Little Passports: Thailand

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Travis’s latest package from Little Passports was a welcome find on a winter afternoon, taking him across the world to tropical Thailand. As always, he loved to locate the country on his world map and add a pin sticker, and to place the flag stamp in his passport.

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The booklet this month taught Travis lots about Thailand’s flora and fauna, especially elephants. The only activity too advanced for him as a 1st grader was a fill-in-the-blank about Thailand’s tuk-tuk vehicles.

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Souvenir:

The biggest hit was the souvenir and no wonder because it involved… )Poop. Yup, a pad of paper made from recycled elephant poop, which was an idea so wacky and brilliant that the whole family loved it.

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Further Activities:

His booklet featured a nice hands-on craft to make Paper Lotus Flowers, following along with the instructions that involved only green, purple, and yellow construction paper. They turned out quite pretty!

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There was also a Thai grocery list activity that was a neat introduction to the beautiful characters of Thailand’s alphabet. Travis helped find each ingredient by matching up the words.

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Some of those very ingredients were needed for a dessert recipe we whipped up for Mango Sticky Rice, which was declared a big hit!

Recipe:

The recipe in this month’s booklet was for a chicken soup called Tom Kha Gai, which we made vegan with a few easy swaps. Travis loved smelling and savoring the myriad ingredients that we don’t use often, including cilantro and ginger.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 4 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 and 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 (9-ounce) package cooked Gardein chick’n strips
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ginger and curry paste; cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add 1 cup broth and whisk to combine, then add the remaining broth and brown sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and mushrooms; simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, add the cooked chick’n, along with the cilantro and lime juice.

Tom Kha Gai

Not only did Travis eat up a full bowlful of this, but my toddler ate two!

Mango Sticky Rice

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We loved this recipe from Little Passports’ blog that helped Travis learn more about Thai cuisine and culture as he explored the country in this month’s kit! It was the perfect tropical treat to warm up our kitchen during a winter snowstorm.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups room temperature water, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, divided
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
  1. Combine the rice and 1 cup water in a saucepan; let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water, half of the coconut milk (about 3/4 cup), 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, warm the remaining coconut milk in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar; set aside.
  5. Divide the rice mixture evenly among 4 bowls. Drizzle each with a little of the brown sugar sauce, and top evenly with the chopped mango.

Valentine Postcard

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Paper heart doilies always featured into the homemade Valentines of my youth, so imagine my surprise when I had to go to three stores before I could find them! Perhaps this classic decoration is becoming passe? That would be a shame, and I was glad Veronika got to enjoy the whimsy of doilies with this little craft. Our mission: to make Valentine postcards for the relatives.

To start, cut squares from sturdy white paper and then use a paper clip to attach a doily heart to each one.

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I then set out a tray with pink and red paint, along with a few sponges I had cut into small pieces so they would fit more easily in Veronika’s hands. I showed her how to dip a sponge in the paint and then dab over the hearts.

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When you lift up the doily, a beautiful heart shape is left behind!

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Note: We discovered that a light touch with the sponge works best here, or the image becomes a bit muddied.

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Let dry, then use stickers or markers for any final decorations before shipping off with love in the mail!

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Valentine’s Day Tissue Paper Wreath

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We thought it would be nice to decorate our door with a Valentine’s Day wreath, and I wanted one that even a toddler could help out with. I found inspiration from a tissue paper version from Hands on as We Grow! Veronika could fit in some arts-and-crafts for the day, and the end result would make a beautiful door decoration.

To start, I needed to cut a circle from cardboard. I opted for a scissor-friendly frozen pizza box rather than thicker cardboard packaging.

Valentine's Tissue Wreath (1)Next, I cut white tissue paper into squares about 8 inches long. I crumpled these into little “flowers” and then handed over to Veronika. Her job was to dip them in red and pink paint!

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This was way messier than I had imagined, but we set them aside to dry.

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Meanwhile, I also wadded up tissue paper that was already in shades of pink and red and stapled these around the outer rim of the cardboard circle. Once Veronika’s painted ones had dried, I stapled these along the inner rim.

If your kids want to add further details, consider painting and cutting out hearts from construction paper, or sprinkling on a dash of red glitter. We skipped those steps, though, and Veronika was delighted to help hang the wreath on the door.

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It looked so pretty and spot-in for the season, especially just after a snow storm!