08 Aug Brazil: 9 Cool Things to Talk to Your Kids About
Well, the Olympics in Brazil are officially here. And if you’re raising a global kid, it’s an opportune time to learn more about the world. You can talk about each of the countries that are participating, as well as dive deeper into the host country, Brazil. To get you started, introduce your kids to the following cool things about Brazil.
1. The Amazon & Brazil’s Animals
This is probably one of the most amazing things about Brazil. Around 60% of the Amazon Rainforest is located in Brazil. It is home to the most diverse and numerous species in the world. And, did you know that Brazil has the greatest variety of animals of any country in the world? There are over 600 mammal species, 1,500 fish species, 1,600 bird species and 100,000 different insects.
Obviously, you can’t talk about cool things in Brazil without mentioning futbol. It’s only the nation’s most popular sport. If you’re an American, this means “soccer.” Great legends such as Pelé, Garrincha, Ronaldo, Kaká, and Ronaldinho have played for Brazil. Every city in Brazil has at least one soccer stadium. And they have won the World Cup a record five times. Keep a close eyes on them during this Olympics. After their loss to Germany at the World Cup, they will be in it to win it.
3. Music & Dance
Brazil is known for its lively atmosphere. And music is a big part of that. Brazil brought the world samba and bossa nova. Samba has its roots in Africa and came to the northeastern part of Brazil, Bahia, during the slave trade. It is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil. Bossa nova is another genre of music that Brazil made famous. The phrase “bossa nova” means “new trend.” This music was grew out of a fusion of samba and jazz. Listen to some samples of famous Brazilian music here.
4. Snake Island
Brazil is home to over 650 different reptile species, including anacondas, boa constrictors, and emerald tree boas. Snake island is the home to 2000-4000 poisonous golden lance head vipers. How did so many snakes get on one island? They were trapped when rising sea levels covered up the land that connected the island to the mainland. They say that there is one snake every 3 feet! As you can imagine, the island is closed to visitors. The only people who can visit the island are scientists. A safe alternative to visiting might be to create your own tree boa to bring a little amazon into your home. Try it out here!
When you are little, dreams can come true. And wishes are a daily part of life. In Salvador, at the Senhor do Bonfim church, you can find a bracelet called a fita. The church was built in the 18th century and is believed to grant miracles. Senhor do Bonfim became a guardian of the city and provider of miracles and granter of wishes. The tradition goes that someone ties the bracelet on with 3 knots. For each knot, you make wish. You have to keep it on until it falls off for the wish to come true! Oh, and don’t tell anyone your wishes, of course.
6. Projeto Tamar
Any turtle lovers here? Did you know that the coast of Brazil is one of the largest habitats for sea turtles? Yup. And Brazil is on the forefront of protecting the sea turtle population. Projeto Tamar is an organization with several sea turtle rescue centers along the coast of Brazil. Here they not only rescue injured sea turtles, but also protect the turtle nests that are laid every year on their beaches. Our next release, Mystery of the Lazy Loggerhead, is inspired by the work of this great organization. Check it out here. The U.S. shares in this work with many turtle rescue centers along its east coast as well.
7. School & Playground Games
True or False? Most kids in Brazil go to school 8:30 – 3:00. Answer: False. Most kids go to school in EITHER the morning (7:30 – 12) or the afternoon (1:30 – 6). They usually eat their lunches at home. Also, the school year runs from February through December. Summer vacation is from mid-December to early February. School kids play similar playground games though. Games like bola de gude (marbles), queimada (a game similar to dodge ball), barra-bandeira (capture the flag), and cabo-de-guerra (tug-of-war) are popular. If you are game, maybe try one that is a little different: Luta de galo is Portuguese for “fight of the roosters” and is a fun game you can play outdoors or in your classroom if you have space to clear the desks from the center of the room. Any number of children can play. Split the children into pairs. Unlike other games, partners are not teammates, but opponents. Ask each child to tuck a handkerchief or piece of cloth into their belt or waistband, cross their right arm across their chest, and hold up their left leg. Players must hop around one-legged and use their free arm to snatch their opponent’s handkerchief. If a child puts their left leg on the ground or unfolds their right arm, they’re out. All you need are some bandanas!
Haviainas are the most popular flip-flop in the world. They’ve been making them since 1962. While they have been popular in Brazil for a long time, it wasn’t until the 1990s that they became a fashion trend. The original Haviainas had white insoles and colored outsoles and straps. It became fashionable to flip the soles upside down to create one color flip-flops. Now the company offers all sorts of designs. Why not be on the look-out for these fun sandals on the feet of spectators during your Olympic watching – kind of a Where’s Waldo activity. Count how many different types of Haviainas you can find!
Can you make those chocolate things again, Mom? I just got asked that question yesterday. And I get it at least once a month. Brigadeiro are essentially balls of gooey chocolate rolled in sprinkles or other toppings. Who can resist that? No one. If you’d like to do some hands-on exploration, make these tasty treats with your kids and enjoy while watching the Olympics. Get our recipe here.
And if your kids want to take a trip to Brazil without leaving home, try a good book. We happen to know one. Adventure into the Brazilian world of shadowy rainforests, wild animals, and tropical beaches with Sofia and Júlia in Mystery of the Troubled Toucan.
Nine-year-old Sofia Diaz’s world is coming apart. So is the rickety old boat that carries her far up the Rio Negro river in Brazil. Crocodiles swim in the dark waters. Spiders scurry up the twisted tree trunks. And a crazy toucan screeches a warning. It chases Sofia and Júlia, her new friend, deep into the steamy rainforest. There they stumble upon a shocking discovery.
And . . . if you’ve already read that book, keep your eyes open for the next one in the series, Mystery of the Lazy Loggerhead is coming soon.
Mystery of the Lazy Loggerhead
Sofia and Júlia visit the coast of Brazil. It’s fun in the sun until they notice mysterious markings in the golden sands. Someone or something is after the loggerhead sea turtles. But why? It’s up to Sofia and Júlia to uncover the truth before it’s too late.
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