Most parents with the travel bug dream of taking their children to exotic locations. But not every family has the flexibility or finances to get to amazing places like Machu Picchu or the land of the Incas in South America. So we took a slightly different approach. We did a virtual visit to the Andes through a children’s e-book and companion music CD to find out about a child’s life in the Andes.
This was the first ‘trip’ my children took to South America, and they were excited to go on a new adventure. What would they learn? Quite a bit, in fact! Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou spent her teen years in Peru soaking up the culture and is now sharing it with the world through her website, Daria Music.
Over the course of the 35-page e-book A Child’s Life In The Andes, children will learn about life in Peru. A child’s life in the Andes is very different than it is for those north of the equator. They have more responsibilities, doing things that we’d consider to be adult duties such as herding and collecting animal dung to use for fuel for their homes.
What are some of the animals you’ll find high in the Andes? And why do they wear colorful yarn earrings? Your children will have to read to find out. Food is also a favorite topic with children. They’ll discover some familiar foods here as well as some that they may not have considered before. Spicy sweet potato fries have become one my children’s favorite treats.
The companion CD, Cancioncitas de los Andes (Little Songs of the Andes), introduces children (and adults) to the sounds of unique musical instruments that are both soothing and energetic at the same time. The six tracks are just as playable during the day or at bedtime which is when my children request this album the most. The songs are a lovely mix of instrumentals and vocals. Daria’s voice is clear and easy for children to sing along with – even in Quechua!
In the e-book, Daria explains what each song is about. She introduces children to the instruments played in the songs. Kids will love learning that chapchas are rattles made from goats’ toenails! My children loved going out to the sandbox to fill up a beautifully decorated rainstick that they’d made from the included instructions.
At the back of the book are eight pictures of animals and musical instruments to print and color. This is a nice way to wrap up everything the kids have learned. Hang them up and use them as a way to start further conversations about the Andes and the surrounding area.
If you’re lucky enough to travel to this historic part of the world, I think you’d love this e-book as well. The more you understand a culture, the more enriching and beautiful the travel experience becomes. You move from being simply a tourist to being a cultural ally and friend of the host culture.
And isn’t that why we take our kids to see the world?