By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein
I got my first passport in college. My son had one before he turned two years old. Thanks to the Internet and relatively easy and accessible travel options, the world is getting a whole lot smaller and our kids are being exposed to a melting pot of diversity from the day they’re born. Check out the fabulous products and family events below and take advantage of your children’s natural curiosity to learn about the world around them. This introduction to the many wonderful cultures that make up our planet Earth will prove useful throughout their entire lives. “It’s a small world after all.”
Béaba Kid Cook Book
If your child is like most, chances are good their palate is limited to chicken nuggets and mac ‘n cheese. Fortunately, the makers of the Beaba Babycook food processor have created the Béaba Kid Cook Book. This 64-page treasure of recipes is full of colorful nutritious, simple and delicious dishes for your child. The cook book was written by a French Chef for French mothers and includes dishes like Compote, Winter Squash Veloute and Langues De Chat cookies. Not only does it creatively incorporate lots of fruits and veggies but it introduces your littlest traveler to many foods found from around the world. Bon appetit! Visit http://www.RightStart.com and BabyEarth.com.
Little Pim Foreign Language Learning DVD Series
When I found out my friend’s husband’s job was being transferred to Paris for 2 years, I instantly thought of Little Pim for her 2 young children (ages 4 and 6). Little Pim is an award-winning foreign language learning DVD series for kids, babies, and toddlers. It comes in eleven different languages (Spanish, Italian, Chinese, German, English, French, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Hebrew, Portuguese) and includes videos, apps, music, books, flash cards and more.
Each video is segmented into 5-minute episodes to accompany a young child’s (age 0-6) attention span and encourage pausing for parent interaction. Our series is designed so that parents can follow along, even if they don’t speak the language themselves! Kids love the cartoon panda, Little Pim, who serves as the series’ teacher and guide. Visit http://www.littlepim.com.
The Ocarina Instrument
Remember playing the Nintendo game, The Legend of Zelda? The flute-like instrument she plays is called the Ocarina. Dating back to ancient times, the ocarina’s origins can be traced back to many different cultures. In India, as well as in South and Central America, the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas all developed and performed on clay ocarinas which were often shaped like birds or animals. China had its own form of ocarina called a Xun, which was more rounded and egg-like in shape. This cost-effective instrument is easy for kids and adults to learn to play. Each Zelda ocarina from STL comes with a free instructional booklet and free access to instructions on how to play Zelda songs such as the Ocarina of Time title theme, Zelda’s Lullaby, Song of Time and Twilight Princess title theme. Visit http://www.stlocarina.com.
Little Citizen’s Herb Teas from the Republic of Tea
Skip the apple juice and try Little Citizen’s Herb Teas. The Republic of Tea offers a deliciously fruity and kid-friendly assortment of herbal, caffeine-free, organic, Fair Trade Certified teas just for little ones. The Republic of Tea sources its teas from some of the world’s finest tea gardens in India, China, Sri Lanka and more. The Little Citizen herbal teas in particular were grown and plucked in the lush gardens of South Africa. Therefore, every sip comes with an equal dose of culture and geography for little ones – a great lesson to share at any tea party! The Little Citizen’s Herbal Teas come in three different flavors and are available for purchase online at http://www.republicoftea.com.
NYC’s Symphony Space
Photo credit: Bernhard Kristinn
Light up the stage each weekend in April at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side. Their “Just Kidding” series features cultural and theatrical events perfect for the whole family. Travel to Iceland with Elska, a modern pioneer who discovered a secret volcanic island off of the coast of Iceland. Enjoy Hot Peas ‘N Butter, the Parents Choice Award-winning children’s musical group that incorporates elements of traditional Latin music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, jazz, folk and rock. Your children are also guaranteed to enjoy Aaron Nigel Smith and the One World Chorus as well as the Harlem Resonance Festival (featuring the Alvin Ailey School). Visit http://www.symphonyspace.org/genre/family for more information and to purchase tickets for these and other shows being performed at this amazing cultural center!
With these ideas, your child will be very worldly and no plane tickets are required! Happy “traveling”!