One of the easiest ways to help kids get a taste for a specific culture or historic time period is to give them a taste. Literally.
Currently, we are studying one my favorite packages from one of my favorite curriculum companies: Sonlight Core 5. It's a basic examination of the eastern hemisphere. I just love it. Seriously.
Speaking of love, man, oh, man did I love the Pavlova The Boy and Princess made all by themselves. Good eats from New Zealand, thankyouverymuch, Kiwis (both the fruit and the people)!
I mean how good does that look? Almost as good as it tasted, probably.
Then, today the fam had a Japanese style mini-lunch.
If I had known how wonderfully it would go, it would have been a full lunch. I didn't want to waste money, so I didn't buy a family's worth of sushi. Mistake number one. I also didn't buy a Wee Babe's amount worth of seaweed salad. Mistake number two. Whodathunk it: my two year old kept asking for more seaweed?! Hilarious.
While I figured everyone would enjoy the low table and pillow seating and the chopsticks (in theory while not in practice), I didn't know they'd actually like the food.
It was not only a memorable experience, but a palate pleasing experience. Which is not always the case. And it only required the time to pay for the sushi and seaweed ($9 total) at the grocery and to set up the table.
Taking the time to make a recipe or buy a food that is from a particular time period or a culture is definitely worth it. While kids may not remember names and parts of cells and what they do as much as I'd like, they will remember how a food tasted.
And then they'll remember why they tasted it.
We've made lots of things through the years including: johnny cakes, hard tack, kimchee, Greek cakes, and things as easy as honey soaked figs. You can make the experience as complicated or as simple as you'd like.
There are recipes all over the Internet. You know my favorite phrase here (ok, one of them): Google it. If you'd like an in the hand cookbook, the two I like are Cooking Up US History and Sonlight Cooks.
From Our School to Yours: Make a recipe, buy a food, or go out to eat to experience something with your kids. Give them a true taste of what you are studying and they will remember it well.