Apr
16
2014

Earth Day Activity: Seed Paper Globes

Spread the word about Earth Day with this fun craft project. Create Seed Paper Globes that you can give to friends and family on their own, or use them to make a card. The globes can be planted right in the ground, and then watch the flowers grow!

Seed Paper Globes

What You Will Need

  • 5-6 pieces of recycled paper
  • Food coloring (alternatively, use colored paper)
  • Seeds (small, thin seeds work best)
  • Biscuit cutter
  • Piece of screen material or a splatter screen
  • Cooling rack

Instructions

  1. Rip the pieces of paper into small bits and place into bowls. You’ll need one bowl for each color you want to use. For the globes, we used one bowl for blue and one smaller bowl for green.
  2. Add warm water and mix well so all of the paper is soaked.
  3. Add a few drops of the food coloring, as desired. (Alternatively, you can use colored paper and simply add warm water.)
  4. Let the paper soak in the water for 3-5 hours, or overnight.
  5. When the paper is well soaked, mix the paper into a pulp using a hand mixer (with an adult's help!), and then drain any excess water. Leave enough water to make sure the paper is very moist!
  6. Add your seeds to the pulp and mix by hand. Very small flower seeds, such as snapdragons or sweet William, work well. You could also use carrot seeds if you prefer to create an edible garden!
  7. Put the piece of screen material over the cooling rack. Place the biscuit cutter on the screen. Spoon some of the blue pulp into the center of the biscuit cutter and press down to fill the circle. Press and spread the mixture to make a uniform thickness of about ¼” thick. Add some ‘continents’ by pressing green pulp bits on top.
  8. Leave the screen in a warm spot and let dry for about 24 hours day. Next to a sunny window is best. If after 24 hours you find your globes aren’t completely dry, a hair dryer can help speed things along – but have an adult help!
  9. When your globes are completely dry, carefully remove them from the screen. Now, you can share them as is, or paste them on construction paper or cardstock to create an Earth Day card. Our crafter has made these into cards with important Earth Day tips, such as “If you are not using the light turn it off" and "Don't leave the water running when brushing your teeth.”

Apr
3
2014

Celebrate Earth Day with Little Passports!

Earth Day is coming up on Tuesday, April 22! All month long, people around the world will gather in their communities to celebrate.

Here at Little Passports we know that global adventure wouldn’t be possible without a globe to explore. It’s up to each of us to learn about our planet and help to keep it healthy. It should be no surprise, then, that Earth Day is one of our favorite holidays.

In light of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit Southeast Asia in 2013, young people in the Philippines are holding a convention called “Sulong! Power Shift Pilipinas.” “Sulong” means “forward” in the Filipino language of Tagalog. They want everyone in the Philippines to talk to their friends, neighbors and leaders about using sustainable energy sources instead of fossil fuels like gas, coal and oil.

Sustainable energy sources can replenish themselves (such as wind and water) and have a lesser impact on the environment.  There are many Earth Day celebrations around the world which focus on helping cities switch to these types of energy sources and becoming ““green” cities.

In Kenya, they are organizing a number of “green-city” events such as city cleanups and tree planting ceremonies at schools. In Uganda, they will hold special raffles, football matches and competitions to bring awareness to conservation projects in the country.

The Saskatchewan Environmental Society in Canada is holding the “25 Acts of Energy Conservation” campaign. They are challenging people at home and in schools to take 25 steps to save energy and water and to reduce waste. In an effort to help people stay on track, the society will be posting daily tips. They are even holding a contest for the top 25 acts!

In the United States, schools celebrate Earth Day by planting trees, cleaning public parks and creating public awareness about ways we can keep the Earth healthy. Here are a few simple ways Sam and Sofia try to keep Earth clean.

  • Reduce – use less electricity and water
  • Reuse – use things like aluminum bottles to carry drinking water instead of buying plastic bottles
  • Recycle – dispose of paper and plastic in “recyclable” baskets so they can be made into new things using less energy

 

What will your school or community be doing to celebrate Earth Day this year?

 

Mar
17
2014

Celebrate Holi with a Colorful Powder Recipe

What better way to welcome spring than by dowsing your friends – and complete strangers! – with colored powder and water? That’s exactly what happens during Holi, a spring festival most popularly celebrated in India and Nepal. The event is often referred to as the Festival of Colors, and its main purpose is to celebrate the beginning of spring. Indians say goodbye to the cold of winter and rejoice in the bright colors of a new season.

Learn more about the festival and bring a splash of color to your day with our Holi powder recipe below!

Holi takes place on the last full moon of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), and the traditions of Holi are as diverse as the colors of spring.

In some states, a pot of buttermilk is hung high above the street in honor of the Hindu god Krishna who is know for a fondness of – you guessed it – buttermilk. During the celebration, dancers make human pyramids to try to reach the pot and spill the milk. While they reach, others throw colored water and powder on the pyramids as a distraction. (Krishna is also known for his playful tricks!)

Holi is a brilliant way to liven your spirit and welcome the arrival of spring. Bring a dash of color to your season with our colored powder recipe. (And be warned – things get messy during Holi!)

Celebrate Holi with a Colorful Powder Recipe

What You Will Need

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water (give or take)
  • Food coloring

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour and water in a large bowl until it forms a thick paste.
  2. Add your favorite food coloring to the paste and mix it in with your hands. (You may want to wear gloves!)
  3. Scoop the paste from the bowl and form it into a ball with your hands.
  4. Use a rolling pin to flatten the ball into a disc that is about 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Let the disc sit over night, until it has completely dried.
  6. Use a coffee grinder to crumble the disc back into powder.

Notes

- Warning: this recipe gets messy!

Mar
13
2014

St. Patrick’s Day Around the World

St. Patrick’s Day began as a holiday to remember the life of St. Patrick who did good work in Ireland in the late 5th Century. But over the years, St. Patrick’s Day has become more of a day to simply celebrate being Irish. Traditional symbols of the holiday are shamrocks, leprechauns, and of course, wearing the color green!

Across the world, people who want to celebrate head to parades and events whether they’re really “Irish” or not. Take a look at the special festivities planned in each of these countries.

Australia

In Brisbane, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations spread over ten days and include not only a parade, Irish dancing, dinners, and boxing matches, but also a Family Sports Day which includes Gaelic Football and other Gaelic sports!

Japan

In Tokyo, over 1,000 people wearing green will take part in their parade this year. They also host an International Collegiate Festival with workshops where you can learn Irish dance, play Irish music, and enjoy a full day of concerts!

Ireland

Dublin hosts a giant four day festival featuring a parade with marching bands from all over the world. They also hold a fair with carousels, roller coasters and Ferris wheels and an Enchanted Banquet which includes a “curious evening” with plenty of Irish fables, fairy tales and folklore. The festivities begin with famous buildings like the Blarney Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Bank of Ireland being lit green!

United States

The United States hosts St. Patrick’s Day parades in over 100 cities. One of the biggest is in the city of Chicago, who famously dyes its river green for the day! After the huge parade which draws thousands of people, you can head to the St. Patrick’s Day Festival at the Irish American Heritage Center and listen to Irish music, dance, and of course eat good old Irish food and drinks!

St. Patrick’s Day is only a few days away!  Sam and Sofia are trying to decide where around the world to celebrate.  Will you help them decide where to go? Visit our Facebook page to vote.

Folk Group Photo Credit: Zvonimir Atletic / Shutterstock.com
St. Patrick’s Day Parade: KengAduldej / Shutterstock.com
Trinity College Photo Credit: Semmick Photo/Shutterstock.com 
Chicago River Photo Credit: gary yim/Shutterstock.com 
Mar
5
2014

Famous Women in History

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a chance to focus on the accomplishments and advancement of women around the world.

To celebrate, download our printable activity sheet and complete the Famous Women in History quiz. Test your knowledge of these important and amazing women! Check back tomorrow for the answers.

Click here to download: Famous Women In History Activity Sheet

 

 

Feb
26
2014

Build Your Own Mini Mardi Gras Float!

Mardi Gras is here and people all over the country (not just in Louisiana) are celebrating with parades and parties.  The celebrations don’t stop until Tuesday, March 4th, so there is plenty of time for you to join in the fun!

To get in the spirit, Sam and Sofia have sent you instructions on how to make your own Mardi Gras Float.  Maybe you could even gather a few friends and have a parade of your own!

Click here to download our printable instructions: Mardi Gras Float Activity

Feb
12
2014

3 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month!

February is Black History Month, an opportunity to talk with children about race and civil rights, as well as the heritage, accomplishments, and culture of African Americans. Join Sam & Sofia as they explore these 3 ways to celebrate and learn!

1. Read a Book

Spark a conversation by reading children’s books that highlight our nation’s African American heroes and their achievements. Here are a few inspiring selections:

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., By Doreen Rappaport
An introduction to Dr. King’s life and message, this picture book pairs age-appropriate educational material with beautiful images.


The Story of Ruby Bridges
, By Robert Coles
The inspiring story of a courageous 6-year old girl who helped shape US history by being the first African American child to go to an all-white school.

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, By Kadir Nelson

This gorgeously illustrated book tells the story of the African American baseball league and the challenges they overcame to pursue their passion.

2. Play a Game

Learn to play Mancala, a counting game that originated in Africa and is now popular all over the world!

DIY Activity: It’s easy to make your own Mancala board! Simply get an empty egg carton with 12 small “pits,” trim off the sides, and decorate it with markers or paint. Get two containers (such as bowls) and place one at each end of the egg carton as the “banks,” where players collect their winnings. For the “stones,” you can use small items, such as marbles, beans, or even candy!

For detailed rules on how to play, click here: How to Play Mancala

3. Take a Trip

Visit a landmark, attraction, or museum, celebrating black history. An interactive and engaging field trip is a great way to capture a child’s interest! Here are some ideas:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial (Washington, D.C.)
  • Booker T. Washington National Monument (Franklin County, Virginia)
  • Tuskegee Airmen National Museum (Detroit, MI)
  • Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience (Permanent exhibition at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY)

For more hands-on activities celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., check out our Pinterest board.

Feb
7
2014

Winter Olympics: Fun Quiz!

Test your knowledge of the Winter Olympics! The answers are at the bottom.

1. The first Winter Olympics were held in 1924! Where did they take place?

a. St. Moritz, Switzerland
b. Chamonix, France
c. Innsbruck, Austria
d. Lake Placid, United States

2. Which country has won the greatest number of total Winter Olympic medals?

a. Canada
b. United States
c. Germany
d. Norway

3. What are the Sochi Olympic mascots?

a. The brown bear, the Siberian tiger, and the fox
b. Father Frost, and a pair of snow mittens
c. The snow leopard, the polar bear, and the hare
d. Matryoshka dolls

4. Which of these is a new event at the 2014 Winter Olympics?

a. Ice dancing
b. Luge team relay
c. Snow kayaking
d. Speed snowshoeing

5. All of these countries have hosted both summer and winter Olympic games, EXCEPT for:

a. Japan
b. Italy
c. Great Britain
d. Canada

6. The Sochi Olympic torch was the first to_____________.

a. Travel to outer space
b. Go underwater in a submarine
c. Go to 50 countries
d. Have 20,000 torch bearers

 

Answers: 1)b, 2)d, 3)c, 4)b, 5)c, 6)a

Feb
5
2014

Winter Olympics: Symbols of Sochi Spirit!

The Winter Olympic Games take place in Sochi, Russia this year! Host Countries and Cities love incorporating distinctive cultural details throughout each Olympics to share their history and spirit with the world. What are some features that make the 2014 Winter Olympics’ symbols unique?

Join Sam and Sofia as they learn about three of the Sochi Games’ distinctive symbols—the torch, medals, and mascots!

The Olympic Torch

The countdown to the Games kicks off with the Olympic torch relay, which delivers the Olympic flame from Olympia, Greece to the Host City through a series of runners. For the Sochi Games, each runner carries an eye-catching, red and silver torch.

The torch’s curved shape is inspired by the feather of the golden Firebird, a mythical creature celebrated in Russian fairytales and folklore. According to one legend, the Firebird’s feathers “light the way” and bring good fortune and happiness. You might notice patterns inspired by the Firebird and its feathers throughout the Sochi Games. For example, look for them on Team Russia’s uniforms!

The Olympic Medals

The top three finishers in every event will receive one of the 2014 Winter Olympic medals. They are metal and feature an etched glass-like insert with jagged edges resembling mountain peaks and the seashore. This design highlights Sochi’s unique position between the cold snow-capped Caucasus Mountains and the warm sandy beaches of the Black Sea.

The medals also feature the Sochi Olympics’ recognizable “Patchwork Quilt” design, a mosaic of 16 traditional patterns that celebrate Russia’s rich traditions and cultural diversity. Keep an eye out for the colorful quilt design everywhere at the Games, such as on the torch bearers’ outfits and Olympic souvenirs!

The Olympic Mascots

Sam and Sofia are excited to meet the Snow Leopard, the Hare and the Polar Bear—the 2014 winter Games’ mascots! The Sochi Olympics invited everyone in Russia to submit their ideas for the mascots, and to vote for their favorite from the finalists. Officials selected the top three finishers, representing the three places on the awards podium, as the official mascots.

These three native Russian animals represent the country’s spirit and embody the Olympic values. The Polar Bear is depicted as friendly, intelligent and always striving for new athletic heights, while the Hare is an excellent student and loves sports. Tough and strong, the choice of the Snow Leopard, a native of Sochi’s nearby Caucasus Mountains and a critically endangered species, draws attention to Russia’s increasing focus on animal conservation. Look for the three Olympic mascots spreading joy and Olympic spirit throughout the Games!

Sam and Sofia can’t wait to join their friends in Russia to support athletes from around the world. They are very excited to keep an eye out for all of these Olympic symbols as they watch the Winter Games this year!

Olympic Torch Photo Credit: Timofeev Sergey / Shutterstock.com
Olympic Mascots Photo Credit: life_is_fantastic / Shutterstock.com

Jan
28
2014

Winter Olympics: Fun & Simple Torch Craft!

Are you and your little ones excited about the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics? Get in the Olympics spirit with this awesome tissue paper torch craft!

For updates on our latest blog entries, crafts and activities, visit the Little Passports homepage and subscribe to our newsletter. Stay tuned for more Little Passports Winter Olympics fun!

Olympic Torch Craft

What You Will Need

  • Paper Towel or Toilet Paper Tube
  • Tissue Paper (Red, Yellow, Orange)
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Instructions

  1. Cut your tissue paper into six 6-inch squares — two squares for each color.
  2. "Stack" the squares on top of each other, saving one of the red squares for the top.
  3. Pick an end of your cardboard tube. Line the inside of the tube with a single ring of glue.
  4. Using your fingers, pinch the center of your stack of tissue paper squares so they gather into a "bunch" of flames. The top red square will be the outside layer of the flames.
  5. Slide the pinched end of the tissue paper about 2 inches into the tube. Press the edges of the paper against the glue.
  6. Wait about 5 minutes for the glue to dry.
  7. Parade around the house with your very own Olympic torch!