Learning About Chinese Food
I would love to get on a plane and jet to Asia. That isn't possible though so we are learning about Asia in the next best ways. In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, I am sharing a little about our Asia Unit today.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month takes place every May and is the celebration of the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. In theory this seems simple enough, but somehow capsuling an entire continent and countless island groups and all of their traditions and history into one month is impossible. I always feel daunted in approaching topics such as these because I am overwhelmed and at a loss as to where to begin. I don't know that I have found the perfect answers, but my advice is to start small and wherever works best for you and your children.
My kids love to eat and cook, so I thought starting with food would be a good way to introduce them to just one of the many, many cultures represented this month.
Learning About Chinese Food with Preschoolers
(affiliate links included below)
We have been utilizing the Little Passports program to delve more into Maps and other places in the world. When I started thinking about how to introduce them to Asia and China, I decided to start with our Little Passports Map. The world is huge and it is hard for young children to really grasp its size. We started by finding Asia on our Little Passports map in our group time area. Then we plotted a course from our home in Mississippi to China on the map. My son felt we should use a water plane (He is fascinated by the idea of landing on the water) and my daughter felt a normal plane would probably be best ("they have airports in China right?" "Yup. They do."). Then they each got to put the Asia sticker on their passport and complete one of the work pages in their passport books. Next, we read a couple of books about Chinese food.
The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine
This amusing tale takes place in Beijing on Chinese New Year. A magical wok that gets traded for, Jack and the Giant Beanstalk style, turns out to be a Robin Hood-esque Wok. He provides a feast, gifts, and money for the poorest family in the city by tricking and stealing from the greedy, wealthy family that has been stealing from them. The illustrations are charming, the story follows a predictable pattern that encouraged my children to anticipate what would happen, and humor is sprinkled throughout. 3+
I enjoy this story for the value of sharing wealth with others, the delightful illustrations, and for introducing a variety of Chinese cultural aspects:
*The word and concept of a Wok.
*Chinese New Year
*Traditional architecture and clothing of the Chinese.
Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take Out by Ted Lewin
Continuing with the food theme, this book is about a real Chinese food restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. A Chinese American family owns the restaurant and the story is told through the eyes of their son. He wakes up excited to help out his parents in their restaurant on Saturday. The story follows him through the day watching the chefs prepare food, his mom and aunt take orders, customers both regular and new ordering, to the end of the day with a dinner surprise. The illustrations, based on photos taken of the real Kum Kau restaurant, are beautiful and capture the characters and place with authenticity. A simple recipe for Buddha's Delight is included at the back. 3+
I love the behind the scenes look at a Chinese Restaurant and this book obviously made me want some Chinese Take Out. We talked about the wide variety of vegetables used to prepare their food and noticed the many different people from neighbors to mail carriers to fire fighters that stopped by for yummy food.
That afternoon for our Snack + Table Invitation time we made dumplings. They were pretty simple to make and had the added bonus of some great fine motor skill practice.
First they filled the dumpling shell with some veggies and soy sauce.
Then they folded them in half and pressed down the edges.
I boiled some water while they were finishing their dumplings and then they helped drop their dumplings into the pot when they were done.
After a couple of minutes they were cooked.
When they cooled off we had a taste. Just for fun we also tried dipping them in soy sauce and sweet & sour sauce to compare.
That night when Daddy got home for work we went and picked up Chinese take out at the restaurant near our house. It reminded us a lot of the restaurant in the Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take Out book. We tried some of the dishes from the book and of course, lots of rice. Their favorite part? Attempting to learn how to use chopsticks.
The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine
Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take Out by Ted Lewin
Ingredients for Making Dumplings
Now go check out the other fantastic ideas for exploring different Asian & Pacific-Islander cultures from our blogging buddies.
Multicultural Kid Blogs is excited to announce our second annual Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series and Giveaway! See our main page for a full schedule, and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway below!
The giveaway starts Monday, May 4 and goes through Monday, June 1. Enter for a chance to win one of these amazing prizes!
Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.
Personal Tea Ceremony Gift Set from Gift a Feast Includes everything you need to prepare and enjoy matcha, the tea served in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Enjoy being part of the journey of matcha tea from the temples of 12th century Buddhist monks to today! US shipping only
Calin Yang Doll from Pattycake Doll Company For the parents of Multicultural, Biracial, Black or Asian children, finding that perfect doll used to be a challenge. But today all that has changed. Pattycake Doll Company is the recognized source for Black, Asian, Hispanic, Biracial, and Multicultural Dolls as well as Dolls for Boys, and donate 10% of profits to children's charities. This month's contest winner will receive the most popular Asian Baby Doll in the world - Calin Yang by Corolle.
Asian Kites from Tuttle Publishing Kids will learn how to make colorful kites while exploring Asian culture and history with this easy-to-follow crafts for kids book.
All About Japan from Tuttle Publishing 2012 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award Winner! A cultural adventure for kids, All About Japan offers a journey to a new place—and ways to bring it to life! Dive into stories, play some games from Japan, learn some Japanese songs.
Hello, Bali from Kids Yoga Stories Say good day to the magical island of Bali through these energizing yoga poses for kids. Join one of the Yoga Kids, Anamika, as you surf like a surfer, dance like a Balinese dancer, and sit like a monkey. Included is a list of Kids Yoga Poses, Basic Indonesian phrases, and a Parent-Teacher Guide with tips on creating a successful yoga experience.
The 1st Prize Package includes:
Udon Noodle Bowls from Uncommon Goods Whether you're hosting a dinner party or lounging on the couch, this creation is ideal for udon, soup or stir-fry. A blend of a mug and a bowl, the handmade piece is contoured to fit snugly in the palm of your hand. Black lacquer bamboo chopsticks included. US Shipping only
Japanese House Architectural Blocks Set from HABA One of the oldest cultures in the world also has one of the most beautiful forms of architecture. Complicated multi-tier roofs and ornate pagodas allow the builder to create temples, palaces or calming formal gardens. With this set your child can take their imagination on a trip to Japan in the safety of their own living room. US/Canada Shipping Only
All About Indonesia from Tuttle Publishing A book for children that takes them on an adventure through one of the world's largest and most culturally diverse countries. Along the way, kids are introduced to Indonesian culture and history, the food, the language, and the natural beauty of this fascinating country!
Fun with Asian Food from Tuttle Publishing This Asian cookbook for kids contains fun and easy recipes that children will love to cook and dishes that even the pickiest eaters will savor!
Indian Children's Favorite Stories from Tuttle Publishing This colorfully illustrated multicultural children's book presents Indian fairy tales and other folk stories—providing insight into a rich literary culture.
The 2nd Prize Package includes:
Sushi Slicing Play Set from Melissa & Doug This elegant 24-piece wooden sushi play-food set is packed in a beautiful storage box and includes sliceable sushi rolls, shrimp, tuna, easy-use chopsticks, a cleaver and more. Sushi rolls make realistic chopping sounds when sliced! US/Canada Shipping Only
Countryside from Kevin So An album filled with "heartfelt great songs, great singing and great playing...simply something you'll love if you're a fan of originality, melody, surprising lyrics and beautiful instrumentation, beautifully played." Learn more about this artist and listen to samples of his work here.
Book from the Maui New Zealand series from Global Kids Oz Enjoy a book of from this collection of New Zealand Maori Myths and Legends that every New Zealand child is brought up with in school!
Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella from Lee & Low In the first English retelling of this ancient Cambodian tale, our heroine goes further, survives more, and has to conquer her own mortality to regain her rightful place. Angkat—child of ashes—endures great wrongs as she seeks to rise above the distresses caused by her own family. US Shipping only
Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments from Lee & Low Including both flights of fancy and practical considerations, lively poems capture each child’s musical experience with a different Chinese instrument, while sidebars provide more information about each one. US Shipping only
Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story from Lee & Low The incredible true story of the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal. Winner of Lee & Low's New Voices Award. US Shipping only
Juna's Jar from Lee & Low When her best friend moves away, Juna sets out to search for him with the help of a special jar. What Juna finds is that adventure—and new friends—can be found in the most unexpected places. US Shipping only
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow from Lee & Low A powerful story of hope, recounting the little known tale of the art schools that offered moments of solace and self-expression to Japanese Americans in the US internment camps of World War II. US Shipping only
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