The Holidays are easily the most magical time of year for a child. Make it even more magical by exposing them to another culture, like that of wintry Ukraine! In Eastern Europe, Christmas is not heavily celebrated. Instead, it is the coming of Father New Years that brings anticipation to children everywhere. That doesn’t mean that there’s any less winter wonder!
The Mitten is a common folktale for Ukrainian families to read to their little ones during the holidays. With such cold winters, it’s no wonder that the main feature of this tale is a group of animals trying to stay warm!
- Explore Winter in Ukraine with this printable craft based on the classic Ukrainian children’s story, The Mitten.
The story starts with an old man in the forest losing one of his mittens. As animals in the forest find the mitten, they scurry inside to enjoy its warmth. The story begins with small animals, such as frogs and badgers, and works its way up all of the way to a bear. In the end, it’s a little mouse that “breaks the camel’s back,” so to speak; causing the bear to sneeze and all of the animals to fly out of the mitten.
Engaging your child with The Mitten:
- Watch this free video of the folktale, retold and illustrated by children’s author Jan Brett.
- Read the story with your children.
- Ask them, “Why do you think the smaller animals let the bigger animals take up the room in the mitten, even when there were too many?” This will help connect your child’s mind to the abstract concepts of the reading.
- Color and illustrate pictures using your kids’ imagination of the different animals mentioned in the story. Learn how to say the names of each animal in different languages.
- Discuss Eastern Europe and its Holiday traditions; its climate, its animals, and the similarities and differences between our stories and theirs.
For more phenomenal winter crafts, stay tuned to the Little Pim blog! Happy Holidays!