The snow-capped mountains, famous cheeses and chocolates of Switzerland, combined with its blend of French, German and Italian cultures make it an intriguing country to introduce your kids to. Whether you are planning a family trip to this tiny European nation, or you just want to expose them to the culture of another country, teach your kids about Switzerland through a variety of age-appropriate and educational activities related to the country.
Books on Switzerland
Read age-appropriate books with your child that provides cool facts about the country of Switzerland. For kids ages 7 and older, "Switzerland, " by Lyn Larson, includes full-page photographs of Switzerland sights and culture and includes kid-friendly facts, including facts on native animals such as the alpine ibex and famous mountain ranges like the Swiss Alps. Another book to check out, for that same age group is, "Look What Came From Switzerland," by Miles Harvey, which features facts on inventions, sports, food and other things that originated in Switzerland.
Swiss-themed Arts and Crafts
Work on Switzerland-themed craft activities with your kids. You can have them create the Swiss flag out of tissue paper. Draw the outline of a cross in the middle of large poster board and give the kids white tissue paper to glue inside the cross and glue red tissue paper on the rest of the poster board. For another craft, you can have the kids create a St. Bernard paper bag puppet, to represent the rescue dogs used in the Swiss mountains. Give your kids white paper bags and have them use white construction paper to draw and cut out dog ears, eyes and a snout. Tape them to the bottom flap of the paper bag in the appropriate places. Glue a red tongue underneath the flap. The kids can use brown and black crayons to color in the puppets.
Swiss -Themed Children's Games
To play Zwanzgerle, an Easter game, set two painted Easter eggs on a table and give two players an equal amount of coins. The goal is to break the opponent's egg by hitting it with a large coin. If a player tosses a coin and misses the egg, he must give the other player that coin. If he hits it, he gets to keep it. Whoever has the most coins after a set amount of tries wins. Another game, played in both Switzerland and neighboring Germany is Shokoladenessen, or the chocolate-eating game. Wrap a bar of chocolate like a present and place on a table, along with a hat, mittens and a scarf. Each player takes turns rolling a die and if they get a six, they must quickly don the winter accessories, open the chocolate and eat it with a knife and fork before anyone else can roll a six and get a chance at the chocolate. The person who eats the last piece of chocolate wins.
Enjoy favorite Swiss food and snacks with your kids. Get a fondue pot and make a traditional Swiss fondue, which uses Emmental cheese. Have the kids use the fondue forks to dip bread into the cheese. If your kids don't like the taste of the Emmental cheese, you can always use another melting cheese they are more familiar with, such as cheddar cheese. You can also order an assortment of Swiss chocolates online for your kids to try and have them compare it to popular American chocolate bars. Have the kids do a blind taste test to see if they can determine a difference between a Swiss milk chocolate bar and an American one they are familiar with.