What/where is Panama?

Panama is a country in Central America, found between Costa Rica and Colombia.

Panama on Earth on reflective surface

It has a population of around 4 million people. The main language spoken there is Spanish. Although the US Dollar is legal tender there, the official currency is the Balboa. The largest and capital city is Panama City.

The Panamanian flag.

National flag of Panama on the flagpole

For a video taste of what Panama has to offer tourists, please see below.

The country is known for its canal which links the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. This was a very important engineering project as it allowed ships to avoid travelling around the continent of South America, cutting time and danger as the seas around to southern tip are very treacherous.

For a detailed video on the history of the Panama Canal, please see below.

If your child is interested in world geography, why not get them a map?(links to Amazon)

What is coffee and where is it grown?

Coffee is a drink made from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. The coffee plant originally grew in Africa, but is now grown around the world, usually in areas near the equator.

Girl in coffee plantations

Coffee is grown in over 70 countries around the world. The top three producing countries are Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. Coffee is grown near the equator because it needs certain weather conditions to grow well(plenty of warmth and rain).

The seeds are roasted and then ground according to the type of coffee you are making. It is then mixed with hot water to brew, although you can also soak it in cold water to make a different tasting drink.

Coffee is not recommended for children as it contains caffeine. This is something that helps adults feel more awake when they drink it!

For further reading from the Eden Project, please click this link.

For a quick video run through of the process, please see below.

For those that prefer to learn by doing, please see link below to try growing your own coffee plant. (links to Amazon)

What/when is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is one of the world’s largest festivals and occurs in Munich, Germany every year. It is a beer festival and travelling funfair and is an important part of Bavarian culture. People attending often wear traditional Bavarian costume.

Two kids, boy and girl in traditional Bavarian costumes in wheat field

The festival begins in mid September each year and lasts for just over two weeks, ending in early October. Over six million people attend each year.

Although you may think it is aimed at adults, the Oktoberfest is also a great day out for families too. The Tuesdays during the festival period are designated ‘Family Days’ with discounted entry and rides. Children are allowed into the beer tents, but those under 6 years old must leave by 8pm.

Click here for a blog post of one family’s Oktoberfest experience.

For a video on the history of the festival, and an excellent showcase of German humour, please see below.

If your child has shown interest in the culture of Germany, please see below link for further reading. (Links to Amazon)

What is Eurovision?

The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition which started back in 1956. The entrants in the competition are countries which are part of the European Broadcasting Union. This is not related to the European Union(EU) and the country does not have to be geographically within Europe to enter. In the first competition in 1956 only seven countries entered. Since then, 52 different countries have entered.  In 2017 there were 42 entrants.

Eurovision_Song_Contest_2017_logo

Each entrant must have someone sing an original song live. After each entrant has sung, there is a combined vote by the audience and a panel of judges from each country. These two votes are turned into points. The country that receives the most points wins, and that country hosts the competition the next year. Last year the winner was Ukraine, so the competition was held this year in its capital city, Kiev.

For this year’s promo video, please see below:  

For this year’s UK entry please see the below video.

The 2017 competition was won by Portugal, see their entry below. This was the first time they had won and the 2018 competition will be held there.

If you want to get some fairy cakes for your Eurovision party, please click on the link below(links to Amazon).