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