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Art and Science in Poland

Exploring Art and Science in Poland

My three kids and I are always thrilled to find another blue-and-white Little Passports envelope waiting for us in the mail. Still, my face must have registered extra special delight this month at reading the word “Poland” stamped on the outside. I have a special connection to Poland, albeit more than once removed. My aunt and uncle went to live in Poland (Gdynia and Elbląg) for several years when I was young. I remember being awed by their spirit of adventure and willingness to drop everything to go live halfway across the world. I found it inspiring, and it was this first connection with wanderlust that would later send me off searching for my own global adventures.

So as we walked back from the mailbox along our country road, I told them the story of my aunt and uncle, their great aunt Susan and their great uncle Dave. Noah handled this month’s souvenir, a dark rock, wondering what it had to do with Poland. Zahra read the letter out loud while walking—an extra special talent, indeed. The very first word was hello in Polish: czesc! She did her best to pronounce it before reading on. As is usual in a letter from Sam or Sofia, this traveling pair meets another child in the country they are visiting. This time, we followed Sam, Sofia, and Delfina through the streets of Warsaw and then Krakow. It all had a magical, old world feel to it. And before we had finished the letter, we understood the significance of the beautiful hematite stone (think stone mines).

Back at home, the kids gathered around the kitchen table to find Poland on the map and stick on their suitcase and passport stickers. Leila opened the Poland activity booklet in search of a matching game or the like. But this month, there was a science experiment, and so Leila got to play at being Marie Curie. The experiment was simple, and we had everything we needed in the kitchen. First, Leila measured one cup of milk and poured it into a pan.

Adding a few drops of food coloring was next, followed by a few drops of liquid dish soap. (Safety glasses not necessary—unless you’re really trying to channel your inner scientist.) Leila loved watching the swirly designs in the milk, and my older two were intrigued by Marie Curie’s long list of achievements.

There was also a fun maze activity and—our favorite—a recipe! Who doesn’t like potato pancakes? The placki kartoflane made a great afternoon snack, and once again, we took turns trying to guess how to pronounce this savory treat in Polish. And then Zahra said, “Let’s ask Aunt Susan!” Global adventures being a little easier these days than in times past, we shot a quick video and emailed it off. I’m happy to say, we can now eat and say placki kartoflane with confidence.