Science Fiction and Fantasy For Children

Science Fiction and Fantasy for Children: Why they are great books for kids and perfect for raising world citizens!I must admit I am a little bit of a geek. But as Wil Wheaton has put it, “being a geek is about what you love”, and I second his definition wholeheartedly. The thing I love most is books. Books in all shapes, sizes, written in all kinds of styles. I love them all and hardly have I ever quit on a book. And fantasy and science fiction are among my very favourite genres.

Surprised? I know that they’re often not considered “real” literature. Especially fantasy is often laughed at for talking about fairies and wizards and dragons, while sci-fi has at least the word “science” in it which generally makes it the more approved genre.

I however really think that all children – and our little global citizens specifically – should read these books. Why? Here are at least some reasons. I am sure there are more.

1)      Interest in other cultures

The cool thing about fantasy and science fiction is that they tell stories about worlds that don’t exist. It takes some imagination to write about something that isn’t reality. Many characters in the books are not human. I guess after you’ve talked to someone from another planet, meeting someone from another culture isn’t so scary. Additionally, a lot of fantasy is about Otherness. Sometimes, it’s scary, like the Others in George R. R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire. Sometimes it gives you additional powers, like the Others in Sergey Lukyanenko “Night Watch” series. But look closely and you will see the “other” motive more clearly.

2)      Interest in other languages

The writers who write sci-fi and fantasy not only have to invent a whole new world with consistent and reasonable rules, they also have to think of a language- and sometimes even multiple languages to go with the world. Tolkien himself was interested in languages and considered them a foundation of his work. The whole “Lord of the Rings” trilogy features at least 3 of them. The “A Song Of Ice And Fire” series, better known as “A Game Of Thrones”, features at least 5. There is an interesting point about making the TV series because the author hasn’t considered how Dothraki would actually sound, and they made a whole new language just for the series! It’s not the first time a new language was invented when a film was made out of a sci-fi or fantasy film. But it can also foster interest in existing languages: I personally know at least one person who learned Finnish because it’s the closest language to Elfish! Also, if your native tongue isn’t English, you soon will find yourself get bored with waiting for the books to get translated and will read the original- that’s how my brother read the Harry Potter books. And did you know that the town of Sto Lat in Terry Pratchett’s novels was named after a Polish birthday song- Sto Lat means, “Hundred Years”!

3)      Learning about the world

Many fantasy books are based on real historical events, countries and persons. For example, the Wall in George R. R. Martin’s “A Song Of Ice Fire” reminds me of the Great Wall of China, GRRM himself said that “ASOIAF” was based on the War of the Roses in Medieval England. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series is seemingly a book about wizards, witches and dwarves, but in fact each instalment to the series tells a different story based on real events. One for example is about feminism (“Equal Rites”), another is about the history of Rock Music (“Soul Music”), or even about the history of the cinema (“Moving Pictures”)!

4)      Reading books from other cultures

Both fantasy and Science fiction are actually quite diverse. For example, if you watched the movie, “Solaris” you may not have known that the book the film was based on was written by Polish writer Stanisław Lem (the “ł” is pronounced like “w” in “window”). Additionally, fantasy or sci-fi in one culture is not the same in another. For example, Polish anti-hero Jakub Wędrowycz is an exorcist, he drinks spirit that he brews himself and he is a character you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. And the “Night Watch” series by Sergiey Lukyanenko will give you a totally different idea about what Twilight is- in the books, it’s a different level of reality that only Others can access.

5)      Gateway to other literature

I know that sci-fi or fantasy is not exactly considered “great” literature. But it could get your child started on reading. And besides, some of the sci-fi and fantasy authors are very fine writers! The cool thing about this genre is that it can get you started in many directions: from history books, through great literature (consider, for example, the Arthurian tales) and other books!

6)      Forming a sense of belonging

Sci-fi and fantasy have a strong loyal community worldwide. Global Citizens and TCK’s often feel out of place, but maybe their interest in this genre can give them a sense of belonging. I think it’s amazing that a common interest brings together people from different countries who don’t necessarily speak each other’s languages. In fact, sci-fi and fantasy are often read by people who feel they don’t belong anywhere but find support and friends through their hobby. These books often turn into something more: an opportunity to get together, play games, talk about common interests and have fun.

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7)      Books for all kinds of readers

Not only readers of various languages will appreciate these great books. Readers of all ages will too. While many sci-fi or fantasy books are written with an older audience in mind (young adults to adults), children can enjoy them too- I think they’re so much better than the traditional fairy tales! A great example is Neil Gaiman’s “Fortunately, The Milk” (the photo above shows it in Polish), that can be read to children as young as 5 or 6. The Harry Potter series is meant for slightly older children (except maybe for the later books that are scarier).

There is more to sci-fi and fantasy than aliens, wizards and magic. It’s actually a great literary genre and I believe everybody will benefit from reading them, especially children. I can’t wait to introduce my own kids to all these magical worlds!

The European MamaOlga Mecking is a translator, blogger, writer and trainer in intercultural communication. She blogs at The European Mama and writes about her expat life, raising multilingual children, life in Europe, and general parenting topics. Olga also enjoys cooking, baking and reading books. You can find Olga on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Back To School: Where’s My School Uniform?

The summer holiday is once more nearly over and in a matter of weeks a new school year begins here in the Netherlands. It’s the time of year when I am starkly reminded that I am a British expat and my school days are very different to those of my three sons.

At this point in my summer holiday my mum, brother and I would be heading to the local shop that stocked our school uniforms, somewhere like the department store Clements on Watford High Street, or British Home Stores. We’d be combing the store armed with a list supplied by school, all the items we were required to wear over the course of our school year: white blouses or shirts, short sleeved for summer and long sleeved for winter; a grey skirt or trousers and grey shorts for summer or a yellow and white checked summer dress for the girls; a grey cardigan or jumper; and the piece de resistance our yellow, almost gold coloured tie. And then of course there were our gym outfits to buy too. When we moved to secondary school our uniform changed colour to maroon but the end of the summer holiday ritual remained the same.

School uniform: a British thing for sure

School uniforms: a British thing for sure!

However, it is not a ritual I need to go through with my own children. Dutch school children do not wear school uniforms. They wear whatever they like. There is no scurrying around the shops during school holidays to get the necessary supply of school clothes for the year. It is simply a case of making sure my eldest has sports clothes without holes for his gym classes.

Every September my Facebook timeline spills over with pictures posted by my British friends of their children wearing their school uniforms for the very first time. It’s a photo I don’t have. I don’t have those ‘first day of school’ photos of my two eldest sons in their crisp, stiff school uniforms. We have no first day of school photos with an uncomfortable smile because of a collar and a tie that feels peculiar to a child who has yet to turn five.

School uniforms are just not commonplace in the Netherlands. The only place I have seen them worn is the British School in the Netherlands, highlighting just how much wearing a school uniform really is traditional British. An OFT report cites that 79% of junior schools in Britain has a compulsory school uniform, when you get to secondary school this rises to 98%. In short, if you go to school in Britain there is a good chance you’ll be wearing a school uniform.

School uniforms in Britain form the basis of a hotly contested political debate. Michael Gove, the former Education secretary, believed that uniforms in schools are beneficial and that the wearing of blazers and ties contribute to school success. He stated that schools with uniforms have better results.

School uniform supporters say that a uniform helps pupils identify with their school and feel part of a school community; a uniform evokes pride in pupils and encourages discipline; it dissolves social equalities (because clothes are the same regardless of background) and therefore reduces the chances of bullying.

Those against the idea of school uniforms say they are a means of exerting power and control over kids. One reason cited to abolish school uniforms is to allow teachers to spend their time teaching rather than ensuring that children adhere to school uniform rules.

American academic (school uniforms are gaining popularity in the US), David Brunsma, concluded after eight years of research that school uniforms make no difference whatsoever to the standard of schools or their results.

So, love them or loath them, whether they have a positive effect or not, school uniforms are a British thing many other countries across the globe have seen no reason to adopt. And that includes the country I now call home, the one I am raising my three Dutch boys in.

I grew up wearing a school uniform and somewhere in my parent’s photo archives there is a picture of me on my first day of school, proudly parading my brand new uniform. I will have no such photo in my photo archive – but I hope one day my sons will see that photo and learn something about my British school days.

These little changes, these breaks with my own cultural traditions, are part and parcel of expat life. It’s a small sacrifice to make to raise little multicultural people.

What school traditions, or customs have you broken with because of raising children in a different culture or country than the one you went to school in?  Do your children wear school uniforms?

 

About the Author:

Amanda from Expat with a Double BuggyAmanda van Mulligen is a freelance writer. British born, she was whisked off to the Netherlands on a promise of a windmill wedding and now raises three sons with her Dutch husband. She writes about expat life, about living life in a second language and an alien culture, about all things parenting and on the topic of highly sensitive children over on her blog Expat Life with a Double Buggy.

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5 Homeschool Tools for Exploring World Cultures

5 Tools for World Culture Exploration

Before we begin school, I spend a considerable amount of time researching and putting together our curricula for the year. I teach one child who is starting 3rd grade and another entering 5th. Their math and reading lessons are taught separately, but I teach all of their other subjects together.

One of the best parts of homeschooling is that we can branch out beyond the traditional subjects taught in a traditional school and learn about topics that intrigue my children, or that I want them to understand. So as a result, one of our favorite subjects is World Cultures. We enjoy exploring the communities and traditions of countries around the world. I choose to teach it because it helps my children to develop a sense of global citizenship and it breaks down ignorance and (hopefully) stereotypes.

So I wanted to share with you five of my favorite tools for teaching world culture to my children. Which ones would you add?

1. National Geographic Kids
This website is a treasure trove for young explorers. You can travel the earth in 30 minutes a day/week depending on how much time you want to allot this subject. The site is vibrant and colorful, engaging for children. My favorite part is the different opportunities for kids. They can participate in the International Photography Contest for Kids, join the Ice Cream Expedition, and watch a video on oceanographer Sylvia Earle. They can explore the ocean depths during Shark Week or scale Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains.

2. The Great Global Puzzle Challenge with Google Earth
An amazing travel adventure, this book was created to explore places across the globe using Google Earth. From New York to Tokyo to the Himalayas, you can zoom in and discover famous landmarks. You can even travel back in time! Along the way, you’ll search for flags and collect souvenirs. Google Earth takes the experience to the next level.

3. Kids Discover
I love this fantastic magazine that explores so many different topics in depth. They even have special issues devoted to culture. They are filled with beautiful photographs and engaging text on places like the Caribbean, the Amazon, and ancient kingdoms of Africa, Greece, Rome, and many others. You can download educational printables directly from the website and the digital magazines can be purchased for your tablet.

4. The Usborne Book of Peoples of the World: Internet Linked by Gillian Doherty

This fabulous little book introduces children to groups of people all over the world. Organized on a continent-by-continent basis, it describes the different ways of life, cultures, cuisines and faiths of the six billion people who inhabit our planet. The amazing photographs complement the informative text, fostering in children a greater understanding of the people who live in the world around them. This book comes with fully-updated internet links to extend the learning possibilities.

5. Passport to Culture® Game
I love this game that circles the globe testing (and teaching!) your knowledge of cultures. You’ll learn about people, places, food and drink, gestures, customs and traditions. It comes with 740 questions covering 60 cultural scenarios. Best suited for children 10 and older.

About the Author:

Monica_Olivera roundedMonica Olivera is a homeschooling mom and freelance education writer. Her website MommyMaestra.com, is for Latino homeschoolers and parents who want to get more involved in their children’s education. She is also the co-founder of Latinas for Latino Lit and one of the creators of the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program. You can find Monica on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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Global Education Google Plus Hangout

Global Education Google + Hangout | Multicultural Kid BlogsWhat is global education, and why is it important for YOUR child’s education?  How can you turn your classroom into a global classroom?  (And why should you?)

All these questions and more will be discussed at our Global Education Google + Hangout, coming up on Friday, August 22, at 12 pm ET:

Click here to visit the direct link for the hangout.

Homa Sabet Tavangar and Becky Morales, authors of the acclaimed Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners, will discuss global education and its importance for parents and educators with education advocate and former teacher Kim Vij of The Educators’ Spin On It.

What’s more, they will answer your questions!  Simply go to our Facebook page to tell us what you want to know.  One entry will be randomly chosen to win an electronic copy of Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners by Homa Sabet Tavangar and Becky Morales!

What: Global Education Google + Hangout

Who: Homa Sabet Tavangar of Growing Up Global, Becky Morales of Kid World Citizen, and Kim Vij of The Educators’ Spin On It

When: Friday, August 22, 12 pm ET (available afterwards to watch online)

What to do NOW: Go to our Facebook page to submit your questions about global education for Homa and Becky.  You could win an electronic copy of Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners!

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Call for Bloggers: Hello, Bali World Book Tour

Hello, Bali: A Kids Yoga Island Adventure Book by Giselle Shardlow of Kids Yoga StoriesWe are so proud to announce the beginning of our new Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services!  We’re kicking off with a world book tour of Hello, Bali: A Kids Yoga Island Adventure Book from Kids Yoga Stories.

How a World Book Tour Works

If you are an author or company with a multicultural children’s product

Our Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services offer you the opportunity to put your book or product in front of a like-minded audience – all over the world!  The bloggers in our network are located on every continent and all focus on raising young world citizens.  Our combined audience can be your audience.  For more details, see our Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services page.

If you are a blogger interested in promoting great multicultural children’s products

Help get the word out about great multicultural children’s products, plus each time you take part in a promotion, you will be entered to win a gift card, as a thank you!

This month we are promoting the book Hello Bali: A Kids Yoga Island Adventure Book by Giselle ShardlowSign up below to participate.  Once you receive your electronic copy of the book, you can review it on your blog, write a review on Amazon, and/or promote through social media.  Bonus entries in our giveaway for doing all three!

Information about this Hello, Bali yoga book

Book description:
Energize your body and mind with this yoga island adventure book. Say good day to the magical island of Bali through these energizing yoga poses for kids. Join one of the Yoga Kids, Anamika, as you surf like a surfer, dance like a Balinese dancer, and sit like a monkey. Included is a list of Kids Yoga Poses, Map of Bali, Basic Indonesian phrases, and a Parent-Teacher Guide with tips on creating a successful yoga experience.

Age group:
Toddlers, preschoolers ages two to five.

Languages:
English or Spanish

What people are saying:
“I think the Hello, Bali book is a delightful way to connect geography, movement, and positive parent interactions. My daughter instantly began doing the poses as we read the book for the first time together and asked to find Bali on her globe. Then she sat with her little brother and worked on teaching him Indonesian. It is definitely our favorite Kids Yoga Stories book yet!
Amanda, The Educators’ Spin On It

“This is one of the most delightful books I have come across – Emily Gedzyk has done a wonderful job with the illustrations, which are colourful and appealing to children. As an EAL teacher I was thrilled by the fact that the book embraces multi-cultural issues. At the outset I wasn’t convinced about the yoga element, but as we read the book the value of this became apparent. With clear illustrations and instructions, the yoga poses are introduced through a delightful story – reading and exercise all in one! The repetition is great for young readers and those new to English. I particularly liked the bi-lingual greetings at the end of the book. I will definitely be using this in the classroom.”
Susanne P.

Sample pages:Sample pages from Hello, Bali yoga book by Kids Yoga Stories for our book tour

DEADLINE to complete your promotion: September 12, 2014Blog reviews can be from the past six months, but Amazon reviews and social media promotion should be from on or after August 12, 2014.

After you have completed your book tour promotion, come back here to enter our giveaway by entering the Rafflecopter below.  You could win one of five $10 gift cards!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Renee of Mother Daughter Book Reviews for her support and inspiration!

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Back to School in 5 Easy Steps

Back to SchoolIn just a few days, many children will go back to school (many may have already started) and it is normal for both parents and children to feel anxious about the new academic year. As a teacher, I would like parents to know that we (teachers) are as or more anxious/nervous as they are. It does not matter if we are in our first or tenth year of teaching…it does not get any easier, we just get a bit better at it.

Back to School in Five Easy Steps

Below I am sharing 5 simple things parents/guardians can do to help children feel more at ease and therefore make the new school year feel great from the very beginning:

1. Try to schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher: Every year, I have the opportunity to meet 2-3 students before the school year begins. Giving children the opportunity to meet his/her teacher can ease anxiety. Here students can ask questions, take a peek at the new classroom, and just relieve the many pressures he/she may feel. Of course, this may not apply to everyone, but as a parent you should feel comfortable about asking for a meeting and making the transition a bit less stressful.

2. Do not stress about the supply list: Some schools are allowed to request materials/school supplies. If this applies to you – please do not stress about it. Your child will NOT use a pack of erasers or 10 pencils on the first day. However, shopping during the back-to-school sale is a smart move. One important thing to keep in mind: if you are not in the position or unable to purchase the items let us know – we will figure something out. It is NOT a big deal.

3. Talk to your child about meals at school: Whether you pack a nutritious lunch or plan to have him/her eat at the school cafeteria – talk to your child and have an honest discussion about what he/she eats. As a teacher, it makes me really sad to see food thrown away because it is not consumed (perfectly made sandwiches, delicious salads or carrot sticks). Or children who ‘say’ they eat at school, but hardly eat what they are served. Try packing a healthy snack in addition to lunch. Children could always eat an apple or granola bar towards the end of the day.

4. Have your child log in the necessary hours of sleep: According to their age, children require more/less sleep hours, yet parents would be surprised how many students come to school really tired because they went to bed really late. Establishing a routine is crucial – children thrive when there is a predictable set of activities (of course…things can get hectic at times!) and do better when they know what comes next. Going to bed early allows your child to recover, rest and wake up prepared for the day.

5. Help your child set goals for the new school year: Discuss with your child 2-3 goals he/she may have for the new school year. The goals do not have to be academic, but a good balance is great. A reading goal; for example, may be to make sure he/she reads before going to bed every night, or get homework done as soon as he/she gets home from school (instead of waiting for the very last minute at night). One important thing to keep in mind is that you are helping your child channel his thoughts/ideas – they are NOT your goals. Take the time to write the goal, post it in a visible place and revisit it as often as needed. It is not about perfection, but trying to be better each day.

Back to schoolI could go on and on about back to school suggestions, but I am trying to make it simple. Make sure you take the time to enjoy the experience and savor each day because the truth is…children grow up too fast.

Abrazos,

Kelly

Images thanks to The United States Department of Education

 

About the Author

Kelly Serrano_BiopicBorn and raised in Ecuador, South America, Kelly moved to the United States when she was eighteen. She obtained a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and later worked in the private sector for a few years. She returned to school and obtained her teaching credentials and Master Degree in Education. Kelly’s teaching journey has taken her many places, and last year she moved to a dual-language school, which is the main reason she decided to start her own blog (Learning in Two Languages) and create her own bilingual teaching resources.

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Celebrating Raksha Bandhan in India

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan translated from Sanskrit literally means – The Knot / Thread of Protection.

Its a solemn promise by a brother that he will always care, love & protect his sister till his last breath. Its an Indian Hindu Festival that  falls on August 10th this year and is celebrated on the Full Moon Day (Pournima) of the Hindu month Shravan every year.

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan in India

The days leading to Raksha Bandhan are busy. The Sisters make or shop for Rakhis and the brothers hunt for a suitable gift for her. The parents get the materials and sweets for the puja ready.

The Raksha bandhan day starts early.. The Brother & Sister both wake up  & have a head bath. They get dressed in new traditional clothes.

rakhi3

The sister then does an aarti – a special plate with a lighted lamp. The plate also has the customary  Haldi & Kumkum (Turmeric & Kumkum made with  dried & powdered turmeric & a bit of slaked lime, which turns the rich yellow powder into a red color), some betel nuts and coloured rice (called Akshata). Arti is done by rotating the plate with lighted lamp in a clockwise direction three times in front of the person. Of course at a safe distance. Then the akshata is showered on the brother’s head & a Kumkum Tilak is applied.

rakhi2

Now the sister ties the handmade rakhi on her brother’s right wrist and they exchange sweets. Once the Rakhi has been tied, the sister says a prayer for the well being – good health, prosperity and happiness – for her brother. And the brother shares a gift for his sister promising to always be there for her & to be her strongest supporter. 

Here are some easy steps to make your own Rakhi

LR2

You will Need Red & Yellow Wool, some beads & scissors. The steps are the same as you would use to make a pompom. Twist the Red wool around your fingers for 20 rounds. Slowly pull it out & securely tie it at the center. Using scissors, cut the ends of the bow & spread & press to form a flower pom pom. Tie a wooden bead at the center & another strand behind to make the Rakhi.

Will you be celebrating Rakhi this year? Do you have a custom in your culture that celebrates siblings? I’d love to know your thoughts.

For more ideas to make your own Rakhi &  to learn about Indian culture & festivals  drop by the blog :)

Shruti Bhat is a Software Quality Analyst by profession from Bangalore, India. She loves crafting with her 7 year old daughter and blogs at ArtsyCraftsyMom.com. She can be reached at @ArtsyCraftsyMom on TwitterFacebook & Pinterest

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Learning About the World Through Cooking

My daughter loves to cook. Actually, she loves to bake. And, by bake, I mean lick the spoon, the bowl and whatever else she can get her little hands on. You’d better watch out, too, because she’ll battle to the end for the spatula.

Cooking and baking with kids is fun, educational and, above all, messy. Messes aside, though, it’s a great way to help kids learn. Measuring ingredients teaches kids about numbers, in particular, adding and fractions. Following recipes encourages and enhances reading skills and attention to detail. And, when you have more than one kid in the kitchen, cooking promotes teamwork and patience.

Cooking and baking teach kids about numbers, particularly adding and fractions.

The ingredients for Moroccan meskouta cake, portioned out using the traditional Moroccan measuring tools of soup bowls and tea glasses.

What I love most about cooking, however, is that it opens my daughter’s eyes to the world. We love to explore different countries and regions through recipes (especially the sweet ones requiring the use of a spatula, of course).

Cooking and baking are fun ways to introduce or reinforce cultural and geographical lessons your kids are learning at home or at school.

1. Geography. Once we’ve decided what we are going to cook or bake, my daughter and I locate on a map the country in which the recipe originated. We’ll note whether it’s a place we’ve visited (or whether it’s on our bucket list) and try to learn a few facts about each place.

Making fresh pasta is a fun and fairly easy way to explore Italy from home.

Making fresh pasta is a fun and fairly easy way to explore Italy from home.

2. Regional dishes and mealtimes. We learn about what people in the region eat and when. When making Ethiopian Dabo, we discovered that Ethiopians typically do not eat sweet foods for breakfast. Instead, many Ethiopian families start the day with this very lightly sweetened honey bread slathered with shiro, a chickpea spread. When making sushi one day, my daughter was surprised to learn that in Japan, families typically include fish, rice and pickled vegetables in their morning meal – so different from ours!

3. Cultural eating habits. My daughter loves experimenting with chopsticks (she has been known to consume an entire bowl of cheerios and milk using them). She also finds it cool, of course, that, in some countries, people eat entire meals with their hands.

Learning about eating habits (and having some fun with them) opens kids' eyes to small but perceptible differences among different cultures.

Learning about eating habits (and having some fun with them) opens kids’ eyes to small but perceptible differences among world cultures.

4. Trying new foods. An added bonus to cooking with kids is that it makes them more likely to try new foods, whether because they lent a hand in making the new dish or because they are inspired to try a food eaten by kids in other countries. Whatever the motivation, it’s a great way to get them to expand their palettes and their minds.

Cooking with a friend teaches kids valuable lessons about patience, taking turns and teamwork.

Cooking with a friend teaches kids valuable lessons about patience, taking turns and teamwork.

There are tons of websites with recipes from all over the world, some of which also focus on cooking with kids. Two of my favorites are Global Table Adventure and A Little Yumminess.

Additionally, Our Whole Village recently started posting a monthly regional spotlight series, which includes a kid-friendly recipe from the country highlighted. And, if you sign up for the Our Whole Village newsletter, they’ll send you a free e-recipe cook book with 12 recipes from around the world. It’s a great way to get started!

The best part about helping in the kitchen? Licking the beater or spatula!

The best part about helping in the kitchen? Licking the beater or spatula!

Have fun learning about the world through the kitchen lens. Just remember to have on hand as many spatulas as you do kids!

 

Kara Suro

Kara Suro is a co-founder of Our Whole Village. She loves wine travel (even with the kids), baking (especially with peanut butter) and exploring the world with her husband, daughter and son (from the corner bakery to the mountains of Patagonia). 

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Back to School for Multicultural and Biracial Kids

This post is part of the Back to School with Kid Blogger Network Linky Party (see below).

As a parent of a multicultural and biracial child we have been cultivating his racial and cultural awareness and identity since he was born. Encouraging him to accept and celebrate his and other’s differences is part of our daily lives.

In spite of my efforts, and a very positive experience in his preschool I often wonder if that is enough when he goes out into the “real world”, away from home and back to school.

back to school multicultural and biracial kids

Tips for Parents

I lucked out when my child was in preschool. One of the things that I enjoyed about the preschool  was knowing that although it was predominantly Black they had multicultural dolls, toys, posters,  and a variety of diverse children’s book.  They encouraged conversations about diversity, respect for others, and acceptance.

So what can we do as parents to help our child’s school and teachers support multicultural and/or biracial kids?

Meeting with your child’s teacher to discuss the challenges that your multicultural/biracial child may encounter helps the teacher better understand how to deal with unwanted or unexpected comments from classmates.

For instance, I often get asked “What are you?” As an adult, I am not fazed by the question. Nevertheless, children can feel overwhelmed with such a question, especially when they look different from the rest!  Respectfully, ask teachers to talk openly in a positive manner about different races, ethnic groups, and cultures.  Helping children find answers to such question in a positive light will help them be more accepting of others differences.

Inquire about what types of multicultural books they have in the classroom, and if they don’t have any you can donate books from around the world.

Offer to volunteer a story time or sing-along playing session in your child’s native language. Have your child be your “helper.”  Doing so, instills in your child a sense of pride by sharing his culture, language and/or music with his classmates.

titocollage2

Looking for more tips I turned to ask members from our Multicultural Kids Blog,  “How did you prepare your multicultural and biracial children for school?” and these are their answers: 

  • “My sons go to a French international school. But, we speak English at home. So, as it gets closer to the start of school, we try to read more French books, watch French movies or TV shows, and find other ways to get my sons used to thinking, learning and playing – all in French.”  Aimee from Raising World Citizens
  • “As a homeschooling mom, I start gathering all the materials I’ll need for the year that pass on culture and language. This includes books, videos, games, and curricula. It gets me excited!” Monica from Mommy Maestra 
  • “The only thing I worry about is if we’ll be required to bring in baby pictures (which we don’t have) or do a family tree. I always discreetly ask the teacher to be sensitive and creative so that kids who are adopted can still participate (like asking for a photo when “they are younger” or letting them make a “family/friends” tree of important people in their life. That also helps blended families and all of the unique families that don’t fit into the cookie cutter mom/dad/kids mold.”  Becky from Kid World Citizen
  • “I always try to speak the language he will use at school more a month before he goes. I always worry about communication issues.” Tara from Tara Kamiya
  • “Every year before school starts I put together a World Language & Culture program proposal with focus on the Chinese language for my children’s room teachers. My kids help me with the ideas and activities. I present it to the teachers and chairperson of the grade when school starts and see if they can add this parent-initiated program into their curriculum/schedule. It has worked for the past 7 years.” Amanda from Miss Panda Chinese

Tips for Teachers and Schools 

Here are a few suggestions on how teachers, and schools can celebrate, encourage and support multicultural and biracial kids:

  • Display pictures, posters, books, and  images of biracial/multicultural families in their classroom.
  • Remove  any materials and visuals that promote stereotypes.
  • Incorporate global music, and dance in their lessons.  Ask parents to bring cultural CD’s of music they enjoy. This is a great way to expose the children to different types of music.
  • Make multicultural musical instruments like a  A Mayan Style Water Drum or an An Australian Bullroarer.
  • Have an assortment of  toys, and dolls that are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and reflect the cultures of the children in your classroom.
  • Organize a monthly international multicultural day to include various cultures and backgrounds into the classroom.  Invite parents and students to enrich discussions with their own ethnic traditions and experiences.
  • Reference The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners by the authors Homa Sabet Tavangar and Becky Mladic-Morales.
  • During play times or activities reorganize children to foster integration amongst them thus avoiding segregation.   

Most importantly for teachers is to create an environment of diversity, and respect for multicultural and biracial kids. Therefore,  making back to school a smooth transition.  

evansFrances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a certification in Human Resources.  She blogs about  heritage, culture, bilingualism, multicultural children’s books, and discovering the world through her son’s eyes.  You can follow her at Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes.

Back to School with KBN Linky Party

Welcome to the Annual Back to School with Kid Blogger Network Linky Party featuring activities, crafts, supply ideas, recipes, organization, books and MORE to get your family ready for the upcoming school year!

And what better way to kick things off than with a giveaway! The prizes are sponsored by Safari Ltd, Melissa and Doug, Trunki. Plus $50 Gift Certificates were donated for Printable Packets and/or eBooks from The Educators’ Spin On It, 3 Dinosaurs, Preschool Powol Packets, This Reading Mama, & Life Over C’s. Don’t miss out – enter to WIN! For US Residents only.

Back to School Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For US Residents ONLY
Back to School Linky Party Link up your kid-friendly posts to have them featured on 35 blogs who are members of the Kid Blogger Network. We invite you to visit a few posts from participants, leave a comment, and share on social media! Thank you so much for sharing your Back to School Resources! *By linking up, you agree to have your images shared with credit. Back to School Activities and Resources

The Back to School Linky Party is hosted by members of the Kid Blogger Network:

 

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Getaway with a Travel Giveaway

Is your family hoping to take a trip yet this summer? We’ve partnered up with our friends at Best Western to make your trip happen! Whether you’re planning to pack up the car and head out on a road trip or your travels will take place via plane you’ll need somewhere to lay your head down at night and unwind after a busy day traveling.

 family travel

We’re huge advocates of travel, and we’re guessing you might be too. Here are a few tips from Best Western blog ambassador Manny Ruiz to get your trip planning rolling:

 

  • Remember that the journey is what matters most: The longer the journey to your destination, the more likely you will enjoy the memories you make to your destination. I always remind my family of this because those things you do while driving together are as precious as landing in Disneyland. Cherish those moments. Document those moments. When the children are all grown, those are the moments you will see most in your videos.
  • Consult with your kids. The older kids get, the more they actually enjoy and want to be involved in the planning process.
  • Choices are good but don’t give them too many choices. Hand-in-hand with giving our children input about the places we’d like to travel is also the rule that says you should not give them more than three choices. Limiting the options gives them the opportunity to research and make an informed decision, or make a decision about where they really don’t want to go.
  • Research the truly off-the-beaten-path vacation jewels. Sometimes the best places you’ll see are not always the most obvious or convenient ones. For example, most vacation getaways are marketed to be accessible and easy, conveniently located in places that are meant to be found by the masses. There’s nothing wrong with that but, if you do a little Google research, you’ll inevitably find that near most any vacation spot there are always gems worth stretching to find.
  • Pack lighter so you can travel easier. One of the most common mistakes made during vacations is to simply pack too much. Don’t make this mistake. Traveling light will make your trip infinitely more enjoyable and less stressful as you’ll have fewer things to worry about. If you’re traveling by air you’ll also be able to cut down on excess baggage charges.

Getaway with Best Western and Multicultural Kid Blogs

Now we’d love to know what are some of your tips for traveling?

 

We’ll pick one comment at random to win a $75 gift card from Best Western. You have until August 9th at midnight Eastern to leave a comment and be entered to win.

 

We can’t wait to hear your travel tips!

 

Amanda from Maro MamaAbout Amanda: Amanda is curious, world traveling mom of 2 boys. She currently lives in Marrakech, Morocco with her husband and kids. Amanda is the publisher of MarocMama a blog about raising multicultural kids, food, and travel. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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