Kids are extremely curious individuals (as some of may know more than others, Hi ZomppaParents!), and they will absorb almost anything you throw at them!
Of course, they will want to know everything about everything, but these are just a few ways you can relate a southern European country in the middle of the Mediterranean to them. Happy Zompping!
#1 Leonardo da Vinci has the same name as their favorite teenage mutant ninja turtle.
That famous painter that painted the Mona Lisa? Yeah he was Italian, and also what inspired the name of one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! The other three turtles are also named after famous Italian Renaissance Artists.
- Donatello or Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi is best known as a sculptor.
- Michelangelo or Michelangelo di Lodovico Buoranarroti Simoni is best known as a sculptor, architect, poet and engineer. (Kids might know his famous sculpture of David and his fresco on the Sistine Chapel Ceiling.)
- Raphael or Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino is well known as a portrait painter and produced many pieces of artwork during his lifetime.
It may also be worth mentioning that the Italian Renaissance began in the late 1400s in Italy, and ended in the first half of the 1500s. It was a time of revival in the arts and culture of Italy, and this period heavily influenced art around the world.
#2 The history of the world’s greatest food (at least to kids) … PIZZA!
It seems that people have been making pizza-like foods for over 7000 years! However, kids like to know who was the first person to make things, and the greatest thing of all to a kid is probably pizza. It seems that the first pizza maker is not known, but the world has many varieties of flat breads that are similar to pizza.
When you teach kids about pizza, it may be a good time to mention all the other types of flat breads they may know about, like pita bread, naan, tortilla, and even pancakes and corn bread. It would be a good time to also mention that pizza in America is pretty different than the pizza that can be found in Italy.
The establishments [in Italy] which specialize in pizzas are called “pizzeria” and often they have menus listing 20 or more types. In Italy, pizza is always made to order (with somebody in the kitchen kneading the dough for the individual pizzas), usually cooked in a wood oven, and has a very thin crust – not oily at all.
Remind kids to have an open mind when it comes to different pizza toppings.
#3 Italian Cars!
While not all kids really care about cars, it may be interesting for those little car enthusiasts to know where their favorite sport cars come from.
Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati are some of the drool-worthy cars of Italian heritage that are most famous, but we cannot forget about one of the largest car makers in the world- Fiat.
#4 Italian Rivers and Gondolas
While Italian cars may be more well known to a kid, Italian rivers are a major part of Italian culture. There are 918 miles of inland waterways in Italy, due in part to their peninsula status (be sure to explain what a peninsula is).
Gondolas, or flat-bottomed rowing boats, are traditionally used in Italian water-ways. Before the advent of motor-vehicles, gondolas were the major mode of travel for Italians. Now, gondolas are mostly used by tourists in the Northern city of Venice or in special rowing races known as regattas.
#5 The Italian Language (and how it’s different from Spanish)
It seems that kids these days know a fair amount of Spanish, which is extremely awesome. This makes for interesting challenges when trying to teach kids Italian.
This would be a great time to teach kids about the language’s Latin roots, and also how Italian is the closest language to Latin.
It may also be beneficial to make a quick mention of other Romance languages. First, they are called Romance languages because of their origin from the Latin spoken in the old Roman Empire (also based in Italy), and not how romantic the language is. The other Romance languages include French, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish.
Summer Intern- Alaina Poe