I’ve never been so glad to have a Little Passports subscription as I am now, perfect during this era of home schooling. Travis’s latest package took him to France. The booklet felt a little too advanced this time, reminding me that Travis is on the youngest end of the age spectrum for World Edition. The maze was hard (even for mommy!) and activities like being an art critic and following a landmark hunt involved lots of reading that was too advanced.
Still, he enjoyed the extras on the web like seeing vibrant pictures of monuments and landscapes in France, learning a few French words, and selecting his favorite French dessert. And he proudly added the flag to his passport and the “push pin” to his map.
The mini easel and watercolor palette, complete with two tiny canvases, was a huge hit!
Travis was immediately making masterpieces after we looked at a few examples from Monet and Matisse for inspiration. He even corrected me, pointing out that one of his canvases was meant to be viewed horizontally and the other vertically.
We opened this package on April 1 which turned out to be perfect because one activity was to color in a fish for the “poisson d’avril“.
This French variation on April Fool’s Day is to tape the fish to the back of a friend or family member and declare that person the “Fish of April!” Travis got a big kick out of doing this to daddy.
Next up was making an Eiffel Tower out of Dandies marshmallows and dry spaghetti!
This was STEM at its best: thinking spatially about how to engineer the tower; using shapes (rectangles, triangles); dividing spaghetti pieces into halves or quarters; and of course eating marshmallows along the way for sticky fingers and lots of laughs.
Look how it turned out!
I had also purchased the optional add-on, an Aquarellum Parisian Painting Kit. This included 9 watercolors and three scenes of Paris on absorbent paper. Travis loved that he could use the provided eye dropper to mix colors.
The scenes turned out beautiful. My petite artiste!
Finally, we colored in the French flag to add to our garland.
Of course we weren’t done until we’d taken our culinary voyage. This time we turned our kitchen into a French bakery, plus learned a little cultural background for the galette des rois (Kings Cake).
We had to improvise a little, since the recipe called for puff pastry which is hard to find vegan. We used store-bought pie crusts instead, which means our cake didn’t puff up like a traditional version, but it sure still came out yummy!
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 (9-inch) pie crusts
- 1 tablespoon melted Earth Balance butter
- To prepare the filling, mix together the sugar, almonds, almond extract, and 1/2 cup butter.
- Whisk the flaxseed into the water to make 1 flax egg. Add to the sugar mixture and stir until mixed. Chill in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, turn one dough circle out onto a baking sheet lined with foil. Spread the chilled filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border.
- Top with the remaining dough circle, pressing the edges of the dough to seal. Brush with the melted butter. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 20 minutes.
Note: If your kids want to, hide a dried bean inside in keeping with the French tradition of this cake around Epiphany.
Whoever finds the bean or a toy figurine in their slice is the king for the day and gets good luck! Skip that step if you are worried about choking hazards.