During our 4 week New Things challenge with CSMA Club, we’ve visited a new place, played a new game, discovered a new food, and this week we’ve been immersing ourselves in a new culture. Obviously, with work, nursery and everything else going on, we were going to struggle with any culture that’s too exotic.

I would have liked to have done french given N learns french at his nurseries, but we decided on Italy instead.  Not totally new to me (we went to Italy for our honeymoon), but any culture is pretty much new to N, and I though there’d be quite a lot to about and for him to learn.

N does like pasta, plus lots of fish dishes, although isn’t fond on pizza (unless he’s on holiday bizarrely), so one day this week we had macaroni cheese with garlic bread, so I could teach him about Italian foods.

macaroni cheese - eating with toys

I’m not entirely sure why Cow and Tiger wanted pasta too, but N insisted on them having food too.  We talked about the different types of pasta and which ones N liked to eat.  Silly question really as he’ll eat pasta all day given the chance.  And the simpler the better (he picks out the peppers even though he likes them raw), whether with creamy, tomato or meat sauces.

The next day I had the idea of doing a moodboard all about Italy.  I’d found some icons of Italy on the internet, and we flicked through some magazines.  Then N was let loose with the glue.  I was really impressed how well he uses a glue spatula as usually he glues at nursery.  He preferred the pva glue to the glue stick I tried to get him to use.  He doesn’t like the peeling nature of pva glue from fingers though…can’t be my son if he doesn’t enjoy peeling dried glue off fingers!

Italy moodboard

The middle scrawl was meant to be the Italian flag.  I knew I was being hopeful when I drew the outline of the Italian flag and suggested he colour in the green and red parts.  Instead I got red ‘colouring in’.  With a smidgeon of green.  Artistic licence, I suppose!

N loved sticking on all the images and we talked about the different vehicles that Italy is famous for – Fiat, Ferrari, scooters and gondolas.  We talked again about italian meals, football, and the part he was most interested in the Colosseum.  I think it was less about the actual architecture and more about the gladiators and the fighting.  Typical boy!

I had the insane idea that we should dress N in a toga outfit.  I remember my mum made me a toga for when we studied the romans at primary school, and had a roman feast.  I debated cutting a head and arms out of pillowcase which I’m sure would have worked well with a belt.  Instead I had table clothes to hand.  All I can say is that N likes having towels wrapped round him, but not the idea of safety pins (he won’t stand still long enough).  So the toga looked a bit more like a sari, but N liked it.  All he needed then was his leather sandals and a belt…but he wasn’t having any of that.

roman toga tablecloth - italian culture

He looks a tad worried here, but was actually really proud of his Italy board.  We looked at his big map of the world, and found Italy on there too.  Maybe one day he’ll want to go to Italy and we can make a return visit.

italian culture moodboard

(he did the sticking, hence why things are upside down and the wrong way round!)

What cultures are your children interested in?  What tips have you got about finding out about different countries?

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Disclosure: This is week 4 of our CSMA #NewThings Challenge.

15 Comments

  1. What a cutie feeding his furry friends. He certainly looks like he learnt lots about Italy and enjoyed it too 🙂
    #letkidsbekids

  2. Hey you – looks like you had a wonderful time learning about all things Italy. I love it when stuffed toys come to dinner 😉

  3. There is usually at least one topic a year that involves a country at my girl’s school, I try yo extend their learning then.Just like you it’s exploring the food they eat, the language (using Usborne books), landmarks, looking at maps, watching films related to that country and discovery a craft.

    • That’s a good idea, with a school basis for a topic. All I remember doing at primary school was Africa – several times.

      Like the idea of the language side too.

  4. Love the toga outfit. Good idea to make the Italian board, it means he can come back to it and look at it another time.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

    • Yes, must get some more boards, they’re so handy for doing things like this.

  5. What a great project! I’ve not really given talking about other countries much of a go but perhaps I should! 🙂

    • It seems so simple doesn’t it. I suppose lots comes down to time, but a country a week (or a month, let’s not get too enthusiastic!) could be a great way to get children interested. I used to love my ‘Countries of the world’ book when I was a kid

  6. That’s such a cool little project and his little toga just finishes it off. I think Z would love iTaly and the Italian culture as pizza and pasta are two things he’ll actually eat properly 🙂

    • Yes, Italy’s quite approachable for children I think. And easily accessible on the high street for restaurants etc.

  7. Oh you are such a good Mummy! I should start doing things like this with mine, Boo had homework last year to find out about India and we spent ages researching that and she loved it. I love the fact you used food too though so I’m going to copy this idea! 🙂

    • Well, to be honest, I’d probably not have done it off my own back, although I’ve got lots of ideas like this pinned on Pinterest! I guess bringing it to life does help things sink in more, especially if the children are doing any ‘research’.

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