It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.
This time we travel to Mongolia, and while we do have a dish to share with you soon, I first wanted to write about our Mongolia craft, building a model ger.
A ger is the traditional dwelling of the mostly nomadic people of Mongolia. They are common not just in Mongolia but throughout the region (my sister stayed in one in China), and so are more often known by their Russian name, yurt. You can watch this video to watch an actual ger being built and see how they are used.
Talking about the ger with Monkey was a good way to get him thinking about nomadic life. First we talked about why moving around frequently would be a good strategy for life on the harsh steppe, where families must move often to find food for their animals. We then talked about why it would be good to have a house that you could pack and set up again easily. I could really see the wheels turning in his brain as we talked – even if it did turn out he was applying these principle to space ships. Hey, that is a great application, when you think about it!
Finally, I made our learning more hands on, so he would really remember the lesson and have fun with it. First he drew a ger (though of course it had to be caught up in a natural disaster).
Then we made a model ger out of pipe cleaners and felt. The lattice in a real ger is wooden, but on the scale we were making it, I wasn’t sure that popsicle sticks or toothpicks would work. Plus they would take forever to glue! Instead I opted to make the lattice out of pipe cleaners.
It was much easier to do, and it held together well, but it was harder to get the sizes to match – and of course it wasn’t nearly as strong. Still, I was aiming more for speed and ease, so it was a good choice.
Starting to build our ger (yurt). Monkey says he’s working on the door, but I think he’s just cutting things up! #Mongolia #mkbkids #momsoninstagram #kbn A photo posted by Leanna Alldonemonkey (@alldonemonkey) on
For the roof, I made a cone out of poster paper and let Monkey decorate. We used red and blue, since those are the colors of the Mongolian flag. Finally, I wrapped the walls in yellow felt, which nicely showed just how uneven the walls were! In any case, by this time I was losing my audience, so we skipped making a door. (He was supposed to have made it while I was working on the lattice but inexplicably ended up cutting up straws instead).
Almost immediately after, Little Monkey grabbed hold of the ger, crying, “Hat! Hat!” And so it has passed into their playthings not as a home, as I had envisioned, but as some sort of a helmet. I will just pretend it is a Mongolian helmet and hope our dish fares better…
Check out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up: Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks. If you try a dish from Mongolia, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs: