Just in time for wintry weather here at home, Travis’s package from Little Passports was about cold and snowy Russia this month. Travis has been receiving Little Passports for a full year now, so the kit came with a country coin chart with 12 new empty spaces to fill.
He added the sticker to his suitcase and proudly located Russia on the map (“Just look the for the biggest country!” I prompted him). The booklet featured fun activities with Russian history thrown into each, including a Faberge egg riddle to solve. The only one too advanced for my first grader was a word search based on the names of Russian towns.
Travis absolutely adored the small matryoshka doll that came with the package, his first time seeing one of these classic nesting dolls. Needless to say he needed to take it apart and put it back together many times.
This kit featured disappointingly few additional activities compared to previous packages. Travis did enjoy the template to make his own Space Comic, though, based on the history of space dogs Belka and Strelka.
This was a great STEAM activity for kids! He was less interested in a Russian folk instrument coloring page, but did enjoy the additional photos and facts posted online.
Finally, we read about Russian holiday traditions, particularly that New Year’s Day is a bigger celebration and time for presents in the country than Christmas morning. Perhaps we’ll have to save one present for under the tree on January 1 from “Father Frost”.
As always, we finished by bringing the country into our kitchen. The recipe for oladushki (thin pancakes) was complicated and messy, but I had happy little diners pretending they were in Russia at the end!
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Scant 1 and 3/4 cups plain non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 and 3/4 cups flour
- 1 and 3/4 cups boiling water
- 1/2 cup canola oil + more for frying
- To prepare the pancake batter, pour the cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add non-dairy milk to equal 1 and 3/4 cups, then let stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the flaxseed and cold water to make a flax egg; let stand for 5 minutes.
- Combine the milk mixture and flaxseed mixture in a small saucepan, along with the salt and baking soda. Heat over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. The batter should be quite thick at this point.
- Pour in the boiling water and 1/2 cup oil; whisk until combined.
- Heat an additional tablespoon or so of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup batter and tilt the pan to spread toward the edges. Cook for 45 seconds, then flip and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side.
- Repeat with the remaining batter to make 16 pancakes.
We served these pancakes in two ways. The first night, they were savory for dinner, topped with either chopped and cooked chick’n…
…or with a mixture of sauteed meatless crumbles and onion.
In the morning, the leftovers became sweet for breakfast! The kids tried them with jam and agave nectar…
…or with a little sweetened non-dairy sour cream (stir about 1/2 teaspoon sugar into each tablespoon sour cream).