Family Fun for Oktoberfest

This year marks the 205th anniversary of Oktoberfest, a German festival that began in Munich in 1810. Each year, millions of people gather in Germany and all over the world to participate in the festivities, which include concerts, costumes, rides, food, and drink. There is something for everyone at Oktoberfest, and the holiday creates a great opportunity to introduce kids (and adults) to German culture.

A great way to get kids involved in the Oktoberfest fun is through crafts like this Edelweiss hat, often worn by men and boys in Bavaria during the festival. You can also print out these coloring pages to help kids learn about the German map, flag, and other national symbols. And check out “Backe, backe Kuchen,” a simple German song kids can sing to practice the language.

You can sample some of the delicious cuisine of Germany in your own home with these recipes for German potato salad and sausage and sauerkraut fritters. You should also break out the pretzels, a favorite during Oktoberfest. For dessert, you and your kids will love this rich German chocolate cake. Before you eat, don’t forget to say “prost” which means “cheers” in German!

Oktoberfest is a great holiday for the whole family, no matter where you celebrate it! Get creative, eat, learn, and have fun!

Thanks to Kelli Miller at 3 Boys and a Dog for the "Oktoberfest Activities for Kids."

Have a Multicultural Thanksgiving with Little Pim

When most people in America think of Thanksgiving, they think of eating traditional foods like turkey, cranberry, and pumpkin pie with family and friends. Uniquely American traditions like football and Black Friday shopping may also come to mind. But Thanksgiving looks very different in other countries, each of which have their own way of celebrating the bounty of the fall harvest with loved ones. You can teach your child about other cultures and build on their foreign language learning by introducing them to some international Thanksgiving traditions.

Germany: Germany's version of Thanksgiving is national holiday called "Erntedanktag," which translates to "Harvest-Thanksgiving-Day." Harvest Festivals (Erntefests) are held in churches, markets and dance halls throughout the country, each celebrating foods for which the region is famous.

China: China's Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, like the American Thanksgiving, is a time for family and loved ones to celebrate the end of the harvest season with a giant feast. Legend says that the moon is at its brightest and roundest on this day, which is said to inspire rekindled friendship or romance.

To represent the full moon, the Chinese eat a delicious flaky pastry called a mooncake, which is stuffed with either sweet or savory filling. If you're up for a tasty challenge, check out this step-by-step guide to making your own.

This trio of soups for Sukkot is the perfect way to celebrate a Hebrew Thanksgiving.
This trio of soups for Sukkot is the perfect way to celebrate a Hebrew Thanksgiving.

Israel: Jewish families celebrate a 3000-year old harvest festival called Sukkot. A hut of branches called a Sukkot is built, and Jewish families then eat their meals beneath the Sukkot under the night sky for eight days. These hearty, seasonal fall soups from Israeli Kitchen are the perfect way to celebrate the end of the autumn harvest.

Korea: Chuseok is a major harvest festival and 3-day holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. During this holiday, Koreans return to their hometowns to perform traditional rituals in the morning to remember their ancestors. Family members also visit their decreased loved ones, offering food, drink and crops. A popular food for the holdiday called songpyeon, a crescent-shaped rice cake, is prepared using healthy ingredients like sesame seeds, cinnamon, and pine nuts.

Check out the video below for a tutorial on preparing your own Songpyeon.

Tradition is great, but don't be afraid to mix in a few international foods and activities this holiday. As the Portuguese say, "Feliz (dia de) acção de graça" (Happy Thanksgiving)!