Oct
15
2014

Make Your Own Diya for Diwali

Namaste, explorers! The time for Diwali is nearly here!

Diwali is the five-day Hindu Festival of Lights. Homes are cleaned and decorated with diyas, strings of lights, flower garlands and paper chains, and doorstep designs are made for good luck with colored powders called Rangolis. Popular activities include playing card games, dressing up in new clothes, exchanging boxes of sweets and worship. Our friend Kim, from “The Educator’s Spin On It,” celebrates with her family by making their own diyas. Read more and learn to make your own!

Make Your Own Diya

Diyas are a small type of lamp, lit on Diwali for worship and decorative purposes. Diyas come in a variety of options: they can be plain, colorful, simple, fancy, big or small! Traditionally they are made out of clay and then filled with oil to be lit. They are lined up on building edges and windowsills and illuminated during Diwali.

Here is a fun way for you and your little one to create your own diya for Diwali:

Materials Needed:

  • Small beads
  • Air Clay or Playdough
  • Rolling pin
  • Plastic knife
  • Stamps
  • Ink Pad
  • Small bowl
  • Paint or markers
  • Votive candle or battery operated candle

 

Directions:

Roll out the air clay or play dough to a smooth thin layer.


Place a bowl upside-down on top of the clay, and cut around the bowl to create a circle.


Stamp the clay using a pre-made stamp or carve out by hand.

Include ink to add colors. (Optional)


Take the clay circle and gently set into the small bowl to form the bowl shape of the diya.  Add small beads for decoration. Allow clay to dry overnight. Remove from bowl to complete drying.


Once dry, paint the bowl for added decoration. (Optional)  Add the candle to the diya and illuminate at night on Diwali!

 

Kim Vij is an early childhood educator and mom of three. She shares her “Educator’s Spin” on parenting issues and how to make everyday moments into learning opportunities at The Educators’ Spin On It and award winning Pinterest Boards. You can connect with Kim on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Google+.

Oct
13
2014

Thanksgiving Day in Canada

Did you know that the first North American Thanksgiving didn’t involve Pilgrims, or a big ship called The Mayflower, or even take place in the United States? It’s true! In fact, the earliest-known version of Thanksgiving in North America actually took place in Canada more than forty years before the Pilgrims arrived in the New World.

In the 1570s, an English explorer named Sir Martin Frobisher made three voyages to North America. He was in search of an Arctic sailing route to the Far East and India called the Northwest Passage. Frobisher was the first European to sail into what would later be called “Frobisher Bay,” a large inlet on Baffin Island which is located between Greenland and mainland Canada. It was during the third trip in 1578, upon the expedition’s safe return to Newfoundland, that Frobisher and his men celebrated their good fortune with thanks.

In 1879, drawing on Frobisher’s history, as well as the Pilgrims’ 1621 harvest celebration, Parliament proclaimed that Canada would have a “day of General Thanksgiving” each year on the second Monday of October. In America, the shopping phenomenon of “Black Friday” occurs on the day after Thanksgiving, when people swarm the stores and shop for holiday sales. However, that has not caught on in Canada yet. Canadians have those kinds of sales on the day after Christmas, December 26th, also known as Boxing Day. http://bit.ly/1o48qpE

Despite the differences between the two Thanksgivings, what Canadians and Americans do agree on is the food! In both countries, families gather to eat pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and lots and lots of turkey. French-speaking Montréal is one exception, though. Thanksgiving is called “action de grâce” and the celebratory meal is quite different. You are more likely to find smoked mackerel on the tables there than turkey. The mackerel can be folded into warm potato salad, formed into cakes and topped with tartar sauce, puréed into pâté, or served on toast with cream cheese and pickled onions.

Maybe this year you should suggest adding smoked mackerel to your family’s usual Thanksgiving menu!

Oct
8
2014

Ancient Egypt Activity Sheet

As Halloween approaches many of us are on the hunt for the perfect mask, but did you know that in Ancient Egypt masks and headdresses were worn by different members of the Royal Court year round? Download this activity from our World Edition’s Egypt package and learn about the different headdresses that were worn. You might even find some inspiration for your own perfect Egyptian costume!

Download our free printable activity sheet here:

Still looking for Halloween costume inspiration? Check out our Pinterest board filled with global themed ideas for the kiddos: http://bit.ly/1xmz0dla

 

Oct
1
2014

It’s World Vegetarian Day!

Sure, you know what broccoli looks like. And just last night, you tried to sneak your green beans to your cat. But can you picture a kohlrabi? Did you know that in Mexico, it’s common to serve cactus for dinner?

In honor of World Vegetarian Day on October 1, we went digging for the globe’s most interesting vegetables – and how to eat them. Here, we offer up some of our favorite discoveries. We guarantee you won’t be trying to hide any of them beneath your mashed potatoes.

Tiger nuts


Though they look may look and taste like nuts, tiger nuts are actually tiny tubers – the part of a plant that stores nutrients. Tiger nuts belong to a family of grass-like sedge plants. An important food for the ancient Egyptians (tubers were found in tombs dating back some 6,000 years), today they are cherished in Spain and Nigeria, where they are used to make a sweet, milk-like drink, often flavored with cinnamon or vanilla. Both countries have a unique name and recipe for the delicious drink. Try it both ways!

Kunnu Aya (Nigeria): http://bit.ly/ZibYZX
Horchata de Chufa (Spain): http://bit.ly/1nBhemo

Kohlrabi


Just about every part of the kohlrabi plant can be eaten (raw or cooked), from its leaves to its stems to its bizarrely-shaped root. In the same family as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, kohlrabi is particularly popular in Kashmir, the northwestern region of India. It also appears in nutritionist Jonny Bowden’s book, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” in which he describes this curious-looking vegetable as a “cross between an octopus and a space capsule.” You can prepare kohlrabi in tons of scrumptious ways. Our favorite? Home fries.

Kohlrabi Home Fries: http://nyti.ms/1CByWtc

Nopales

It might seem strange to put a prickly pear cactus on your plate, but if you’re digging into nopales, you’re doing just that (don’t worry, the prickles are removed). A native of Mexico, nopales frequently star in stews, salads, chilies and eggs—and as soon as they’re grilled, their name changes! Cooked nopales are called “nopalitos.” We like them best that way, especially when wrapped in a tortilla and served taco-style.

Nopales Tempura Tacos: http://bit.ly/1rz0cVE

Romanesco

This edible flower would ace math class. Its electric-green, intricate florets comprise a naturally-occurring Fibonacci fractal (think repetitive, spiral patterns). Cultivated by Italian farmers as far back as the 1600s, Romanesco (like kohlrabi, above) is in the same family as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Season it with red pepper flakes, lemon, and garlic, then sauté it in olive oil for an irresistible dish.

Sautéed Romanesco: http://bit.ly/1qP49QZ

 

Do YOU have a fun vegetable recipe? Tell us in the comments!