Growing up, I was incredibly fortunate to have experienced a very diverse upbringing.
Living in California was a cultural melting pot of Hispanic and Asian cultures while living in Washington D.C. was the mixing center for almost everything.
Living in Albany, however, it’s a whole new ball game for me. Yes, we have diversity but not quite the same. There is a large Italian American presence, a growing Asian presence, and also a Polish presence. I appreciate the Polish aspect because that’s part of Squeaker’s heritage. So, as part of our informal summer Tot school, we took some time to learn about Poland. I can’t wait to repeat this unit with her when she’s older so we can explore more in depth.
But, in the meantime, here’s a brief look at Polish culture for kids.
Easy ideas to teach Polish culture to kids
First, let’s talk about some quick facts about Poland:
- Poland’s capital is Warsaw
- It’s official name is Republic of Poland
- The colors of the flag for Poland are white and red
- The official language is Polish
- Approximately 38 million people live in Poland
- Poland is located in Central Europe
- Poland is roughly the size of New Mexico in terms of area
- Countries near Poland are: Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine
- Poland’s Independence day is November 11th
- Famous people from Poland include Marie Curie, Frederic Chopin, Pope John Paul II, and Nicolaus Copernicus
- There are 32 letters in the Polish alphabet
So what can you do with those facts?
Well, with a toddler you can definitely talk to them about it. And with a preschooler you may want to make a little journal or notebook. For older children, you can have them make their own fact book.
So how did we cover Poland in our mini Tot School summer unit? We only did three or four activities and they were spread out over three days. I didn’t want to overwhelm her since she’s still 18 months old. But we did a few things and I think she had fun.
Mostly we concentrated on art and music.
Over the years, we’ll start to explore how different holidays are celebrated around the world.
For example, did you know about these Polish Easter Traditions and Customs?
Poland activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
First, for my own preparation, I downloaded and printed out the following:
- A blank flag of Poland (printed in black and white)
- A map of the world highlighting Poland’s location in Europe
- A map of Europe, highlighting Poland’s location
- A political map of Poland
- A blank outline map of Poland
Materials that we had on hand:
And here’s what we did:
3 Day Mini Schedule for Preschoolers to Learn about Poland
Day 1- Intro to Poland
The first day, we looked at the world map and the map of Europe. I drew a line from New York (approximate) to Poland’s location on the world map. We then talked about where Poland is in Europe.
Today we also looked at the political map of Poland and using a Do a Dot marker, highlighted Warsaw. The next time we try this I’ll make two copies and have Squeaker match the pieces together.
Day 2 – Continuing map work
Today we used the blank outline map of Poland and I gave Squeaker her Do a Dot marker and crayon egg to color in the map. By coincidence she chose red.
We also colored the flag of Poland with her crayon egg.
Day 3 – Letter work and music
Today we used her Uppercase Sandpaper letters to spell out Poland. We also traced the letters individually. While we did this, we listened to Chopin. And then after that, we danced to Polka music and watched a video of traditional Polish folk dancing.
Next time around we’ll incorporate food and other things into our unit to make it more rounded.
We’ll also incorporate books into our unit and maybe try to learn some Polish words along the way.
How to learn about Poland’s culture and traditions with books
Guaranteed to enrich a toddler’s vocabulary, this simple and fun series of bilingual board books is ideal for helping children discover a foreign language. Highlighting the two basic concepts of colors and numbers, this collection combines photographs and colorful illustrations. All images include the words in both English and the second language in clear, bold text. Suitable for toddlers on their own or in groups, these books are a child’s perfect introduction to exploring new languages.
Polish Customs, Traditions, and Folklore
A month-by-month accounting of all the major Polish customs and traditions practiced over the centuries. A tremendous asset to understanding the ethnic behavior of a people. It has a new appendix with traditional Polish games and pastimes for children.
Dobranoc (Good Night)
Follow a little girl as she says good night to her family. Filled with vivid and colourful illustrations, this bilingual storybook is sure to please.
Good Morning – Dzien Dobry
Follow a little boy as he says good morning to his family. Filled with vivid and colourful illustrations, this bilingual storybook is sure to please.
Peekaboo Baby. Zabawa w chowanego
This delightful book has fun filled pictures of babies on each page. This book is ideal for reading aloud in Polish to your child. Beginning readers will enjoy reading the simple Polish sentences on each page. Adorable babies are beautifully illustrated in this delightful Polish picture book. Children learn to read on their own in a variety of ways. While reading about the where the eyes, ears, nose etc are, children and newbie Polish readers can practice learning their Polish.
First Polish Words
The Oxford First Words series give your child a head start in learning another language. Each title takes the reader on a picture-book journey through a day, cleverly interweaving lots of familiar settings and cute little dinosaurs. There is a birds eye view of first thing in the morning at home, the journey to school and inside the classroom, a birthday party and even a trip to the seaside.
I Love Words English-Polish
“I Love Words English – Polish” – is a list of 100 words and matching images in English and Polish. For each word there is a matching photo and fun illustration. With this book children can build their vocabulary and start to develop word and picture association.
P is for Poland
From Amber to Chopin, from Borsch to Vistula, this photographic alphabet celebrates everything Poles love best about Poland. Set in the heart of Europe and full of lakes, forests and mountains, the country has wild animals which have disappeared from the rest of Europe. Polish history and folk traditions, its storytelling and cooking all combine to make a special way of life that Polish people take with them wherever they go.
Be sure to visit the rest of the amazing blog posts for your virtual trip around the world!