Airplanes, ships, trains and trucks are moving goods around the world all the time. Trade has been a powerful human motivator for many, many years. Think about Vikings (well, they were really just pillaging), silk road, spice trade, explorers, etc. Check around your home or classroom to see how many countries you can find represented. This helps kids understand how they interact with the world around them.
Look at the tags in your clothing to see where it was made.
If you have fresh fruits and vegetables, check the stickers to see where it was grown.
Basil – Egypt Bay leaves – Turkey Black pepper – India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam Cinnamon – Sri Lanka, Indonesia Cloves – Madagascar, Comoros (there’s a bonus project for you – look up Comoros!), Sri Lanka, Indonesia Cumin – Syria, Turkey, Iran, India, China Dill – England, Germany, France Ginger – Nigeria, China Nutmeg – Martinique, Indonesia Oregano – Turkey Rosemary – Morocco, Tunisia Thyme – Poland Vanilla – Comoros, Madagascar, Reunion
Now, roll out the biggest paper you have (or tape pieces of paper together) and draw your perfect world. This helps critical thinking by analyzing similarities/differences and helps kids establish their own identity as they assess and act on what they like and don’t like.
Thumbprint Art of Unique Humans
Grab a washable stamp pad and use each thumbprint as a face. Add eyes, nose, etc with a marker. Remind your children that each fingerprint is unique and that there are more than 7 billion people in the world! Challenge your kids to make many different kinds of people. Take a look at many kinds of faces around the world from National Geographic and Bored Panda.
Paper snowflakes. A classic!
Paper snowflakes work both with the theme of the water cycle and the uniqueness of every person (every snowflake). Here’s how you make paper snowflakes. This is great for motor skills and creativity. Simple!
Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa
Early Mayans and Aztecs both drank a cocoa beverage. Hot chocolate moved to Europe via Mexico. Many, many cultures have their own version. Cacao grows along the equator and much of it is grown in West Africa. The sugar you need is grown from sugar beets or sugar cane primarily from Brazil, India, Europe and China. The milk comes mainly from the U.S. from breeds of cows that came from Europe – Holstein-Friesian (Germany/Netherlands), Jersey (England), Guernsey (and Brown Swiss (Switzerland) and Ayrshire (Scotland). For more information check out this exhaustive history of hot chocolate and hot cocoa.
Potato Soup: Perfect Snow Day Food
Potato soup is a simple comfort food for winter. You probably have the supplies on hand, and it’s easy to make.
Potatoes originated in South America, have sustained populations all over the world, and caused mass migration from Ireland during the potato famine. Now, many cultures have a version of potato soup, because it’s so delicious!
That should keep you and your busy on even the longest winter snow day! For an out-of-the-box cultural experience, you can buy World Village Playsets. It’s like a trip in a box! Kids play independently telling their own stories with the playmat, wooden figures, story cards and storybook. Easy! What are your ideas for exploring the world from home?