Jun 192017

Looking for a fun, relatively healthy dessert your whole family will enjoy? Here is a dairy-free version of a traditional Indian treat for Eid, sheer khurma. It is a unique vegan dessert that is easy to make and delicious!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book 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.

Easy Vegan Dessert for Eid Your Family Will Love | Alldonemonkey.com

Let me begin by saying that this is NOT a traditional Indian dessert. It is my own reworking of sheer khurma, a dessert that usually has a milk base, because I wanted a version I could serve to my son with a milk allergy. If you search for “vegan sheer khurma” or “dairy-free sheer khurma” online, you are unlikely to find any real results. In the original Persian, sheer khurma literally means “dates with milk,” so not a recipe you would think of making without the milk!

But when we read Let’s Celebrate Ramadan & Eid! (see my review below), we became curious about this traditional dessert mentioned several times as a delicious treat for Eid. When I discovered it was made with milk, I decided I had to make a non-dairy version, a vegan dessert we could all enjoy. It may not be traditional, but it is still delicious! And it is so different from the desserts that we’re used to that it did give us a flavor of what celebrating Eid would be like in places like India.

I just love the creaminess of sheer khurma, combined with the crunch of the roasted nuts. And the cooked dates add even more body as well as natural sweetness. I must admit for my kids at first it was hard to get past the idea of having pasta in a dessert, but once they tried it, they loved it!

Related Post: Eid Books for Kids

Easy Vegan Dessert for Eid Your Family Will Love

Sheer khurma (or sheer khorma) is a traditional dessert served for Eid, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. I adapted my recipe from this version from the Veggie Indian. The main change I made was to substitute coconut milk for regular milk and coconut oil for ghee. I also reduced the amount of sugar from 1 & 1/4 cups to 1/3 cup, since it already has a lot of natural sweetness from the dates.


4 cups of full fat coconut milk (this is slightly more than 2 cans)

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup vermicelli, broken into 2 inch pieces

3/4 cup mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc) chopped fine or crushed with mortar and pestle

1/2 cup dates, seeded and chopped (about 8-10 dates)

Golden raisins, handful

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 to 1 tsp rose water

Extra nuts for garnish (I used sliced almonds)

Heat a tbsp of coconut oil in a skillet, and roast the vermicelli on a low flame till golden. Set aside to drain on a paper towel. In the same skillet, heat a tbsp of the coconut oil and roast the mixed nuts for 1-2 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat and keep aside.

Easy Vegan Dessert for Eid Your Family Will Love | Alldonemonkey.com

Heat coconut milk in a sauce pan and let it come to a boil. Lower the flame and let simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the milk thickens slightly.

Add the roasted vermicelli, and let it cook in the coconut milk for 5-7 minutes, until the pasta becomes soft.

Add the sugar, nuts, dates, and raisins and mix well. Continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes, until the dates grow soft and the amount of coconut milk reduces by nearly half. The vermicelli should be fully cooked.

Easy Vegan Dessert for Eid Your Family Will Love | Alldonemonkey.com

Adjust the sweetness and consistency, if needed, by adding more sugar or coconut milk. Keep in mind that the mixture will thicken even more with time.

Finally, add the cardamom powder and rosewater, stir, and remove from heat.

If desired, garnish with additional nuts and serve warm. Enjoy!

Easy Vegan Dessert for Eid Your Family Will Love | Alldonemonkey.com

Learning About Eid

Related Post: Ramadan Lesson Plan for Kids

In addition to sampling a tasty vegan dessert inspired by a traditional treat, I also wanted to teach the kids more about Eid and Ramadan. A great way to introduce them to this special time is with the wonderful new book Let’s Celebrate Ramadan & Eid! (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series, Book 4). It is part of a series of books exploring Indian culture. What is surprising to most Westerners is that there is a large number of Muslims in India, though we tend to associate that country with Hinduism or Sikhism.

Let’s Celebrate Ramadan & Eid! (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series, Book 4) gives an easy to understand overview of Ramadan and Eid as it is celebrated in India, in addition to highlighting traditions from other countries. One thing I love about this book is that it shows children at different stages in their participation in Ramadan, from an older child who is practicing fasting to younger children who give up toys or sweets in lieu of fasting. This book is perfect for the classroom or home setting, as a way to help children understand why Muslims observe Ramadan and Eid and what it would be like as a child to experience them (such as by eating sheer khurma!).

What is your favorite vegan dessert?

Eid for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of the Eid for Kids blog hop from Multicultural Kid Blogs. Read all of the articles below for ideas on celebrating Eid with kids, and don’t miss our blog hop from last year!

Participating Blogs

Babelkid on Multicultural Kid Blogs: How to Celebrate Eid in Switzerland the Algerian Way
A Crafty Arab: Eid Baked Rocks {Tutorial}
Jeddah Mom: Free Printable Eid Envelopes to Gift Your Eidi
Middle Way Mom: 4 Ways to Simplify Your Eid
All Done Monkey: Vegan Dessert for Eid
Our Muslim Homeschool: Children’s Eid Party Ideas

Find even more ideas on our Eid for Kids board on Pinterest:

Mar 102017

I am fascinated by the Hindu celebration Holi, the one you see the amazing photographs of each year, with people showering each other with vibrantly colored powders or colored water. But to be honest, beyond the sense of it as a joyous, lively festival, I really didn’t know much about it. Well, dear reader, for you I have decided to go deeper and find out more: Here is why now I’m convinced everyone should learn about Holi!

5 Reasons Everyone Should Learn About Holi | Alldonemonkey.com

Photo by Raghuvanshidude (Holi) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I received a copy of Let’s Celebrate Holi 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 cost to you.

Related Post: India for Kids – Favorite Resources for Elementary Students

Why Everyone Should Learn About Holi

1. It is incredibly fun.

Holi is one of the most fun celebrations I have heard of! The most famous aspect of Holi is how celebrants throw colored powder on each other and spray everyone with colored water, until everyone and everything is covered with beautiful, bright colors. Talk about fun, especially for kids who are always told to be careful not to spill or get their clothes dirty! (Find out how to make your own homemade colored powders).

2. It celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

No matter what your religion or philosophy, the battle of good and evil is a classic struggle where we all can support the same side! Sharing the story of Holi is a great way to teach children that when it comes down to it, all people believe in the same basic principles.

3. It is celebrated throughout India and around the world.

Holi is not only celebrated in one of the world’s most populous countries, it has also become popular in other countries as well, in part due to immigration but also because it is such a fun festival (see #1!)

4. The food is spectacular.

As with so many holidays, Holi is a time of eating special foods, like the gujia pastry or the refreshing spiced milk drink thandai (you can also make a dairy-free version).

5. Your kids will think you are the coolest parent ever.

Getting messy, throwing water and powder on each other, eating great food, and hearing stories that excite the imagination: no doubt about it, if you help your kids learn about Holi, they will think you are awesome! 

Related Post: Holi Crafts and Activities for Kids

Convinced? Then I have the perfect guide to teach you and your kids all about Holi! You may remember the series I have reviewed previously about Maya and Neel, the brother and sister who introduce children to Indian culture. They taught about Mumbai in Let’s Visit Mumbai! and the holiday Diwali in Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! (see my reviews here and here). In their latest adventure, Let’s Celebrate Holi!, Maya and Neel help children learn about Holi through traditional foods and activities. I love that the book also highlights regional variations in how Holi is celebrated, with colorful illustrations and maps.

I also appreciated reading the story behind Holi, something I had never really understood before. After all, what does throwing powder on each other have to do with the triumph of good over evil? Find out, plus discover what it has to do with the bonfires during Holi!

As with the other volumes in this series, the illustrations are beautiful and engaging, and young readers can easily relate to these siblings as they learn about Holi and Indian culture, as seen through the eyes of children. If you are looking to introduce your child to this festival or want a story to share in your classroom, I highly recommend Let’s Celebrate Holi!!

Feb 202017
 February 20, 2017  activities, Education, multiculturalism, Purim, raising world citizens Comments Off on Free Purim Printables

Purim is coming, and I have gathered together the best FREE Purim printables out there! They are guaranteed fun for you and your kids, as part of your celebrations of this fun holiday. From masks and puppets to coloring pages and activities, there is something for everyone!

Free Purim Printables | Alldonemonkey.com

Free Purim Printables

From Moms & Crafters: Free Printable Labels

From Moms & Crafters: Color-In Masks for Grownups and Kids

From Alpha Mom: Printable Masks

From Chai & Home: Paper Crown

From Ann D. Koffsky: Puppets to Color

From Tori Avey: Finger Puppets

From Kosher on a Budget: 10 Free Coloring Pages

From Dena Ackerman: Purim Coloring Pages

From To the Moon & Back: E Is for Esther Templates and Activities

From Our Jewish Homeschool Blog: Activity Pack

How are you celebrating this year?


Purim for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of our annual Purim for Kids blog hop. Visit the posts below for great ideas about sharing this holiday with the kids in your life! Don’t miss our blog hop from last year, and you can find even more ideas on our Purim board on Pinterest:

Participating Blogs

ZinnHouse.com on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Interfaith Purim Plus: A Wide Approach to Spring Holidays
Moms & Crafters: Free Color-in Purim Puppets
Kelly’s Classroom: Better-than-Best Purim
Melibelle in Tokyo: From Shushan with Love
All Done Monkey: Free Purim Printables

Feb 102017
 February 10, 2017  Book Reviews, multiculturalism Comments Off on Top Books for Global Families: Multicultural Kid Blogs

Are you a globally minded parent looking for a great book to read? I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to review several top books for global families recently, and I’m so pleased to share my reviews today over on Multicultural Kid Blogs. It is a diverse collection of books, with topics ranging from intercultural relationships and raising bilingual children to how to make globally inspired baby food. You’ll also find tips for traveling with kids in Europe and the memoir of a globe-trotting mom of two as well as a collection of essays by women who have given birth abroad.

So whether you are drawn to travel, cooking, memoirs, education, or relationship how-to’s, you will find something for you! Find my full reviews over on Multicultural Kid Blogs, and let me know in the comments what books you’ve been reading lately!

Top Books for Global Families | Alldonemonkey on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Top Books for Global Families: Guest Post on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Jan 272017

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day by sharing your favorite multicultural books for kids in the comments or in the HUGE linky below!

Why We Need Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Now more than ever we need to raise children who not only tolerate but celebrate diversity. Reading diverse books together is one of the easiest and most fun ways to share the world with children, which is why we are so happy to be a sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

We have had the pleasure of participating in this important annual event since its inception, with reviews of amazing books, from Native American folklore, books to teach geography and critical thinkingmiddle grade fiction about a Mayan goddess, and bilingual board books.

For more information about the inspiration behind MCCBD, read my interview with its founders,

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that. This event has also proven to be an excellent way to compile a list of diverse children’s book titles and reviews for parents, grandparents, educators and librarians to use all year long.

Current Sponsors: 

MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Booksand Pomello Books
Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawMaria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah StevensonAndrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Important Links

MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with is on social media and be sure and look for/use their official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.


Jan 232017
 January 23, 2017  activities, crafts, multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on Organize a Multicultural Kids Event in Five Easy Steps

Thank you to Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes for this post on how to organize a multicultural kids event in 5 easy steps!

Living in large cities provides ample opportunities to attend a variety of multicultural events. However, living in small towns, not so much. Which in turn has motivated me many times to organize a multicultural kids event at our local library or in our home.

My motto is when you lack opportunities you create them, and that’s exactly what I did!

To clarify, I started doing my events at home with my son’s friends, and then I moved on to facilitating events at our local library.

Image Source
Now, let’s get started!

Organize a Multicultural Kids Event in Five Easy Steps

  1. Determine your budget. If your event is being sponsored (see #4), you don’t have to incur any expenses.
  2. Determine what type of event you will be hosting. Here are some examples that I have done:
  3. Set the time and date.
  4. Decide where you want the event to be held:
    • Recreational center (there is usually a fee for this)
    • Your home (no fee)
      • You will have to consider available space in your home, and  how many kids you’ll be inviting.
    • Library rooms.  You can book a library conference room for free.
      • Contact the library and pitch them your idea.  I met with the director and event coordinator with my event proposal.  They accepted and sponsored my activity.
  5. Determine what type of activities you will have:
    • Story time with a book that goes with the event’s theme.
    • A facilitator.
    • Music
    • Crafts
    • Games Around the World
      • Determine what type of games you’ll be playing.
    • Food
      • Will you be serving food? Some places like the library don’t allow you to bring food or drinks.  However, if they sponsoring, they will probably allow it.  Be sure to ask, since this depends on the library.
If all of this is still a bit too much for you just organize a multicultural kids event at your child’s school! Talk to your child’s teacher and just to do it for the classroom.
Image Source

Organizing a multicultural kids event may seem like a daunting task, but once you get it rolling you’ll be so glad you did.

Last but not least, have fun, and enjoy your event!  If I can do it so can you.

Hispanic Heritage Month Community Event at our local library. Little one is always my helper.  He gets up there and participates by reading and helping me.

For more ideas on raising a global citizen take a look at Multicultural Kid Blogs Pinterest page.

About the Author

francesFrances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia.  Shortly before her child turned 4 yrs. old she started blogging about discovering the world through her son’s eyes, hence the name of her blog. She love doing things with her son, and became passionate about teaching him to be bilingual, and to identify with his multicultural identity. She writes about heritage, bilingualism, multicultural children’s book and global culture education with lots of hands-on activities and language learning ideas for kids.

She can be found musing at her blog Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes or on Instagram her new fave social media platform.   You can also follow her on TwitterFacebook  and Google+.

Dec 282016
 December 28, 2016  Book Reviews, character building for kids, multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on Tales of Heroic Journeys

We all want our children to soar, to go on brave adventures to help others and achieve their dreams. From stunning picture books to a magical middle grade novel, here is a collection of wonderful tales that encourage children to do just that: to have courage and embark on their own heroic journeys.

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 cost to you.

Tales of Heroic Journeys | Alldonemonkey.com

Tales of Heroic Journeys

Introduce children to a classic Japanese fairy tale with the beautiful The Last Kappa of Old Japan: A Magical Journey of Two Friends. The story begins, as many do, with an unexpected friendship of two children and their subsequent adventures. But while one of the children is a typical boy from the Japanese countryside in the days before the encroachment of the modern world, the other is not human at all. Rather, he is a kappa, a mythical water creature known to be playful – and to love cucumbers! Despite their differences, the boys become close friends; yet, as modernization begins to pollute the nearby waters, the kappa and his family are forced to leave. The boys only come into contact again years later, when the kappa returns to help his old friend – now a man – avoid a tragedy. They are delighted to be together again, but now, thanks to increasing pollution, the kappa is old and weak. A cautionary tale about protecting the environment, and having the courage to help our friends despite the danger to ourselves. (As a side note, the myth of the kappa is actually the origin of our modern story of mutant ninja turtles!)

I love the endearing illustrations of the two boys and the changing landscape of the countryside. And even though I don’t know any Japanese, I love having this bilingual Japanese-English edition because it is such a wonderful way to expose children to another language and way of writing!

Related Post: Global Adventure Books for Kids

Bessie, Queen of the Sky

Image courtesy of Queen Girls

I am so delighted to introduce the soon to be released Bessie, Queen of the Sky from Queen Girls. This remarkable new publishing company speaks to the hearts of so many parents who want inspiring stories for their daughters (and sons!) of remarkable women. The creators have taken stories from real life and turned them into fairy tales that will attract young readers. (Note: the heroines of these stories are queens, not princesses!) The poetic writing and and whimsical illustrations do have that magical quality of fairy tales, drawing the reader into a story about a character – the first African American female pilot – who is both larger than life and infinitely relatable.

I have a personal connection to the story of Bessie Coleman. She was from the same small town in Texas as my grandparents, though she had already left by the time they were born. When I think of how hard it was for my grandfather, a white male, to escape the poverty and depression of a sharecropper’s life there, the story of a young black woman making an even more incredible journey outward and upward is simply astonishing. I am so pleased to see this story given the attention it is due and happy to support the mission of Queen Girls to bring more such stories to light. Visit the Kickstarter page to order Bessie, Queen of the Sky and learn more about this remarkable company! (One copy of the book is donated to at risk girls for every copy that is purchased!)

Related Post: Biographies for Kids about Following Your Dreams

Imagine that the tragedies of history could somehow be redeemed, that not all of the slaves lost in the cataclysmic Atlantic crossings actually died, that not all of the “boat people” supposedly drowned while escaping the chaos of post-war Vietnam were really dead, but that they had somehow slipped through a portal into another world. In the wonderful new middle grade novel A Crack in the Sea readers can imagine a Second World where some of the First World’s victims find refuge and rebuild an ideal society on a string of islands and a man-made floating “Raft World.” Yet always among some there is a yearning to return “home” and a selfish desire to do whatever it takes to get there.

The young protagonists of the story must discover how to stop the plot and save the people of Raft World while at the same time understanding how to make use of their supernatural gifts – or their lack of them. As they journey to find safety for their families, they must contend with the ruthlessness of slavers, disease, pirates, storms, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. But the real journey is an emotional one, as they all struggle to find their place in this world (or another) and discover the depths of their own courage and what they are willing to fight – and die – for.

For more book recommendations, be sure to visit my Books for Kids board on Pinterest!

Nov 172016

One of the greatest blessings I have had as a mother is that I am lucky enough to have a multicultural moms group (MuM) in my area. As a mom trying to raise children that appreciate diversity, it has been a tremendous source of support for me, both on a practical level and on a personal one. Through the group I have been able to expose my children to other cultures in a fun and educational way, plus I have had the pleasure of meeting other moms from around the world, who have similar struggles and concerns – and who know how to have fun!

How to Start a Multicultural Moms Group | Alldonemonkey.com

Today I’m happy to share an interview I did recently with the founder of our multicultural moms group – an amazingly energetic and creative woman with an incredible vision and a big heart who I’m proud to say is also a close friend. Here is Corina’s story about why and how she started MuM, plus some resources you can use in your own group!

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the Diversity Calendar and Games Around the World for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Starting a Multicultural Moms Group

What inspired you to start MuM?

As you know, becoming a mother can be quite a dramatic shake up to your life. But, becoming a mother in a country other than my country of birth could not be more challenging.

Suddenly, I found myself immersed in a deep, constant battle not only about what to do with my little baby, and how to do it, but lacking of familiar resources and trying hard to find substitutes to motherhood practices similar to those of my country of origin.

It might sound strange to you, but even the concept of “mother’s support group” was totally new for me. Still, I tried to join some moms groups. But I still couldn’t just fully relax in the motherhood system that I had seen so far, thinking: “My kids speak more than one language, they enjoy my ethnic food, they have been exposed to different cultures already!”

So, OK, let’s do this, let me go to the NEXT level, I thought! And MuM was born. My darling husband offered to guide me and support me investing time and all type of resources, to help me start my own multicultural moms group. We were both confident that soon God would bring me wonderful friends, who shared my same interests.

Our children stand proud, confident and secure.
For them, our multicultural heritage is a plus!
-MuM’s motto

What makes MuM different from other moms groups?

Here are just a few amazing points:
• We are a group of international mothers.
• Most of our kids know at least two languages.
• Our kids are very familiar with world maps and geography. Many travel a lot.
• Our kids love, experience and LEARN from our cultural activities. For example, on a visit to the zoo, my daughter says: “Mum, look that elephant. Look how huge it is! I can see why in India people love this animal so much!”
• Another very important difference is that I have seen and felt mums’ excitement and pride to host a MuM event. It’s just beautiful!

What response do you get from moms when they discover your group?

Grateful smiles, loving hugs, and lots of new ethnic dishes to taste! :o)

What tips do you have for moms wanting to start a similar group in their town?

First that all, to whoever wishes to create a group like this, thank you for thinking about foreigners and diversity around you.

Second, befriend someone from a different culture, and invite them over your home, and share your culture with that person.

So, after this, if you liked the experience and would love to start your own group, let me tell you, you are not alone anymore: MuM is already here, and I am ready to help you set up your own group, in your location. You can contact me directly at allwcrhett [at] yahoo [dot] com, and/or multiculturalmothers [at] yahoo [dot] com and I will love to help you step by step, forming your own MuM group, and walk with you from the birth to the future of our MuM groups.

Thank you to Corina for taking the time to answer my questions and for providing such an inspiring example of supporting diversity in the community through MuM, a multicultural moms group!


One of the best things about MuM are the parties, um, I mean, the educational events! All kidding aside, we do try to keep things fun for the kids, but you’d be amazed at how much they will learn even as they are having fun at cultural events! MuM hosts many events to learn about specific cultures and to celebrate holidays together. Here are some great resources you can use as you plan your own events.

Diversity Calendar

Diversity Calendar

The Diversity Calendar of Multicultural Holidays is a must have! It has 285 holidays, including not just the holidays from the world’s major religions, but also fun days like Elephant Appreciation Day and International Friendship Day. It is so incredibly comprehensive. As a member of a minority religion, I can’t tell you how nice it is to have our holidays included, something you don’t usually find!

This makes it so easy to plan ahead so you don’t miss a major cultural event – or a fun minor one, either! You can use it to create your own events, look for festivals in your area, and acknowledge the special days of your members. This is also a wonderful resource for teachers and homeschoolers as you plan your school calendar!

Please note that this is specific to the 2016-2017 year, meaning that all of the dates have been updated, so you don’t have to try to figure out when Chinese New Year will be this year, or whether Easter is before or after spring break. All that work has been done for you!

You’ll find:

  • multicultural and ethnic festivals
  • religious holy days from all major religions
  • environmental days to celebrate and honor our planet
  • United Nations International Days such as “Global Youth Service Day
  • fun holidays that celebrate friendship, empathy, and kindness.

Find the Diversity Calendar of Multicultural Holidays for 2016-2017 on TeachersPayTeachers!

Games Around the World

Games Around the World

When I learned of the Games Around the World pack, I thought to myself, What a neat idea! But I seriously underestimated how amazing it is.

  • It has so much! 35 games from 23 countries (!)
  • It is so practical: The summary table lays out exactly what materials you’ll need for each game, whether it’s best played indoors or outdoors, and how many players are needed, so it’s easy to scan and see what is best for your classroom or event.
  • It is helps kids make global connections: Students get their own copy of a map to track which countries they have learned about through the games.
  • It teaches skills: Some of the games reinforce fine motor skills, others gross motor skills, and you can even learn some Spanish vocabulary!
  • It has so much variety: There are table games (with printable cards or board included), hand games, outdoor games, and much more, including extension activities. There is something to fit every situation and group of kids!

Games Around the World

Find the Games Around the World Pack on TeachersPayTeachers.

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!

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.

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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!

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