Pick a country and plan a theme night with your children. They will have a wonderful, hands-on, learning experience about other countries (and you will, too!).
This is a lot of fun! Pick a country with your children that you'd like to learn about and create fun activities and foods that represent that particular country. For example...we are going to have an Italian night. Since my mother's family is from Sicily, I thought this would be a fun place to start. We are going to learn about the country through our globe, read books about Italy at our library (not to mention talk to our relatives), and cook and do activities that represent that country. Here is how you can plan for fun theme nights in your Planner Perfects. If you don't have Planner Perfect, check out my ebook and/or planner to purchase to get started!
In your monthly goal pages in your Planner Perfect, plan to create your theme nights, for me it is March, in your Goal pages. In my March goal pages is where I am writing down all the details of my ideas. I use a header such as *A Day of Italy* and use bullet points beneath it of what I plan to do in detail. Since I homeschool, this fits right into their learning at home, but you don't have to homeschool to have fun learning about another country, this makes for fun summer and birthday ideas and everyone will enjoy the dinner! Keeping within the Italy theme, here are some ideas of what I write in my planner to ensure I have a solid plan for our fun themed day(s)...
Make your own pasta or ravioli and have spaghetti meatballs for dinner. This is fun to do and simple, even if you don't have a pasta machine. If you don't make your own pasta, having the kids help make the meatballs and your own spaghetti sauce is just as fun. Have them help mix the meatball mixture with their hands and help shape into balls, and create an Italian sauce to accompany your pasta. Delizioso!
Visit a local Italian market and see the foods and other market goods from that region. Rotella's bakery is located here where we can watch them make their breads for supermarkets and while we're there, pick-up some french bread to bring home for garlic bread with our spaghetti.
Find out what bakeries or specialty markets are in your area and if they offer tours.
Crafts: Have fun using leftover noodles to glue on construction paper or they can make necklaces out of penne pasta. Another idea is to glue various shapes together to make trains or cars...there are a lot of fun ideas to choose from.
Make an Italian Dessert: Biscotti is made in our family a lot and this recipe is one of a kind. Invented by my grandmother's sister, Martha, she set out to make a soft version of the biscotti at the request of her husband who didn't like the hard, traditional cookie. Your kids will love making these because the dough is to be made into shapes (like your using Playdoh) and baked. A lot of fun for kiddos and then drizzled with a cinnamon, sugar powdered sugar icing to top it off. Tastes like a donut, made in half the time.
Click the biscotti link to get this family recipe over at my blog, Planner Perfect Meals.
Learn some of the language. Learn some of the language and speak what you learned over the dinner table. My kids love Google translator--a little too much. You know it's fun when they're calling each other, stupid, in Italian and all is laughing hysterically! Nice.
Play some Bocce ball. A fun Italian game that will help work off all that spaghetti and meatballs.
Go to your local library or book store and find books on the country your learning about. I love to take them to the book store, order some lattes and chocolate milks and read together. We don't have to be as quiet as the library and we can enjoy our favorite beverages while we're reading!
Print off drawing pages of your country you're studying. Kids love to color and paint and what a fun way to learn Italy's flag colors then to color it! There are a lot of different things to color and here is a link to one of our favorites.
These bullet points are obviously statements of intent for me when I'm writing them in my planner, but I wanted to be able to give you a more detailed example of how to do each goal. There is so much to learn and it can be made fun and done simply if you plan. What I've done is maybe do 2 countries in the week. Using 2 days to fully get all I want to do together, done. Once I have it as goals with all of its details in my specific month's goal pages the fun part is integrating all those plans in my daily pages.
An example might be to go to the book store, color and or do our crafts on one day, and tour an Italian bakery, cook our dinner together and have fun learning some of the language on another. End it with some Bocce ball and biscotti for dessert, and you've had a fun, learning experience, that your planner obliged you to create!
Try Greece, Mexico, or China...can you imagine all the possibilities? If you want to try some of these themed nights in the summer, start dreaming up some ideas in those summer goal pages, now.
That is the power of planning.
Labels: crafts, homeschooling, plan fun, planning a theme night, theme nights