Irish National Heritage Week takes place August 18 – 26. So what better time to teach your kids a bit about your roots? Here are five simple ways to help them learn more about the Emerald Isle.
1/ Read Up
Whether your children are 2 or 22, there’s no better way to teach them about their heritage than reading stories that reflect the culture. For toddlers and elementary-age kids, we love Silly McGilly, a book about a mischievous leprechaun, and Brendan and the Blarney Stone which tells the tale of a leprechaun who hopes kissing the Blarney stone will help him to speak more eloquently. For older children, pick up a copy of Celtic Fairy Tales. This classic book, which was originally published in 1892, will take your child back in time. If you want a strictly historical perspective, try Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland, which recounts the Emerald Isle’s history from pre-Christian times to present day.
2/ Bake a Traditional Irish Dish
It’s no secret that food brings everyone together, so head to the kitchen to get things cooking—Irish style. Colcannon is an easy and delicious classic Ireland dish made from potatoes and cabbage. Click here to try our simple recipe. If you prefer to bake, find a soda bread recipe to try with your youngsters.
3/ Groove to the Music
Teach him or her the words to Irish tunes, such as “Danny Boy” or “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” Find a version on iTunes or a YouTube recording and add it to your little one’s playlist. While you’re at it, share a bit of history about these songs and what they mean to the Irish.
4/ Get Out the Map
Go online to find a map of Ireland. Point out key places to your child, such as the city or town where your ancestors were born, the capital city, and attractions or historical sites you might like to visit. If you have a paper map of the country, hang it in a central location and continue the conversation, adding pins to places you have visited or would like to see. Take the idea one step further with our Map of Ireland Throw that features a pictorial guide to the country—and is a cozy companion for afternoon naps.
5/ Trace Your Family Tree
Gather information on your ancestors to see if you can trace your family tree back to Ireland. Consider creating a tree-shaped craft where you fill in the names of family members for younger children, while older ones may want to conduct interviews with grandparents or great aunts and uncles for more information.