Around the World in 8 Days: Part 2

This week we finish up our trip around the world with Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica! If you missed the first half of these plans, go back to Around the World in 8 Days: Part 1 for the introduction and first 3 continents…and of course, don’t forget to zoom over to my toddler post Little World Traveler: Part 2” for more fun activities like a Chinese paper lantern craft and a save the penguins sensory play activity. Don’t forget to color each continent and country on maps as you visit them and put stickers or stamps in your “passports”!


Literacy: Japan- Haiku writing: I thought it would be fun to teach my little about syllables and try having him write his first haiku- a 3 lined Japanese poem about nature that follows the pattern of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. First we discussed what syllables are- the beats you count in words. We practiced with a few different words like mommy, daddy, and all of our names then I helped him count the syllables out as he thought of each line of the poem. He did a great job and grasped the concept really quickly for his first go at it! Of course his poem is about Jaws… (which he’s obsessed with but hasn’t seen because violence and language…)

Math: China- Tangrams: We read “Grandfather Tang’s Story” and as we read we used a set of tangrams I printed and laminated to make each animal like he did! I did the first one then had my little try a few on his own then we did the rest as a team.

Science/Social studies: Thailand- I read the book “Elephant in the Backyard” to my littles which is about elephants who are basically members of the family in a village in Thailand called Tha Klang. If you want to, you could also make cute elephant ear headbands by cutting the ears out of grey paper and stapling them to some strips taped in a circle to fit your little’s head! Then you could set up an “elephant school” like in the book with obstacles for your little to climb over and on. (My boys are not super pumped about wearing any homemade head decorations so we just read the story! LoL)

Art: India- Pattern block mandalas: First we looked at some Indian mandalas online then we broke out the pattern blocks and tried to make a few ourselves. My little had a bit of a hard time getting the concept of fitting the shapes together (the photo is my own mandala) so printing a guide might be a good idea instead of letting them go free hand- at least for the first one!

Book list:

Food: China- Unwrapped eggrolls: So this isn’t a traditional eggroll recipe, but it’s so easy and delicious and is a huge hit with my whole family so I figured I’d throw it in here! They’re made in the instant pot, but if you don’t have one they can easily be sautéed in a large pan. Also, they’re less daunting to whip up than traditional eggrolls because you don’t actually wrap them but bake the shells in the oven then use them as scoops to eat the filling! They’re especially good with sweet and sour sauce mixed in!

Korea- Korean beef: This is straight from the kitchen of my friend who’s half Korean and it’s seriously SO GOOD! You just mince 3 garlic cloves, mix them with 1 tsp fresh grated ginger, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of soy sauce and a diced scallion. Then pour the sauce over skirt steak cut into strips and pop it in the fridge overnight! You can cook them in a pan on the stove for 1-2 minutes per side, throw in some fresh broccoli and serve over jasmine rice for a full meal!

Middle East- Shawarma: True Middle Eastern shawarma (I googled it and it doesn’t come from a particular country) is sort of akin to Greek gyro meat only with different spices. It’s traditionally served as a street food. It’s cooked on an upright spit and pieces are shaved off and put into pita bread to eat. This is a sheet pan recipe sooooo it’s not super authentic in the way it’s cooked, but the spices are all there and they make this meal to die for! This recipe is also a vegetarian version- if you want to make it with chicken thrown in too just double your shawarma sauce, dice up some chicken breasts and add it on in! I’ve made it both ways and they’re both really tasty! I serve mine with tahini sauce drizzled on top and naan on the side.


Literacy: African country sound it out and syllable practice- I wrote several African countries on note cards and helped my little sound them out by saying each letter sound which he put together into words. Then we reviewed syllables and I had him tell me how many syllables were in each country’s name.

Math: Kenya- bead necklace patterns: the Masai, among other African people groups, are well known for their beaded jewelry so we reviewed what repeating patterns are then I had my little make an A, B, C pattern with 3 bead colors of his choice on the table. Then he strung them on a necklace!

Science/Social studies: Malawi- “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” story and craft: First we read “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind”, an amazing true story about a boy named William in Malawi who- when his people were starving because of a drought that killed their crops- learned how to build an electricity generating windmill to pump water for irrigation in his village and saved them from starvation! He built it using junk he found at the dump and by reading a book he got at the library! SO inspiring! (They also made a movie about it with the same title- it’s really good!) After the story, I had my little cut 3 long strips and 1 short one from a piece of brown construction paper and glue them together to make the base. Then I drew a 3D X on a piece of white paper and had him cut that out. I attached the X to his base with a brad fastener to finish the windmill.

Art: Ghana- Sponge painting kente cloth: First we read the story “Seven Spools of Thread”. Then I cut some sponges into shapes- squares, thick and thin rectangles and triangles. I poured some red, orange, yellow, green, blue and black paint on plates and placed one sponge in each color- I used permanent acrylic craft paint so it wouldn’t come out when washed. Then I had my littles use the sponges to make rows of each shape (Walmart only gave us one shirt, so I just had them take turns and it was fine!) to make a kente cloth style shirt like in the story! TIP: This paint does NOT wash out of clothes. Before you begin, strip your little down to his or her diaper (or undies b/c who cares if they get paint on those!) so they don’t end up staining their clothes like mine did! Hastily trying to scrub paint out of fabric while two young kids are hanging out with the rest of said permanent paint is NOT fun! LOL (Hindsight 20/20 am I right?!)

Book list:

Food: Kenya- Githeri: This is a traditional bean and corn stew from the Kikuyu people in Kenya. I haven’t had a chance to cook it up yet, but it looks super yummy and is going on our menu for next week! If any of you try it let me know how it is!

Ghana- Chichinga: I haven’t had a chance to try this dish yet either, but it looks delicious! My family loves kebabs (it’s one of my favorite foods!) and they’re really fun to try with different sauces and spices- this one is made with a spicy peanut sauce! It’s also going on my menu next week though I’ll probably skip the spice on my little’s portions!

Malawi- Chicken curry: This comes straight from the kitchen of my friend Èmarie, who is from Malawi and not only is it delicious, my littles both ate it up with gusto (my youngest usually skips dinner…no lie. One bite and a cup of milk is normal for him because he’s so picky! His catch phrase at dinner is “I no like dat.” so I was pumped that he actually ate!) It’s really easy to put together too- definitely an all around win for busy mamas (and dads!) Ok so you’ll need 1/2 of a white onion, chicken drumsticks (I used breasts since I had some on hand), a can of tomatoes, curry, garlic, a chicken stock cube and rice. She bakes the thighs in the oven at 365 until almost done- since I was using breasts I just diced them and cooked them in a pan on the stove with the onion (also diced) and a little oil. Break up the chicken cube and add that with a teaspoon of curry and a pinch of garlic while stirring continuously. Throw in the can of tomatoes- if they’re not already diced, smash them with a potato masher in the pan (just move the chicken to the side if you cooked it in the pan). Add 1/2 cup of water and let it simmer for 30 minutes or so. If you cooked the chicken in the oven, add it at this point and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve on top of rice and you have a super yummy authentic Malawaian curry!


Literacy: Read and retell- We read “Diary of a Wombat” then I had my little retell the story to me.

Math: Australian animal number tracing- I printed a set of Australian animal number tracing pages from Kid Sparkz then had my little trace and say the numbers 1-10.

Science/Social studies: Digeridoo music and craft- We listened to some digeridoo music on Alexa and I had my littles paint paper towel tubes to make their own digeridoos. I have to give props to my dad for this one- when we were kids he used to play wrapping paper tubes like they were digeridoos, totally convinced they sounded authentic until he got his own real one! hahaha He can even do circular breathing to play it continuously like the Aboriginal people, which is seriously impressive! (You breathe in through your nose while at the same time breathing out through your mouth!) To play them, purse your lips together and force air out to make a sort of buzzing sound into the tube. You can use your tongue to try to make the traditional sort of boing sound that the Aboriginal people do too!

Art: Boomerang craft- We talked about how Aboriginal people- the first people to live in Australia- used boomerangs to hunt with. They would throw them at the animal they were hunting then it would return to the hunter if they missed so they saved time in having to go get their weapon for another throw. Ours didn’t return- but they flew great! To make them, I cut out a boomerang shape (a bit like a wide V with rounded edges) from cardstock and had my littles decorate them with do-a-dot markers. Then I taped them to a piece of thick cardboard in the same shape (you can trace your original then cut it out of the cardboard so they match up) using packing tape. We had a blast throwing them all over the house!

Book list:

Food: Australia- Rissoles and other yummies from down under: Since Australia is really just made up of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea I pulled all of my Australian (the continent) recipes from Australia (the country). In the yummies from down under link you’ll find classics like an Australian burger with the lot, Aussie meat pies, and shrimp on the barbie among others. The recipe we tried was one I’d never heard of- rissoles. Rissoles are kind of a cross between a meatball and a hamburger and are absolutely delicious! They’re made with pretty much every sauce you have in the fridge and a great with a side salad or some green beans.


Literacy: Penguin sound it out spelling activity- I printed this penguin cvc sound it out activity (CVC is the consonant vowel consonant spelling pattern) from Teachers Pay Teachers then I laminated the cards and cut them out. I had my little “read” the picture on each card, then tell me the letter sound he heard at the beginning, middle and end of each word. Then he wrote the letters down to spell each word. We did each sound and letter one at a time (ie. for “jet” I would ask “What sound do you hear at the beginning of jet?” and he’d tell me “J” then write it down)

Math: Penguin adding and subtracting- I printed this penguin subtraction page then turned half the problems into addition problems. I went over what the plus and minus signs meant, then we practiced a few problems together (ie. I would say, “What’s the first number?” My little would tell me, then build the number by putting that many penguin erasers in the “pond” on the page. Then I would say, “What does this symbol mean?” he would add penguins to the pond or take penguins out according to if we were adding or subtracting. Then he’d count the penguins in the pond to get his answer and write it down.) If you don’t have penguin erasers, you can print and cut out the penguins that come along with the math pages or use white pom poms (ie. snowballs).

Science/Social studies: Antarctic temperature study- First I asked my little what temperature is. After discussing it we used our digital thermometer to measure the temperature of each other, inside the house, and outside the house. We tried to measure ice too since Antarctica is covered in snow and ice, but the thermometer just kept reading “low” (probably because it’s for measuring people, not the world- it would’ve been better if we’d used an old fashioned mercury thermometer but I didn’t feel like pulling it out of the pool! LoL) Then we discussed the temperature in Antarctica (the average is -67 degrees in the winter in some places!) and how scientists have to dress very warm because the weather is so cold. We extended this knowledge to what we wear at different temperatures to keep our bodies comfortable. Then we made a giant thermometer to hang on his door with temperatures and examples of what to wear in each temperature to stay comfortable. I told my little he could ask Alexa what the weather was each morning, then use that information to find the number on the thermometer and choose what to wear based on that information (a brilliant idea from my friend Kim who was trying to get her little to wear a coat in the winter without a fight!)

Art: Penguin footprint art- First I had my littles cut out ice bergs from white paper (I helped my toddler by holding the paper for him- he still cuts with scissors like they’re garden sheers with one hand on each handle, but is able to cut out rough shapes if I maneuver the paper for him!) Then we cut out waves and glued our ice bergs in the waves, then stuck them to light blue papers. I painted my little’s feet black with orange toes and made prints on the paper using their feet. When they were dry I added wings, eyes and beaks then my littles added snowflakes with their fingertips.

Food: So I thought scientists in Antarctica probably just ate easy stuff like ramen noodles, but they actually have a legit cafeteria that serves up regular food from whatever country they’re from! They have a few small hydroponic greenhouses to grow vegetables in the winter (although they must use grow lights because it’s dark 24/7 all winter long…) since the planes and boats that fly in fresh produce can’t get to the island in the terrible winter weather. There are a few “traditional” Antarctic recipes I dug up from the site Cool Antarctica, which is published by Paul Ward who actually went there on a 2 year expedition to study marine biology. These are simple, high calorie foods that scientists typically eat out in the field to keep their energy up in the freezing temperatures (you burn a lot of it off just trying to stay warm!) They include sledging biscuit, pemmican (a meat/fat bar), and hoosh (a stew made from crumbled sledging biscuit and pemmican). Fresh baked bread is also a staple, and simply cooked fresh vegetables, which are savored after an entire winter of not having them. We didn’t make any of these delicacies this week, but I might whip up some of Shackleton’s bannocks this weekend just for fun!

Supply/shopping list:

  • book “Elephant in the Backyard”
  • book “Diary of a Wombat”
  • pattern blocks
  • beads
  • string
  • brad connector
  • white t-shirt
  • acrylic paint
  • sponges
  • paper towel tube
  • card board box
  • penguin erasers or white pom poms

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