Let’s Visit Iran!
Food literacy for young children is all about understanding where our food comes from and how it is grown and eaten around the world. These days it’s difficult for us to travel so let’s imagine visiting a different culture instead by bringing their traditions and foods to us.
Where is Iran?
Also called Persia, Iran is one of the oldest nations in the world and the 2nd largest country in the Middle East. It has a wide variety of climates from desert to more tropical, to mountainous areas where winter can be harsh. It also has forests that are home to animals like bears and wolves.
Here are some activity ideas to create a ‘visit’ to Iran:
- Decorate. Create a Persian theme with special carpets if you can find or borrow some, as weaving is one of the most amazing expressions of Iranian art and the country is the largest exporter of handmade carpets. Or make a pretend Persian carpet by painting large rolls of paper that can be taped together for the children to gather on. Add pictures or paintings of Iran’s diverse landscapes and wildlife, like the Persian leopard, on the walls.
- Make Nowruz art. Nowruz is the Iranian New Year and it occurs on the first day of spring in March. On the eve of Nowruz, families celebrate by painting eggs for each member of the family and consuming a feast of at least seven dishes.
- Eat Persian food. Herbs and spices are the basis of so many Persian dishes, as well as local fruits like prunes, apricots, raisins and pomegranate. Saffron and cinnamon give some of the delicate and unique flavour that is special to Iran. Like curries to India, a staple dish in Iran is Khoresh, meaning stew. There are so many varieties from eggplant to lamb or beef and they often have the fruit and spices listed above. Try making a plant-based version of Khoresh e Gheyme with split peas for a simple meal children over 6 months of age can enjoy (see our recipe). Childcare facilities with 8+ children should check with their Licensing Officer about what is needed to serve food. Do not serve dried fruit to children 4 and under as it can be a choking hazard.
- Read a book about Iran. Happy Nowruz by Najmieh Batmanglij is all about cooking with children to celebrate the Persian New Year.
For more ideas and resources
Learn more about Persian culture and traditions here.