’s love of learning and the courage of the students and teachers in the face of increasing opposition to girls’ education. One detail I loved was that instead of using henna to decorate her hands with beautiful designs, as many of her schoolmates did, Malala used it to cover her hands in scientific formulas.

Older children can learn more about child labor in Pakistan with The Carpet Boy’s Gift. It is the fictionalized account of Nadeem, a bonded laborer in a carpet factory who is scared after an attempt to gain freedom for himself and his fellow workers. Yet he gains courage after seeing Iqbal lead a parade through his town. A powerful portrait of the life of a child laborer, with detailed descriptions of what it would be like to work in a dim, gloomy factory from sunup to sundown. Includes resources at the end on child labor and how to get involved in this issue.

Global Learning for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of our 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 Pakistan, so link up below any old or new posts designed to teach kids about Pakistan–crafts, books, lessons, recipes, music and more!


Jun 082016
 

India for Kids: Favorite Resources for Elementary Students | Alldonemonkey.com

Ever since I was a girl I was fascinated by India, that wonderfully diverse country with such a rich cultural heritage.  And now I’m lucky enough to get to study it with my kids as part of our world cultures curriculum.  Here are some of my favorites resources about India for kids, including websites and books appropriate for elementary school students.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of A Puzzling Tour of India 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.

India for Kids: Favorite Resources for Elementary Students

We love A Puzzling Tour of India! It is perfect for schools and homeschoolers, or for anyone looking to do some really fun educational games with their kids.  I love integrating subjects, so I was so excited to learn about this incredible activity book that combines STEM activities with learning about the cultures and history of India for kids. Best of all, the puzzles are really fun!  And trust me, this book is packed with information about India plus a variety of types of puzzles, like mazes, hidden objects, and more.  Here are just a few examples: write a story based on a painting from the Warli tribes, complete a picture of the Mahabodhi Temple by filling in the missing shapes, connect the dots to reveal a favorite resident of Jim Corbett National Park, and unscramble a picture of the Great Indian Hornbill.

Endangered Animals of India | Meera Sriram

Another great STEM book about India is Endangered Animals of India by Meera Sriram.  It is a wonderful way to teach kids about the wildlife of India as well as raise their awareness about the environmental challenges they face.  You can also try the learning games we did to go along with this fantastic book.

Kids will enjoy the colorful and often amusing stories in The Elephant’s Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India. My son really loved the graphic novel format – a big plus for early readers and visual learners!

Our study of India included learning about Hinduism. By now hopefully you are not tired of hearing me go on about how much I love books by Demi, but if you are teaching your kids about world religions, her books are essential!  As mentioned in my Ramadan lesson plan, I love that her books are so respectful and authentic to the religion being presented. The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna is no exception. It is an exciting tale of Krishna’s life, though be warned that a sensitive child may find some of the battle scenes and illustrations a little s-c-a-r-y. (Having said that, these were my son’s favorites!)

Krishna Steals the Butter and Other Stories is a beautiful collection of stories from Hinduism that are appropriate for young children.  (Go here for more resources to learn about Hinduism with kids).

There are so many general reference books available about India for kids that it can be quite overwhelming. One we liked was India (Eyewitness Books). The photos are outstanding, and the information is comprehensive and engaging.

Another great reference book is A Historical Atlas of India. The maps are fantastic and showcase how India has changed throughout time.

My son loves science, so Science in Ancient India was a fun way for him to connect with the history of India and the important scientific contributions it has made to the world. For example, we learned about ayurvedic medicine and even figured out what our doshas are!  (You can also take an online quiz, though you have to give your email address to receive the results).

Websites

To learn more about ancient India and in particular the Indus Valley civilization, check out this BBC website for kids, which has great visuals to talk about everyday life, artifacts, and the mystery of what happened to this ancient civilization.

You can also take a virtual tour of India through this wonderful yoga sequence from Kids Yoga Stories – great way to get in a gross motor activity plus understand more about yoga, one of India’s gifts to the world!

May 112016
 

Easy coconut curd recipe to explore Singapore cooking with kids

The island nation of Singapore is known as a melting pot that is a heaven for foodies young and old.  So to sample some of the amazing Singapore cooking, we decided to try kaya, or coconut curd.  My kids have major sweet tooths (okay, and so do I!) so I thought this would be a fun recipe to try, and manageable during Baby’s nap time.

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Singapore Cooking: Coconut Curd

As in the past, I turned to Global Table Adventure, which has a beautifully done recipe plus background information.  Kaya shows some of the British influence in Singapore, as it is reminiscent of British lemon curd and is often served on toast at tea time.

The ingredients are simple and easy to find in any grocery store.  The only change we made was to substitute coconut sugar, which adds a deeper note as well as that nice rich brown color.  Both of these led my kids to decide it tasted more like chocolate sauce than coconuts!

This coconut curd recipe is an easy way to sample some Singapore cooking with your kids.

Ours didn’t thicken up quite as much as it should have – next time I’ll cook it for longer and/or increase the heat – but it was still delicious.  And while we did enjoy it the traditional way, served on toast, I’m also curious to try it in other ways.  I bet it would taste wonderful mixed in with oatmeal or yogurt!

This easy coconut curd recipe is a delicious way to sample Singapore cooking with your kids

As you enjoy your treat, you can read Singapore Children’s Favorite Stories together – one of the only collections I’ve seen available in the US! (Read a full review).

Another fun pairing is Nuts for Coconuts. Though it doesn’t mention Singapore, it does talk about the many uses of coconuts in countries around the world, including nearby Malaysia and Indonesia. (Read my full review).

How are you exploring with your kids these days?

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Hop 2016 | Alldonemonkey.com

Welcome to our third annual Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series and Giveaway! Follow along all month for ideas about sharing with kids the rich cultures of this vast and varied region. Also, be sure to enter the giveaway below and link up your posts on our main page.

For even more ideas, visit our blog hops from last year and 2014. This post is also part of the Global Learning series from Multicultural Kid Blogs.

May 2
Pint Size Gourmets on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Mixed Ethnicity – The Children to Asian Pacific Islanders

May 3
The Art Curator for Kids: Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple

May 5
Crafty Moms Share: Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook

May 6
Creative World of Varya

May 9
Crafty Moms Share: Malaysian and Singapore Children’s Favourite Stories

May 12
All Done Monkey

May 13
Colours of Us

May 16
Bicultural Mama

May 17
Wise Owl Factory

May 23
Miss Panda Chinese

May 27
Pack-n-Go Girls on Multicultural Kid Blogs

May 30
Crafty Moms Share

Enter Our Giveaway!

If a winner is drawn who is outside of the shipping area of a particular prize, that prize will revert to the next lower prize package or a new winner will be drawn. See our full giveaway rules.

Grand Prize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Giveaway | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Grand Prize

From Tuttle Publishing:
Origami Zoo Kit: includes Book, 40 Papers, 95 Stickers, Zoo Map
Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age

Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 projects & ideas celebrating Chinese culture

From Miss Panda Chinese: Set of three learning units (75 page Chinese Number Unit 0 – 100, 30 page Days of the Week Unit, and 18 page Moon Festival Unit)

From Daria, World Music for Children: Set of pu’ili (Hawaiian rhythm sticks) plus a Make Your Own Pu’ili craft PDF. US Shipping Only

1st Prize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Giveaway | Multicultural Kid Blogs

1st Prize

From Tuttle Publishing:
All about Korea: Stories, songs, crafts, and more
Malaysian Children’s Favourite Stories

From Whole Wide World Toys: World Village Playset China, includes playmat, book, wooden puzzle figures, and story cards. US Shipping Only

Give good luck wishes with a Dumpling Mama lucky envelope. Envelopes have a card inside to write a personal message. Pack of 5 LUCK envelopes are for birthdays, graduations, and baby showers. Pack of 5 HAPPY envelopes are for weddings, engagement, and bridal showers. US/Canada Shipping Only

From Mikaya Press: Tah Majal, a story of love and empire. US Shipping Only

2nd Prize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Giveaway | Multicultural Kid Blogs

2nd Prize

From Gestalten Publishing: The Honey Hunter, a modern day South Asian fable that teaches children to respect and appreciate nature.

From Quarto Group:
Journey Around the World, discover with Playmobil the most marvelous places on earth with this fully illustrated travel journal. US Shipping Only
C is for China, stunning photographic book capturing the rhythms of everyday life in China. US Shipping Only
I is for India, From Bollywood to Peacock, from Namaskar to Tea, this photographic alphabet is a celebration of India in all its vast and colourful diversity. US Shipping Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 082016
 
 April 8, 2016  Geography, History, raising world citizens Comments Off on Phoenician Glass Craft

Fun and easy craft to learn about Phoenician glass making | Alldonemonkey.com

As part of our history studies, we have been studying about the ancient Phoenician way of life, including their beautiful glass making.  (For more ideas on studying the ancient Phoenicians with kids, read about our Lebanon unit study).

We read about how as they made their highly prized glass objects, they would often incorporate colored threads and jewels.  So as a fun craft, we made our own “glass,” decorated with faux jewels.  It was easy and fun, and they were pleased with how they turned out!  It’s also a great activity for building those fine motor skills.

For the glass, we used contact paper.  For the jewels, we used bits of faux jewels we had left over from a long ago craft.  This would also work well with sparkly stickers, especially those ones designed to look like jewels.

Phoenician Glass Craft | Alldonemonkey.com

This may seem like a craft that boys wouldn’t be interested in, but mine loved it.  My three year old kept saying how “boo-tiful” his creation was (and it was!), and my 6 year old kept trying to identify which “gems” we were actually working with.  (“This one is iron. And here’s quartz.  Do we have any rubies?”  Um, no.  We don’t have any rubies in the craft closet).

You Will Need:

Contact paper

Fake jewels

For each child, cut out a rectangle of contact paper, twice the size of what you would like the end product to be.  Remove only half of the backing and let the child make his creation on the exposed contact paper.  Make sure they do not put anything too close to the edge, as you will need room for the edges to seal together.  Once they have finished, remove the remaining backing and very carefully fold this half over their art and press down to seal it in place.  Makes a great a sun catcher!

Phoenician Glass Craft | Alldonemonkey.com

Mar 152016
 

Easter Dessert from Brazil: Paçoca de Amendoim | Alldonemonkey.com

Add a little exotic flavor to your Easter menu this year with this super easy Easter dessert from Brazil!  Paçoca de amendoim is a peanut candy common to the rural areas of the southeastern parts of Brazil, around the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.  Since so many kids have peanut allergies, I’ve made a peanut-free version using almonds instead – still delicious!

Last year we really enjoyed making an Easter bread from Ethiopia, but with a newborn I knew that this year we’d need something much simpler.  There are many different recipes out for paçoca de amendoim, all slightly different, but most use peanuts, sugar, condensed milk, and manioc (cassava) flour.  Traditionally the peanuts were pounded in a mortar, but most cooks today use a food processor. Basically you just throw everything in and mix: I love any recipe that only requires that I push a button!

The toughest thing is getting the consistency right, which is always difficult if, like me, you’ve never tried the real thing.  It should be dry but not too crumbly – just wet enough to come together without turning into a paste.  If yours turns out too wet, try mixing in extra flour or putting it in the refrigerator over night – if you can wait that long!  The best thing, though, is to start too dry and add the condensed milk only a very little bit at a time.

Either way, it will be delicious!  Happy Easter and enjoy!

Easter Dessert from Brazil: Paçoca de Amendoim | Alldonemonkey.com

Easter Dessert from Brazil: Paçoca de Amendoim

Inspired by these two versions: from Cyber Cook and About.com (the latter was one of only English versions I found).

Ingredients:

1 cup of peanuts or almonds

1/2 cup manioc (cassava) flour or coconut flour*

2 T brown sugar (I used coconut sugar)

1 can of sweetened condensed milk (you will not need the entire can)

pinch of salt

*look for manioc flour or manioc starch in international grocery stores.  Ours unfortunately did not have it, so I substituted coconut flour instead.

Add all ingredients except condensed milk to your food processor and grind to desired consistency.  (I did ours into a fine powder, but some prefer to leave slightly larger bits of nuts).  Add the condensed milk just a little bit at a time until the mixture starts to come together.  Press into an 8 x 8 pan or other mold then cut into pieces.

 

Series on Easter around the world

Explore the diverse traditions of Easter around the world with us, and don’t miss our series from last year and this wonderful overview of global Easter traditions. You can also 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 7
Femme au foyer on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Priecīgas Lieldienas: A Latvian Easter

March 8
Crafty Moms Share: Exploring Easter in Australia

March 11
La Cité des Vents: La Procession de la Sanch

March 14
Living Ideas: DIY Indonesian Easter Basket from Recycled Can

March 15
All Done Monkey

March 17
Kids Travel Books

March 21
Kori at Home

March 23
Let the Journey Begin

March 24
Hispanic Mama

Mar 082016
 

Children's Books about Death | Alldonemonkey.com

One of the most difficult tasks a parent has to face is talking to their children about death.  Whatever your beliefs, this is not an easy conversation to have, as it is hard for children to understand abstract concepts, no matter how beautiful, when faced with the very concrete loss of a loved one.  Here are two children’s books about death that have helped me talk to my own kids about this difficult subject.

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

Children’s Books About Death

The New King

In The New King young Prince Rakoto learns that his father has died and one by one commands the royal courtiers to revive him.  When they are unable to meet his demand, the grieving child turns to a wise old woman, who comforts him with a Malagasy folktale.  From this the prince learns that the first humans chose to live their lives like the banana plant, which sends out new shoots so that it would live on through them even after it dies, just as people live on through their children.  Author Doreen Rappaport (who also wrote Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) draws on this beautiful metaphor to create a powerful book that will resonate with children emotionally.

Mema Says Goodbye

A friend introduced me to Mema Says Goodbye, and I’m so glad she did.  It is a wonderful, gentle book about death in terms that young children can understand.  Mema is dying from cancer and so is forced to explain to them why she is leaving and where she will go.  This book is from a Bahá’í perspective but uses terminology and metaphors anyone can relate to.  My favorite is the idea of God as a gardener moving a sick plant to another spot in the divine garden where it can thrive.  The book strikes just the right tone of acknowledging grief while at the same time rising above it to focus on the joy of death and the idea that spiritual relationships outlast the death of the physical body.  It was helpful not just for my kids but for me too when my grandmother passed away recently.

For more ideas on talking to children about death and life after death you can read this guest post from my friend Varya.

How do you approach the subject of death with young children?

Oct 152015
 

Thank you to Frances, my blogging buddy and fellow Multicultural Kid Blogs board member for this wonderful post!  Be sure to check out her blog, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, and read her full bio at the end of this post!

My family and I would love to travel the world, tastes the foods, and learn the culture of different countries. However, traveling abroad is not a possibility right now. Nevertheless, we can learn about a country through its cuisine, and the best way is cooking a typical dish and sharing it with your family. Today, we are learning about Perú.
Perú is a Southern American country,  home to a section of Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city set high in the Andes mountains.
We have taken to the kitchen to discover Perú with a delicious Lomo saltado recipe.  Lomo saltado (beef stir-fry) is a popular, traditional Peruvian dish.  Saltado means like “stir fried”, and when cooking it you have the beef  jump (saltar) in the air. Lomo saltado (beef stir-fry) typically combines marinated strips of sirloin, or other beef steak, with onions, tomatoes, and other ingredients, served with fried potato slices and rice. I found this super, duper easy recipe for the Peruvian Stir-Fry!  Seriously, easy to do!

This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Global Learning for Kids series.

You can also read:

All About Peru

Making a Simple Arpillera with Kids

Culture of Peru – Music and Digital Book from Daria

Enjoy this fun music video! Yaw Yaw Puka Polleracha a children’s song in Quechua (the Native language of the Incas) from Peru.

We really enjoyed our Lomo Saltado, and I served with white rice. Sorry, no potatoes at the time of cooking this delish Peruvian dish!

Buen provecho!

Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes Thanks to Frances for this great post!  Frances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a certification in Human Resources. She blogs about discovering the world through her son’s eyes through everyday events, crafts, books, and travel as she teaches her son how culturally diverse our world is.In addition to her blog, you can also find Frances on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Aug 212015
 
 August 21, 2015  Book Reviews, Iran, multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on Folktales from Iran

Folktales from Iran | Alldonemonkey.com

Folktales are a great way for kids to learn about another culture. They teach about traditional values and ways of life and often include fantastical characters and incredible adventures that highlight life lessons and let kids dream of far-off lands long ago. Below are some of our favorite folktales from Iran.

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

The Legend of the Persian Carpet is a beautiful tale from Tomie dePaola about King Balash, a good-hearted ruler who wants to share with his people the beauty of a very special diamond. But when the diamond is stolen, the king is so heart-broken he can no longer rule, and it is up to a young boy to put into motion a clever plan to bring the diamond’s splendor back to the palace and save the kingdom. This is a sweet story of a creative solution to a difficult problem, and it also lends itself very well to crafts to learn more about the world-famous Persian carpets.

Pea Boy and Other Stories from Iran is a collection of folk tales, including a silly cockroach who learns to be responsible and a humble girl who defeats a monster through her devotion to a childhood love.  One of my favorites is the story of Kayvan the Brave, a “wise fool” who reminded me quite a bit of the German “Brave Little Tailor.”  When Kayvan brags of killing two lions (actually two mice) in a single blow, people are so impressed – and Kayvan manages to stumble into doing such great deeds – that in the end he becomes the Commander-in-Chief of the Shah’s armies!

In a far-off kingdom, a young musician has just one chance to fulfill his dream of playing before the king.  But can he overcome the obstacles created by a jealous rival is determined to stop him?  Inspired by a Persian tale, The Green Musician is a story of patience and determination, brought to life in gorgeous illustrations.

Discover the beauty of a thousand year old tale in The Knight, the Princess, and the Magic Rock.  Found in the legendary Persian “Book of Kings” (Shahnameh), it contains all the elements of a classic folktale – star-crossed lovers, a brave knight, a beautiful princess, magical potions, and heroic deeds.

In Forty Fortunes: A Tale of Iran Ahmed, a simple laborer, is persuaded by his wife to become a fortune teller in order to earn more money.  When, by sheer luck, he finds the lost ring of a rich woman, he is called before the King to find the royal treasure and the forty thieves who have stolen it.  Unfortunately, Ahmed has no talent for divining and thus no way of recovering the treasure.  Can he manage to find a way out of his predicament, or will he be throw into jail?  A beautifully done version of a popular folktale.

The Stone: A Persian Legend of the Magi is a great book to teach children about the connections between religions, in this case Zoroastrianism and Christianity. The Stone is the Persian legend – as told to Marco Polo – of the three Magi who brought gifts to Jesus and the mysterious gift they received in return. (Find more resources to teach kids about Zoroastrianism).

The King and the Three Thieves: A Persian Tale is an intriguing tale of a good king who wants to know the common people.  He dresses as a beggar one night and befriends three strangers – who turn out to be thieves intent on robbing the king!  Can the king stop the plot, and how will the thieves react when they discover his true identity?  A lesson in wisdom and learning to keep your word, even if you are a king.

Global Learning for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of the Global Learning series, where each month we focus on a different country. This month we are learning about Iran, so be sure to check out the main page for more great ideas for sharing about Iran with kids!

Also, don’t miss our blog series and giveaway for Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month, going through the end of August!

Aug 132015
 

Zoroastrianism for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

This month for the Global Learning for Kids series from Multicultural Kid Blogs we are focusing on Iran, a country very dear to my heart!  Last year for the World Cup for Kids project, we were on Team Iran, publishing several posts on this beautiful country, including children’s books about Iran, Persian-inspired summer treats, and a lesson in Iranian geology using play dough!

So this year I thought we’d take a different perspective by focusing on Iran’s contribution to the world’s spiritual heritage; specifically I was curious to learn more about Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.

Zoroastrianism for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Zarathustra, known to the Greeks as Zoroaster. Source: http://omnionica.wikispaces.com/Zoroaster

The principal religion on ancient Persia (modern-day Iran), it was founded in more than 3000 years ago by the Prophet Zarathustra, known to the Greeks as Zoroaster.  (Estimates of the dates vary greatly).  Zoroastrianism emphasizes the battle between good and evil in the world.  Each individual is believed to have the free will to choose between these two forces.  Contrary to popular belief, Zoroastrians do not worship fire; rather, it is a sacred symbol of purification.

Zoroastrianism for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Central fire at Zoroastrian shrine near Baku
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apothecary/5921216114/

Though their numbers are relatively small today, Zoroastrian communities are thriving, and their influence on world history is significant.  Several of the great empire builders of Persia were Zoroastrians, and it is believed that the Magi from the Christian nativity were Zoroastrians as well.  Many scholars argue that Zoroastrianism had a substantial influence on the development of later monotheistic religions, namely Judaism and Christianity.

Zoroastrianism for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Faravahar, symbol of Zoroastrianism. Source: Walter S. Arnold, http://stonecarver.com/

Below are some of my favorite resources on Zoroastrianism for kids, including a video, websites, books, and even a comic!

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

Zoroastrianism for Kids

This video is one of the only ones on Zoroastrianism I found aimed at young kids.  It is a cute, animated, and short, covering all the basics of the religion.

For a great, hands-on activity, try this simple sacred fire jar craft from Highhill Education (a really great homeschool blog with very creative activities for kids!)

The Stone: A Persian Legend of the Magi would be a particularly interesting choice for those coming from a Christian background.  It is based on tales told to Marco Polo of the Persian legend of the Magi, the three wise men who paid homage to Jesus soon after His birth.  Told from the perspective of the Magi, it focuses on their journey to see Jesus and the mysterious gift they receive in return.

Zoroastrian Kids Korner is a fun site aimed at kids.  It includes stories, crafts, and games, though the latter require previous knowledge of the religion in order to play.  The author of the site has also published a book of prayers for children, My Little Book of Zoroastrian Prayers: With Some Fun Activities.  Aimed at children 9-12, it includes simple prayers from the Avesta, as well as activities and basic concepts.

Another site for kids is Zoroastrian Kids Place.  It includes facts, stories, prayers, and a look at the animals of the Avesta!

A good reference book for older children is Zoroastrianism (World Religions (Facts on File)). It is part of a series of books for kids on world religions.

And finally, I was so happy to discover a comic about the life of Zoroaster! Zarathushtra is based on the traditional account of the Prophet’s life, told in a way that children will find very engaging.

 

Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month | Multicultural Kid Blogs
This post is part of the Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Blog Series and Giveaway. Please visit our landing page for the full schedule and to link up any of your posts on sharing Middle Eastern and North African heritage with kids. And don’t forget to enter our giveaway below!

Giveaway

Our giveaway runs through the month of August, so enter below for a chance to win! Some prizes have shipping restrictions. If the winner is outside of the shipping area of one of the prizes, that prize will then be included in the next prize package. (See our full giveaway rules).

Grand Prize

Middle Eastern and Northern African Heritage Month Giveaway | Multicultural Kid Blogs

From Tuttle Publishing, The Complete Middle East Cookbook: Traditional recipes with clear instructions for the modern cook

From Medina Publishing, Discovering Islamic Art: A generously illustrated child’s guide to Islamic art, complete with activity sheets

From A Crafty Arab, Arabic Animal Alphabet Poster: Beautiful artwork with unique designs to teach Arabic letters

From Wisdom Tales Press, The Olive Tree (US shipping only): A beautiful tale of friendship set in Lebanon

1st Prize

Middle Eastern and Northern African Heritage Month Giveaway | Multicultural Kid Blogs

From Tuttle Publishing, An Edible Mosaic: A cookbook of favorite Middle Eastern recipes

From Wisdom Tales Press, The Compassionate Warrior: Abd el-Kader of Algeria (US shipping only): Fascinating biography of Emir Abdel Kader, heroic 19th century leader and a pioneer in interfaith dialogue

From Wisdom Tales Press, The Green Musician (US shipping only): A magical story of patience and determination, adapted from the original Persian tale

From GeoToys, Geo Puzzle Africa and the Middle East (US contiguous states shipping only): Jumbo sized puzzle for ages 4 and up

2nd Prize

Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month Series and Giveaway | Multicultural Kid Blogs

From Chicago Review Press, Kid’s Guide to Arab American History (US shipping only): Award-winning guide to the diversity of Arab American experience, with fun extension activities and biographies of famous Arab Americans

From Wisdom Tales Press, The Knight, the Princess & the Magic Rock (US shipping only): A retelling of a legendary Persian tale of heroism and love.

From Salaam Designs, 4 piece Holiday Cookie Cutter set (US shipping only): boxed set: Boxed set perfect for Ramadan and Eid includes Crescent, Star, Ramadan lantern (Fanoos), & Mosque.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jul 282015
 
 July 28, 2015  Education, Global Learning for Kids Comments Off on Lebanon Unit Study

Lebanon Unit Study | Alldonemonkey.com

This month (while taking plenty of time off for summer break) we have been focusing on Lebanon, as part of our world cultures homeschool curriculum. It is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture that are definitely worth exploring! Below is an outline of our unit study:

Lebanon Unit Study

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

Our main text, referred to a number of times below, was Lebanon (Enchantment of the World, Second). This is part of a wonderful series of country profiles from Scholastic books, which give very comprehensive overviews of countries around the world.

Culture

Gross Motor: I had Monkey do body spelling for the word “Lebanon.”  This was the first time I had tried this, and he had so much fun that we ended up going through the whole alphabet!

Map Skills and Fine Motor: Monkey has gotten frustrated with having to draw maps of the countries, so this time I instead made a connect the dot map for him to complete. We also looked at what countries bordered Lebanon and where it is situated in relation to other countries we have studied.

Language Arts: We are going to learn a few basic words in Lebanese Arabic, plus practice fine motor skills with this Arabic calligraphy craft.

Recipes: Cooking with kids is a great way to learn about another culture! Here are the two recipes we picked to try:

Lebanon Unit Study | Alldonemonkey.com

Hummus, from Cooking the Lebanese Way

Ma’amoul cookies from Marie’s Pastiche: Though traditionally made for Easter, they look so delicious we decided to make them in July!

Music: During breaks I also put on some Lebanese music for the kids to listen to. I really enjoyed the classical music, while the kids liked the very danceable pop music. (That is, when I was able to get them to listen to anything other than the Imperial March from Star Wars).  As with pop music anywhere, the videos may not be appropriate for children. Either screen them carefully ahead of time or do what I did: forget the videos altogether and just pipe them through your speakers. Since none of us speak Arabic, I didn’t even have to worry about the lyrics!

Cedar Trees

Ecology: The cedar tree is the quintessential symbol of Lebanon, because of its importance to the country’s history and current sense of national pride. We started off by reading about them from our Lebanon (Enchantment of the World), including recent conservation efforts.

Lebanon Unit Study | Alldonemonkey.com

Fine Motor: Monkey isn’t really into crafting much these days, so even though the Lebanese flag, with its beautiful cedar tree, would lend itself very well to a craft, instead I decided to sneak in more fine motor practice by making a connect the dots version for him to complete.

This video from CNN gives a great overview about the importance of the cedar tree in Lebanon as well as the threats it faces today.

To get a sense of the importance of cedars to the history of Lebanon, we read the Bible story of the building of Solomon’s Temple (which used cedar trees) as well as the related section from Lebanon (Enchantment of the World). As the cedar trees were also important in ship-building, this led naturally into our study of the Phoenicians (see below).

We also talked about the need for conservation to help protect the cedar trees, which have faced deforestation as well as damage from the recent civil war.

Phoenicians

There is great information about the Phoenicians in Lebanon (Enchantment of the World), including their history and contribution as traders and linguists.

Language Arts and Fine Motor practice: Did you know that our word “phonics” comes from “Phoenician”? It is thanks to them that we write with a modern alphabet as opposed to still working with complex hieroglyphics. As the Phoenicians were writing this revolutionary alphabet with styluses on clay tablets, we pulled out our play dough and plastic knives to give it a try, copying images of the alphabet we found online. It turns out that the play dough was rather soft, making it hard to make the letters, but I was proud of Monkey for persisting until he figured out how much pressure to use to make the prints he wanted.

Arts and Crafts, Math and Logic: One of the most fun activities we did was to make boats and play this trading game from Creekside Learning. While they did one boat big enough for their kids to climb in, I opted for these juice carton boats from Saving Said Simply. They turned out really cute, and the boys love playing with them!

The trading game was fun as well and got Monkey thinking about what things would have been like before money, when everything had to be negotiated. (“Imagine your brother has R2D2 and a battleship. If you wanted to trade with him, you couldn’t just offer a battle droid, it would have to be something he really wanted…”). It also led to practical questions, like why they didn’t trade for food (they probably did, but just for the short-term, since there weren’t refrigerators, and traveling by ship took a long time).

Olives and Olive Trees

Ecology, Gross Motor: Olive trees are also important to Lebanon, as they are throughout this region. We’ll be sampling some olives, plus we learned a bit about how olive oil is made. After watching this video, we had SO MUCH FUN with a gross motor activity, where I had the boys pretend to be olives being made into olive oil (grow into a tree, fall to the ground…).

Language Arts: We re-read one of our favorite books, The Olive Tree. We discussed what Sameer’s family used the olive tree for, as well as what the tree symbolized for the families. This book is a wonderful way of showing the practical uses but also emotional attachments people can have to the natural world. (For more on this great book, read my full review, included in this book list).

Lebanon Unit Study | Alldonemonkey.com

I picked out several words from the book to focus on, and we did vocabulary charades (where he acted out the meanings) and drawings (where he drew pictures about them).

We also talked about the olive tree as a symbol of peace by reading the Bible story of Noah’s ark and discussing how trees can symbolize peace because they are a sign of new life and because they need a peaceful environment to flourish.

War and Peace

Peace is our virtue of the month, and it ties in perfectly to this unit, considering Lebanon’s troubled past. One beautiful book to discuss the war in Lebanon is Sami and the Time of the Troubles. It gives a view of war from a child’s point of view, such as the days where they must stay in the basement instead of playing outside. However, use care when reading these with your children, as it may not be appropriate for young or sensitive children, especially as it mentions early on that Sami’s father was killed by a bomb planted at a market. In the end I decided not to share this book with my sensitive 5 year old, though it may be something we come back to when he is older.

Instead we talked more generally about the war and how people have been working to come together and heal their country in the years since. The Olive Tree is a really excellent book to share, as it mentions the war but leaves up to the adult how much detail to fill in. Also, I love that it focuses on children forming new friendships and learning to work together.

We will also do this Olive Tree Peace Craft from Marie’s Pastiche, which draws on the symbolism of the olive tree to encourage children to be peacemakers through acts of kindness and cooperation.

Global Learning for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of our new series Global Learning for Kids. Each month we will feature a country and host a link party to collect all the various posts people 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 Lebanon, so link up below any old or new posts designed to teach kids on Lebanon–crafts, books, lessons, recipes, music, and more!


Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial