International Night Spanish Style
Sometime, about 18 months ago, we started the tradition of Family International Nights. Every 4-6 weeks we have a mini-theme around a particular country. Our flights have taken us from Canada to Argentina, France to Australia, Peru to Morocco, taking in a side of India, China and many other countries. We have a World and Europe black and white map up on our Family Room wall, and as each country is ‘discovered’ it gets coloured in. The kids love it, it brings us all together, and hey, squeezes in a bit of learning along the way in a way that is far too lacking in the current National Curriculum. The children get to choose where we will travel to next.
Typically, we do a range of activities in the lead up. For Spain the order of the day was Picasso, Flamenco, Bull-Fighting, and Fiestas & Siestas, before culminating in a night of Tapas and Churros. YouTube and Google were brilliant for introducing the children to the customs of Flamenco, Fiestas, and even The Bull Run of Pamplona (just vet those videos first if you don’t want to expose your kiddos to a spot of goring). They were particularly taken with the La Tomatina – the tomato throwing festival.
I took a slightly more structured approach to Picasso. I printed off some Picasso portrait images. We talked about modern art, Picasso and what he was trying to achieve with his iconic portraits: trying to combine a side and front portrait together, and how and why they are distinctive. The kids loved pointing out the oddities of the pictures, talking about what they liked and what they didn’t.
Then it was their turn. For each child I had drawn a Picasso Head, vaguely framed around their own features. They then chose and coloured in a range of Picasso style eyes, noses and lips. They then went loose with the paints.
For Boo, our ASD kiddo, I wondered if this exercise might be too abstract combined with the sensory challenge of painting. But he rose to the challenge and wanted his picture to reflect Picasso completely, and ended up randomly placing his features rather than trying to make it true to form. He ended up loving this ‘project’. The younger two both also took very different approaches, one choosing to ‘break’ her picture up more to have more sections to paint, and the other wanting to place the features ‘correctly’. We love their Picasso Heads!
For Spanish Night itself,Tapas was the order of the day, and we enjoyed the following menu:
Mediterranean bread with Olive Oil & Balsamic
We talked again about everything we had learned about Spain and what food we liked: Boo loved the Pork Belly, as did the Bug along with the chorizo, and Pip spent most of dinner piercing tomatoes with her cocktail stick, sucking out their juice, and washing it down with Manchego. Dinner was rounded off with Super Yummy Churros & Chocolate Dipping Sauce – happy chocolatey smiles all round!