Little Passports: Mexico

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We may not be able to travel right now, but Travis journeyed to Mexico this week thanks to Little Passports! He was thrilled when the package arrived, so we wasted no time setting off on the virtual journey. He added stickers to his map, suitcase, and passport as I read him “Sam and Sofia’s” letter from the country.

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The booklet was just shy of too advanced for a kindergartner. He was proud to solve a tricky maze, and enjoyed information about Mexican animals. Online activities included learning familiar Spanish phrases and completing a tricky dot-to-dot with points 1 through 85 of a Mexican landmark.

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Souvenir:

The kit contained a D.I.Y. pinata; any activity that involved candy got a big thumbs up from Travis! The pinata was tricky to put together, so turned into more of a mommy project, following instructions to fold the cardboard cactus shape and glue on strips of provided tissue paper.

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We made beautiful flowers, too, by rolling tissue paper around a pencil tip, then removing from the pencil and pressing down to bend the “petals” outward.

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Travis proudly selected candy at the store to fill the cactus for a mini fiesta. Here he is gearing up for the big hit.

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Even little sister wanted a turn taking a whack.

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Candy! I loved that we did this on a random school night, without waiting for a special occasion, which made it feel extra fun for the kids.

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Further Activities:

Next up we followed instructions for Day of the Dead Masks. Mark a paper plate in such a way that it forms an 8-wedged pie, then draw cheek ovals on two of those pie pieces nearest the bottom. Cut out around the inner rim of the paper plate.

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Travis was so proud of his decorations!

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Tape to a craft stick for an instant fiesta mask.

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Next we headed outside for Sunshine Art, which was the bonus add-on for this country package. Arrange items on top of the provided plate and special blue-tinted paper, and then lay in the sunshine. You’ll have an image within two minutes!

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We played around with which items worked best. I had hoped Travis would get into the idea of putting together a whole collage, but he lost interested rather quickly.

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Next up was Aztec Guacamole. Travis was thrilled when I came home from the grocery store with 5 ripe avocados. We scooped the flesh into a bowl, and he was in charge of mashing!

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Add 1 chopped tomato, 1 small finely chopped red onion, 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, the juice of 1 lime, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt. Serve with tortilla chips!

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Finally, he colored in the Mexican flag for our garland; this was by far the most intricate flag to date, and he was so proud!

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Recipe:

Who doesn’t love the thought of chocolate for dinner? Travis was quite excited when he learned we’d be making a chocolate sauce (mole); unfortunately we used red chilies that were very spicy. Look for mild red chilies for more kid-friendly results.

Mole Recipe (2)

Ingredients:

  • 5 red chilies
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 ounces vegetable broth
  • 1 (3-ounce) dark chocolate bar, chopped
  1. Place the chilies, coriander, sesame seeds, almonds, and peppercorns in a mortar. Crush with a pestle. Transfer the spice mixture to a small skillet over medium heat and dry-fry for 1 minute. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and cocoa powder; cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture, along with the spice mixture, cinnamon, sugar, and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, then continue to cook for 25 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the chocolate, stirring until melted. We served the sauce over vegan chick’n!

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