The Clubhouse Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month: Rice and Beans

September 15th to October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage month.

What better time to introduce the language, arts, foods and celebrations of Hispanic cultures than now?

As a Hispanic mother raising a biracial, bilingual child, we often enjoy the books, foods and music of our culture. Exploring other Hispanic cultures, and bringing the fun to all of the Clubhouse Kids, is something we are excited about this month. We plan on sharing a variety of ways we delve into Hispanic Heritage over the next few weeks, but what better place to start than a good book and some rice and beans?

We've been reading "Mice and Beans" by Pam Munoz Ryan. It's an adorable book (in English with Spanish phrases sprinkled throughout) about Rosa Maria, who is working through the week preparing a birthday party for her granddaughter Catalina. Prepping everything from enchiladas to a pinata, there is one thing she knows she must be sure to make:

"...no dinner was complete without rice and beans."  

For us, that is so true. One of my greatest accomplishments as a Hispanic wife/mother has been my ability to whip up a pot of rice and beans as good as my Mami makes. Of course, I prefer her rice and beans, and when she visits us here in the desert she always finds herself at the stove :)

I wanted to allow the Clubhouse Kids to enjoy the cooking of the rice and beans, so I decided to "whip up a pot" just for them.

Although I have learned that the rice and beans of different Hispanic cultures are all seasoned to taste differently, it is true that most have rice of an orange color. It may be called "red rice", but really, it's orange. So I tossed around some white rice in a ziploc baggie with some red and yellow food coloring. Once the rice was nice and colored, I added beans. The whole process took about 3 minutes. Definitely faster than whipping up a real pot of rice and beans, I assure you.

Speaking of the pot, I happened to have a large one available. It's the one I use when I'm cooking a feast similar to the one Rosa Maria cooks for her familia. I'm sure any container would do though.

So, what did the Clubhouse Kids do with a pot of rice and beans?

First, I had to assure my Son it was just a "pretend pot of rice and beans" and I would cook him the real thing later.

Then, they went to work.
Pouring, scooping, serving each other plates full. 

Of course, it wasn't long before the rice made it's way to the stove in the Clubhouse Classroom and got "cooked".
The Clubhouse Kids engaged in dramatic play for quite awhile as they decided they were cooking rice for a big upcoming birthday party.

Then, one Clubhouse Kid decided she wanted her beans on the side. As the others piled rice and beans on her plate, she continued to pick the beans out one at a time. Pincer grip practice anyone?
From sensory play to dramatic play to some fine motor skills development, the pot of rice and beans wasn't done yet. 

Just add paper and a few glue sticks.
"I made pot of rice!"
"I need a few more beans in my pot of rice."

Yes, the rice and beans actually did stick to the paper! 

This was one of those random invites to play that
the Clubhouse Kids fully engaged in, on many levels.

So what does this all have to do with mice?

You'll have to read the book to find out ;)

Ms. Liz

Shared at the Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop Fiesta and any one of these linky parties.

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