Take your kids around the world this holiday season by hosting an around the world holiday party! It’s the perfect way for a school club or a homeschool group to celebrate this festive season.
Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids
Last year we started a World Explorers Club in our homeschool group. Each month we get together to learn about a different country with the kiddos. Earlier this month the World Explorers Club put on our second annual around the world holiday party. Everyone had a blast!
Each family picks a country to represent and shows how a popular winter holiday is celebrated there.
At our party this year we learned about Christmas in Sweden, Russia, Italy, UK, and the Netherlands; Hanukkah in Israel; Diwali in India; Chinese New Year in China; and Ayyám-i-Há. (The Bahá’í holiday of Ayyám-i-Há was a bit of an exception, since it isn’t based in any one country).
For their chosen country, each family prepares 1) a craft or activity, 2) a traditional treat. So, for example, last year our family did the Philippines, so the kids made a version of a traditional star decoration and sampled some homemade coconut milk cake. For India (Diwali) this year we brought ladoos to share and helped the kids make paper diyas. For Sweden, the kids crafted some adorable Christmas gnomes and decorated cookies, while for Israel (Hanukkah) they played dreidel to win chocolate coins.
We have done this two different ways, so see which works for your group! Both times, we set up “stations” around the room, generally one country per table, and the kids could spread out and take turns visiting each.
Last year, the food and the craft were at each station, whereas this year we moved all the treats to a food table and saved them until the end. They were only able to get the food after completing a quiz about the countries they had learned about!
The holiday quiz! They had to work together to answer the questions before they could have their treats 🙂
Whichever way you do it, make sure to have their first stop by a station where kids decorate treat bags. They’ll need one to collect all the crafts they will be making! This is a great activity for them to do as people are arriving and setting up.
Next year, we definitely have to add a Mexican style piñata!
Looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids? Why not make an escape room? It is a fun way to engage a group of kids in crafts and puzzles related to Day of the Dead! We have you covered with a complete (though flexible) plan to set up your escape room, including a free printable pack! Perfect activity for a classroom setting or Day of the Dead party.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.
Day of the Dead Activity for Kids: Make an Escape Room
Are you throwing a Day of the Dead party or looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids for your classroom? Here is a complete plan, including a printable (see below), though it is also flexible to allow you to adjust to suit your needs.
Below are eight activities (many included in the printable pack) that you can use for your Day of the Dead escape room. Any of these can be swapped out or modified to suit your group of students; however, make sure that you end up with EIGHT activities total, so that they can solve the final puzzle. The activities can be done in any order, but all must be completed before they are given the final puzzle to solve.
For each activity done or puzzle solved, the students will receive one letter (included in the printable). Once they receive all eight letters, they can solve the final puzzle.
Variation: To add some excitement to this Day of the Dead activity for kids, you could set a time limit to the game then blow up some of these skeleton balloons and pop one every few minutes. (So, for example, if you are going to give them 30 minutes for the activity, blow up 6 balloons and pop one every 5 minutes). Once the last balloon is popped, time’s up!
Depending on your layout and the size of the group, the children could work together on each activity on one large table, or you could set up each activity on a separate, smaller table, and have the children work in smaller groups, each of which would complete several of the activities. (For example, 4 small groups could do 2 activities each). However you decide, the entire group should solve the final puzzle together.
Work together to complete a Day of the Dead fill in the blank activity (included in the printable).
Activity 5: Papel Picado
Make banners with beautiful papel picado, either using this template or their own design.
Activity 6: Word Problem
Solve a Day of the Dead themed word problem (included in the printable).
Activity 7: Acrostic Poem
Get creative by writing their own acrostic poem about Day of the Dead! (Template included in the printable).
Activity 8: Honoring Loved Ones
While Day of the Dead has become a popular holiday, it’s important to remind kids about the real meaning behind it, which is to honor and remember loved ones that have passed on. Have each student make a drawing of a loved one or hero that has passed on, along with a sentence or two about what they remember about them. (Worksheet included in the printable).
Finish off your Day of the Dead activity for kids by having them solve one final puzzle! This puzzle (included in the printable) is solved using the letters earned with each completed activity.
While they enjoy their treats, read this fun new picture book for older kids! A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding is a great introduction to Day of the Dead from the perspective of a young boy whose family has recently moved back to Mexico. Like most children, Adri has heard some about Day of the Dead but finds much of it confusing. And to top it all off, his older sister decides to play a trick on him, telling him that Day of the Dead is when Adri is going to die!
Young readers will identify with Adri’s confusion and enjoy the happy resolution, learning all about the beautiful Day of the Dead holiday along the way.
I loved the artwork in A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding, which captures the emotional tenor of the story as well as providing some stunning views of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. My favorite was the nighttime boat ride to the island of Janitzio, twinkling with candlelight. My sons enjoyed Adri’s sometimes funny, sometimes nerve-wracking misunderstandings – plus his pet axolotl, of course!
Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting another blog hop for Day of the Dead! (Don’t miss our series from last year, 2017, and 2016!) Be sure to visit all the posts below for great ideas on sharing Day of the Dead with kids:
All you looking for some not so scary books to share with your kids this Halloween? Here are some wonderfully silly Halloween books that will make your kids giggle, not scream (though there may be some groans at a few of the jokes)! And this post is part of a Halloween blog hop, so don’t miss the links to other fun Halloween themed posts at the end.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Does Frankenstein Get Hungry? 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.
Silly Halloween Books Kids Will Love
Does Frankenstein Get Hungry? is the perfect read for any child who finds all the trappings off Halloween just a tad too scary. The young protagonist, when she gets too frightened of all things spooky, brilliantly turns the monsters and ghouls in her head from creepy to silly by asking pertinent questions, like whether Frankenstein gets hungry, or if Dracula flosses his fangs. (My son’s favorite, of course, was whether the boogeyman has boogers!) A great technique for teaching littles to conquer their fears!
AlphaOops: H Is for Halloween is such a great book for a range of ages – my toddler loves it she’s currently obsessed with the alphabet (and she gets to make her silly ghost noises), while my 5 year old laughs at all the jokes, like the running gag that the other letters keep stealing the letter B’s costume ideas. It’s a fun follow up to AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First.
The Scariest Book Ever made us all laugh out loud, as we soon discover that this is absolutely not the scariest book ever. It’s actually a cute story about a ghost who is scared to go outside of his haunted house but eventually gains the courage to go to a Halloween party – with hilarious results! (Don’t worry, they all enjoy their Halloween cupcakes together in the end!)
Monster Trouble! has been a bedtime favorite for a long time now, and my son still laughs every time. Of course, I love the spunky heroine who is plagued by monsters who just want to play with her every night, so that she falls asleep in class the everyday. She tries every trick she can think of to get them to leave her alone so she can get some sleep, until one night she accidentally stumbles on the perfect (and very sweet!) solution.
Skeleton Hiccups is one of our favorite silly Halloween books and will definitely have your kids giggling, as the poor Skeleton attempts all the tried and true methods to cure himself of the hiccups. (Spoiler: Drinking water doesn’t help if the water just pours right back out!) It’s left to his buddy Ghost to come up with the perfect solution and prove that even Skeletons can get scared silly!
My homeschooling friends and I are all abuzz with plans for the upcoming school year: the best curricula, favorite planners, new approaches to challenging subjects, and tips to get organized (for real, this time!) Now that we’re entering our fourth full year of homeschooling (if you don’t count the co-op preschool we did when my oldest was small), I have a better sense of what we’ll need to get ready for the new year, so I’ve compiled some of my favorites in this back to school guide for homeschoolers. Share your favorite resources in the comments!
This is part of a back to school crafts and school supply guides blog hop be sure to check out all the great ideas at the bottom of this post!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Back to School Guide for Homeschoolers
I love these Magazine File Holders! They are an easy way to organize books, papers, and files by subject and/or child. (We also use them to organize the kids’ magazines and comic books). They are colorful and sturdy and easy to label. They also help maximize space because they can be set on top of a dresser or bookcase if (like us) you never seem to have enough shelf space.
Expanding file folders are another great organizational tool, which is also easy to take with you if you need to go to a meeting or want to take your planning to a coffee shop or on the patio.
By the end of the school year, most of our crayons have been lost or used up, and the caps to all the markers disappeared, so it’s always nice to start out fresh! This Crayola Inspiration Art Case comes with everything – loads of crayons and markers, and even drawing paper!
My younger two adore doing crafts, so this ALEX Toys Craft Giant Art Jar would be perfect! It would also be a great way to keep them engaged while I work one on one with their older brother.
My kids love drawing! Honestly, most of the time we use reams of loose leaf paper, but a Melissa & Doug Drawing Pad is perfect to have in the car or to take when we’re waiting for one to finish with karate, etc.
We bought the Learning Resources Magnifier & Tweezers a couple years ago and have gotten so much use out of them! We take them on nature walks and use them with our discovery tray. Perfect for little hands!
If you are doing nature studies or just want to explore outdoors with your kids, try this Adventure Exploration Set by Ninja Kid. It comes with binoculars, flashlights, compass, telescope, magnifying glass, whistle, and bag!
Many of us are familiar with Little Passports for their amazing geography tools, but did you know they also have science subscription kits? I love everything by Little Passports, and a friend of mine has used really enjoyed using the Science Expeditions subscription with her daughter.
Another great science tool to have on hand is Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit. It is a great kit to get your child doing some hands-on science learning. Although the age says 8+, both of my boys were able to enjoy it by age 5 with supervision.
One of my son’s enrichment teachers – and a longtime homeschooler – once told me that one of her regrets was not buying a microscope for her kids sooner. There are so many out there, that which one you buy just really depends on your budget and your child’s level of interest. This AMSCOPE-KIDS M30-ABS-KT1 Beginner Microscope Kit is a good basic microscope for kids, and I love that it comes with accessories and a sturdy carrying case.
My kids are really into coding, so this year we’re purchasing a Kano Computer Kit. You actually build your own computer – what a great way hands on way to learn about how computers work! Plus afterwards you can practice coding on the computer.
I was looking for an easy gratitude activity to do with my kids, but as always I had my hands full with the baby, so I knew it had to be something easy but also fun enough to keep their attention. This gratitude game requires no prep, but it is great writing practice and builds critical thinking skills. It helps kids focus on gratitude ahead of Thanksgiving, yet the end results are often hilarious.
Easy Gratitude Game
This gratitude game only requires paper and pencil and takes just a few moments.
Each person writes a list of what they are grateful for, without letting anyone else see. For younger children, give a specific number of items they should write (we did 5). For older children, you could time it and see who can write the most number of items in a certain amount of time.
Once everyone has their list, have them try to write down what they think each other person’s list would be. (If possible, don’t tell them ahead of time about this step of the game, as otherwise they may purposely write a list that is difficult to guess). In our case, it was just the two boys, so they tried to guess each other’s lists, but with a larger group you could ask them to guess the list of the person sitting to their right.
When time is up, see how many you got right! We had a lot of fun with this part, as it was so funny to see what each thought the other had written down. It is harder to guess than you might think, even with hints! (My 6 year old’s list: PS4, basmati rice, life, the Earth, chicken).
Younger children can draw their answers if they can’t write yet, but I really recommend this for elementary age children. It was a good exercise for my preschooler to make his list, but it was so random that it was next to impossible for anyone to guess his answers. (“You’re grateful for a chicken bone?” “Yes! And flowers!”)
Looking for a fun, no-prep Day of the Dead craft using materials you already have? Here is a fun one that you can do anytime with your kids – and it’s not even messy! (Mom for the win!) All you need is paper, markers, glue, and cereal – that’s it! It’s a great after school activity to encourage creativity and learning, and it comes with a built in snack 😉
Easy Day of the Dead Craft
Cereal: We used Trix and Cocoa Puffs because they are so colorful, just like the Day of the Dead skulls and decorations. My kids didn’t mind having them to snack on while they worked, either!
Draw or download a Day of the Dead skull image
Decorate the image using your markers until you have a final design. Day of the Dead skulls are often decorated with flowers. You can also give yours a fun hat or costume!
Diwali is coming, and I’m excited to share some great Diwali books with you! These are great ones to read with your kids whether they are already familiar with Diwali or not. For those who are just learning about it, it’s a wonderful way to discover this joyous time; while those who already celebrate with their families will enjoy seeing their holiday represented in books and learning the meaning behind the traditions!
I received a complimentary copy of Let’s Celebrate Diwali and Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali 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.
Diwali Books for Kids
We have just discovered the wonderful story for young children, Let’s Celebrate Diwali, published by Bharat Babies. The first thing that strikes you is how colorful it is! A young girl is nervous to share about Diwali with her classmates, but she is surprised to find out several of them are also celebrating Diwali! What is even more surprising is how differently they celebrate, as she learns that Diwali is recognized not only by Hindus but also by many Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. Includes brief, kid-level explanations behind each religion’s Diwali celebrations.
I adore The Diwali Gift, and not just because the main characters are monkeys! This is a super cute book that kids will really enjoy. The story is a fun little mystery for very young kids that incorporates elements of Diwali in a very natural way. (Read my full review).
I love activity books, so My Diwali Coloring Book sounds wonderful! Recommended for ages 4-8, its illustrations range in difficulty to match different abilities. Includes a simple version of the story behind Diwali as well as conversation starters about Diwali and Indian culture.
Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! is a gorgeous book that presents the story of Diwali in a very engaging, easy to understand way. I love how the characters Maya and Neel lead children through the activities of each of the 5 days of Diwali, with a colorful overview at the back. Younger kids will love the illustrations and overall story, while older kids will also enjoy learning more details about this festival.
Where to Buy Diwali Books
Two of my favorite places to find Diwali books are the same ones where I found such wonderful books for Eid! Read on to find out why you don’t want to miss these online shops:
I love that they are so committed to getting diverse books into schools. In their Diwali giveaways, they are asking people to tag teachers and librarians, since they will be sending two books to schools and libraries to increase their diverse books as part of their Donate for Diversity campaign.
And they are running a special just for All Done Monkey readers!
Use the code ADM10 to get 10% off your order at Kitaab World this Diwali!
Looking for some great Rosh Hashanah recipes but worried about sticking to a gluten free diet? I’ve done the research for you to find Rosh Hashanah recipes that are also gluten free!
Today I’m guest posting on Multicultural Kid Blogs to share some wonderful gluten free Rosh Hashanah recipes I’ve found. If you are like me and have a loved one that follows a gluten free diet, you know how challenging it can be to keep to it during holidays and celebrations, when we tend to turn to traditional foods. Luckily, there are so many resources available these days. I’ve found some really wonderful dishes for you – some of them recreate traditional dishes with creative substitutions, while others put a modern spin on classic recipes to make them easier for those on special diets. So be sure to visit Multicultural Kid Blogs to read the full list!
Pumpkin bread is a fall staple in our household. I grew up eating my mother’s version and now that I’m a mom I make it often for my family. The main change is substituting coconut oil for vegetable oil and using some non-traditional flours and flaxseed. Also, I leave out the ground cloves because to me it competes too much with the coconut flavor.
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
2 cups cooked pumpkin or sweet potato (1 can pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)*
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
*If you have time, roasting the pumpkin or sweet potato and pureeing in the food processor gives a much richer flavor than the canned pumpkin
1. Oil two small loaf pans. Combine eggs and sugar; mix well.
2. Add pumpkin, coconut oil, and water. Blend thoroughly.
3. Add all dry ingredients and mix until combined. Note: The batter will be much denser than with traditional pumpkin bread.
4. Pour into prepared loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, until an inserted knife comes out clean.
This is Carrie from Crafty Moms Share. Leanna asked me to share with you about one of my favorite topics to learn about–Native Americans. With Thanksgiving coming up I thought I would share about a man who had a lot to do with the first Thanksgiving. You have probably heard of Squanto, the Native American who helped the Pilgrims survive. Did you ever wonder how he was able to help them?
Squanto or Tisqunatum was a Native American in the Patuxet tribe. The Patuxet tribe was a tributary of the Wampanoag Confederacy. Squanto is believed to be born between 1555 and 1592, but no one knows for sure in the Patuxet village that is in the area of present day Plymouth, Massachusetts. He grew up in this vibrant village learning how to plant the crops, catch the fish and hunt. There are a few versions of what happened in his life here is what seems to be in every version. Squanto was kidnapped along with others. He lived with Spanish friars and lived with Sir Ferdinando Gorges in England. He learned English and to read and write. He was brought back tohis homeland by Captain John Smith. This all took place between 1604 and 1619. He may have been kidnapped twice, but the stories are different. In 1619 he managed to make his way back home only to find his entire tribe had died and his village empty. He went and lived with the neighboring tribe, the Wampanoags. The Wampanoags explained to Squanto that his tribe died of the white man’s disease, smallpox.
The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. They were lucky enough to find land already cleared to build Plymouth Colony. The land of course was once the Patuxet villagewhere Squanto grew up. Living in Massachusetts I have been lucky enough to visit Plymouth Rock, Plimouth Plantation and the Mayflower II several times. The pictures I share here are from one of those visits. In 1621 Squanto was brought to Plymouth Colony by Samoset, an Abenaki (from Maine) who learned English from traders. Chief Massasoit wanted Squanto to help interpret between himself and the English as well as to spy on the English since there was not a full level of trust. Imagine the Pilgrims surprise when Squanto walked into the colony speaking perfect English.
Long House or Nush Wetu
Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive by teaching them how to grow the three sister crops: corn, beans and squash and where to catch fish and hunt. He really saved them. He also helped negotiate a treaty between the Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoags. Chief Massasoit wanted peace and made promises to the Englishmen. His sons and he later regretted all that they did for them as the English took more and more land. Squanto died in 1622 in Chatham, Massachusetts (on Cape Cod) of a fever. He had been acting as a guide to Governor William Bradford.
For more on Squanto check out the many books on him. Here are some we found at our local library. We really enjoyed the Squanto & the First Thanksgiving DVD as it told the story in a way my 6-year-old could see and understand.
The Wampanoag region stretched from Southeastern Massachusetts to Rhode Island and included Martha’s Vineyard. Their language isa dialect of the Algonquian language family. The word Wampanoag literally translated to people of the dawn. The Patuxet was an extinct band of the Wampanoag. The Wampanoags had two types of houses, the long house or nush wetu and the wigwams or wetus. The long houses had three fires in them.
Wigwam or Wetu
So on Thanksgiving think about the former slave who helped save the second colony of the United States and perhaps say a prayer for all the Native Americans.
Carrie is a former high school math teacher with diversity training and helped advise many diversity clubs at the schools she taught. Now she is a stay-at-home mother of an almost five-year-old and very active with her church. She writes about her life with her daughter and the fun things they do at Crafty Moms Share. You can also find her on Pinterest and Google +.
Welcome to our second annual celebration of Native American Heritage Month! All month long we’ll be sharing posts about sharing these rich cultures with kids. Find our full schedule of posts below, and don’t forget to link up your own as well! We’ll also be having a big giveaway (details coming soon!) You can find even more ideas on our Native/Indigenous Cultures Pinterest board: