I was in junior high when former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda were put on trial. As we discussed the situation in my social studies class, my main impression (other than all of those shoes!) was wondering why so many people in this Asian country had Spanish names! Over the years I have had a number of Filipino friends and was always fascinated by the Philippines’ unique blend of cultures but never had the opportunity to learn much about it.
That is why I was so pleased to receive two wonderful children’s books about the Philippines to review, which sparked my interest to discover even more resources to learn about these beautiful islands with my kids. Have fun exploring!
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Philippines: Resources for Kids
Did you know that there are approximately 7,100 islands in the Philippines, or that it was named for King Philip II, ruler of Spain during its 16th century colonization of the Philippines? Or that English is one of its official languages? Encyclopedia Britanica Online has a great article that includes these facts and more, mainly focusing on the geography and landscape.
National Geographic Kids has a country overview for kids, where they can see the country’s flag, currency, and a map.
Since Easter is coming up, have fun reading this article from Crafty Moms Share on how Easter is celebrated in this predominantly Catholic country.
As always we pulled out our Smart Globe Discovery SG268 – Interactive Smart Globe with Smart Pen by Oregon Scientific. My husband found this several years ago, and it is a great addition to our lessons, plus the boys just enjoy playing with it in their free time! With the globe’s smart pen, kids can find out the country’s language, government, currency, learn how to say “hello,” and listen to its national anthem. Older kids can even play games to test their geography skills!
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If you want to teach your children or students about the Philippines, you really must get a copy of All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids. It gives such a wonderful introduction to the history and culture of the Philippines, including activities, crafts, games, stories, and recipes. I can’t wait to do the Filipino version of hopscotch with them now that the weather is warmer, or make some halo-halo, a treat that is a crazy mix of all kinds of fun foods like ice cream, shaved ice, coconut, and fruits – sometimes even beans!
I love how All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids really highlights the diversity of Filipino culture, through the three main characters, who represent its main cultural influences: Chinese, Spanish, and Arab. Each child gives a look at a typical day in his or her life, as well as festivals and traditional foods.
This is a really fun book for kids as it has such a variety of activities and information. Great for any classroom or homeschool!
We also really enjoyed reading Pan de Sal Saves the Day. This is a sweet book all kids can relate to, about feeling shy or that you are just not “cool” enough for your classmates. Pan de Sal is a young girl who is embarrassed of her family’s simple home and the traditional games they play instead of the watching TV or playing video games. On a school trip, however, Pan de Sal overcomes her shyness to help her friends, who discover just how great Pan de Sal really is.
This is a universal story about gaining self-confidence, but it is rooted in the specifics of the Philippines. The main character is named after a bread roll enjoyed in the Philippines (all of the characters are named after some kind of bread – like Muffin and Sweet Bread), and we see her family sing a traditional song and play sipa, a traditional sport. This is a fun book to learn about self-confidence as well as Philippine culture.
The Philippines are known for their cuisine. Get a great, mouthwatering overview from CNN’s 50 Dishes That Define the Philippines.
If you are in the Sacramento area, check out one of our local Filipino restaurants! We visited Fil-Am Bakery and Restaurant. I had driven past it so often and always wanted to try it out! The staff is so friendly and helpful, which is great if, like us, you have no idea what to try! The woman who served us was so sweet to my kids in helping them pick out something. In the end we sampled turon (a sweet banana egg roll – my favorite!), bitsu bitsu (like a doughnut but made with rice flour), and – because my four year old declared he did not want anything sweet (!) – pancit (thin rice noodles). They loved everything, but the pancit had all three of them practically licking the plate! Our server made us promise to try the lumpia next time, which we definitely will – along with three big bowls of pancit!
Want to travel the world with your kids? It's easier than you think! Often you can find restaurants or small eateries in your town or a nearby city. We had fun visiting Fil-Am, a local Filipino restaurant & bakery, and sampling some typical treats. Shown here are turon (a sweet spring roll filled with fried banana) and bitsu bitsu (a kind of a chewy doughnut made with rice flour). We will definitely be going back! Find more resources to teach kids about the Philippines on the blog today! (Link in bio). . . #mkbkids #kbn #momsoninstagram #kidbloggersofig #sacramento #visitsacramento #mysacramento #exploresac #sacramentofood #mytinymoments #ourcandidlife #instagood #instakids #ig_motherhood #kbnmoms #ignorcal #philippines #filipino #yummy #yum #lecker #nomnom #homeschooling #kbnhs
If you’d like to try cooking some Filipino dishes yourself, a wonderful resource is the blog Cuddles & Crumbs. She has tons of great recipes, including fish spring rolls (lumpia), steamed rice cakes (puto), and mung bean and sticky rice pudding (ginataang-munggo).
You can also visit Kid World Citizen to try this terrific Filipino Flan recipe.
Thinking of visiting with your family? GlobeTotting has an amazing collection of articles on traveling to the Philippines with kids.