Did you know that you can use costumes to “trick” your kids into loving dance and cooking international cuisine for the family and call it “school”? Yes you can!
International costumes are some of my favorite things to collect at thrift stores! I’m not exactly sure how some of them make their way to the small, inland city of Wenatchee, but I try to grab them when they do!
For example, I found this African tunic at our senior center thrift store a few months ago. We have been learning about African geography through our Classical Conversations home school program. So, I thought we should pick an African country to learn about through food, costumes, and dance!
Sometimes Emma and Elliott aren’t in the mood to sing and dance when Mom makes it part of school. Shocking, I know! However, their curiosity was piqued when I told them that I had African costumes they could wear on a “journey” to Ghana.
“Say what?!?!? We get to wear these fabulous, bright, and richly detailed tunics? Color us intrigued!” Okay, so maybe those weren’t their exact words, but they were something to that effect.
Oliver asked to wear one, too.
Costumes were traded around, according to fit, and then we started to dance! I found a great YouTube video of Ghanan school children dancing. It was slow enough that Emma and Elliott were able to follow along.
They got into it! The rhythmic stomping and contagious drum beat had them hooked. Before long, all the little ones were drawn into the fun and excitement.
We watched several YouTube videos of Ghanan dancing. The kids identified that lots of the dances started as a group, and then gave way to soloists. Emma was only too happy to oblige. By the way, do you like our splitting sofa cushions? This is real life, you guys!
From here, the dance turned into a “village procession”, followed by a “drum circle”.
To say that the costumes were transforming would be a huge understatement! The kids wanted to wear them all morning and include them in their play, later in the day. Here, Emma is wearing her tunic while writing a page for her school project notebook.
Speaking of cooking, Emma and Elliott also made a dish from Ghana: an African Chicken Peanut Stew! Here are all of the ingredients.
Chopping. (They thought the chopper was loud!)
And now for the unusual ingredients (to us Americans, anyway)…Adding roasted peanuts and peanut butter to the stew!
After an hour of simmering, we temporarily removed the chicken from the pot. I shredded the meat and added it back to the stew.
We served the finished stew over brown rice. The verdict? Both Emma and Elliott despised the sweet potato. Elliott was weirded out by the peanut taste. Emma took this as a sign that she should rise to the occasion and claim that she LOVED the peanut taste. “But, please serve me the stew with only the chicken. No sauce”.
So, while this stew was not a slam dunk with the entire family (Jeff, Oliver and I loved it, by the way), the Ghanan costumes and dances certainly were! The kids and I can’t wait to wear more international costumes on our next geography journey.