Travis journeyed to China with this month’s delivery from Little Passports. On the night it arrived, he affixed the country sticker to his suitcase and passport, found China on the map, and dove into the information online and in the booklet.
The booklet had a nice variety, including riddles to solve about Chinese inventions, calligraphy to trace that Travis really enjoyed, and a panda picture puzzle.
One let down this month was that the “souvenir” inside wasn’t a toy. Instead, it was his own pair of chopsticks. Since he recently received chopsticks from Raddish Kids, it wasn’t the best timing.
Further activities with this kit had some hits and some misses. Travis was not a fan of a symmetry drawing of the Forbidden Palace, with 8 hidden differences for kids to spot. Admittedly, these were tough to find! We turned it into more of a lesson on what “symmetry” means, and I colored the differences in red for him.
Much better though was making our own Terracotta Warriors! To prepare the clay, Travis helped mix up 3 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and 1 and 1/2 cups water.
This mixes quickly into a very workable “clay”. Press onto the provided template and you’ve formed your own mini warrior.
It was tough to sketch true details with a toothpick, but that hardly mattered. Travis soon had so much fun making his blobs of clay battle and jab at each other with toothpicks instead. What brave warriors!
We did set aside two of our figures to truly air dry, which will take about 2 days.
Meanwhile, we turned to the materials for a Chinese New Year red envelope craft. First, sew together the two pieces of provided red felt using a helpfully illustrated whip stitch. This was tricky for Travis, so I took over after a few stitches.
He then loved assembling the provided felt stickers in the shape of a pretty fish. Add the Velcro closure, and it’s finished.
As a surprise, I filled it with a few chocolate treats while he slept!
As always we ended with a recipe, this time for Chinese dumplings (jiaozi).
I’m not going to lie; this recipe was time-consuming, messy, and impractical with small kids in the house. Travis lost interest quickly, and I did my best to finish up and at least give him a taste of China.
For the dough:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 and 1/4 cups water
For the filling:
- 1 and 1/2 cups minced cabbage
- 1 cup ground meatless crumbles (such as Lightlife)
- 1/2 green onion, minced
- 1/4 cup bamboo shoots, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- To prepare the dough, spoon the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the water, stirring until combined. Turn onto a floured surface and knead, then roll into a ball and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling: combine the cabbage and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Divide the dough into thirds. Working with one portion at a time, roll to about 1/8-inch thick on a floured surface. Use a round (2.5-inch) cookie cutter to cut out circles. Fill each with 1 tablespoon cabbage mixture, then fold over into a half-moon shape and pinch the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add half of the dumplings. Stir and cook until the pot returns to a boil. Add 1/2 cup cold water; let the water return to a boil again and then the dumplings are done!
- Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat the cooking process for the second half of the dumplings.
Serve with extra soy sauce and sesame vinegar on the side for dipping.