The Travel Children are really into the Ancient Greeks at the moment so they decided it would be fun to learn more about their country. We had lots of fun doing Greek activities with the kids and we’d love to share some ideas so you can be Greeks for the day too!
Greece has been near the top of the Travel Children’s wish list for while. The Ancient Greeks have inspired a fascination in the country, thanks largely to the antics of the ‘Groovy Greeks’ in the kid’s TV series Horrible Histories.
Their dream holiday would begin by exploring the ruins of Ancient Athens, before island hopping across the Mediterranean, playing on pristine beaches and eating delicious food! I spent a memorable holiday on Rhodes as a child and would love to take the kids there soon. Rhodes is a particularly good island for families with a nice mixture of beaches, resorts and historic attractions like the ancient acropolis in the village of Lindos dating back to 300BC.
Recently the closest the Travel Children have got to Greece is Melbourne! Yeah I know it’s in Australia but bear with me! Melbourne has a massive Greek community; it is believed to have the largest Greek population of any city in the world outside of Greece. As a result, Australia is home to many amazing Greek restaurants and the kids have certainly developed a taste for it!
The Travel Children love Greek food and luckily there is a Greek restaurant not too far from us. They were able to watch the chef preparing their food on the spit before tucking into pita wraps filled with smoky flame-grilled meat and tzatziki (greek yogurt mixed with cucumber and garlic).
If you don’t have a Greek restaurant nearby, moussaka is an easy dish you can make with your kids.
- Fry a chopped onion with garlic until soft, before adding 1lb/450g of minced lamb. Continue frying until brown.
- Stir in a can of tomatoes, 2tbsp tomato puree, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 20 mins.
- Fry 1 sliced aubergine until soft.
- Spoon some meat mixture into casserole dish and cover with aubergine layer. Repeat until you are left with a layer of aubergine on top. Top with your go-to cheese sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Bake for 45mins at 375°F /190°C/Gas Mark 5.
After lunch we settled down to watch the Disney movie Hercules. The hero, son of Zeus and Hera, was stolen by the evil Hades and made mortal. In order to become a god again, Hercules must prove his heroism and in the process he discovers that becoming a true hero isn’t just about being brave and strong. Although it is not necessarily true to the original myth of Hercules, it serves as an excellent introduction to Greek gods for kids. Here is the younger Travel Child’s verdict:
“I enjoyed watching Hercules because he became a god again by being a good person. I loved finding out more about the Greek gods”.
The Percy Jackson movies are an alternative, perhaps better suited to older children.
Inspired by the antics of Hercules, the kids decided to turn themselves into Greek heroes with laurel wreath crowns.
They were so easy to make. To make one yourself:
- Take a paper plate and cut out the centre. Cut a wedge from the hollow circle
- Cut leaf shapes from green card or paper and glue to the top of your paper plate.
That’s it! See I told you it was easy!
There are also some excellent printable activity and colouring sheets available online. We chose a colouring page with facts about Zeus. You can get the link to that on my pinterest along with suggestions for other Greek activities.
There are so many great fiction and non-fiction books out there with a Greek theme, it’s hard to narrow it down.
We have been reading the History Hunters book on Ancient Greece. It is a children’s book but I even learned loads of interesting facts!
The older Travel Child has recently finished ‘Who Let the Gods Out’ by Maz Evans, a fresh take on Greek mythology. Set in modern times, it is the story of a boy named Elliot whose family are suffering financial difficulties. Having accidently released Thanatos, an evil daemon of death, Elliot and Virgo have to enlist the retired Greek gods to help save the world and solve Elliot’s family problems. My son loved it and could often be heard laughing out loud as he read in bed! He says:
“If you are interested in the Greek gods, this book will be perfect for you. It’s an hilarious adventure story with great characters.”
He has just started reading ‘Swallow’s Dance’ by Wendy Orr, following the journey of a young priestess who has to flee when an earthquake destroys her home. Her family escape to Crete but their battle for survival has only just started. My son’s view on the book so far:
“I love how the book combines poetry into the story. I can’t wait to find out what happens to Leira and her family.”
We had a great time living a Greek life today and we hope we have inspired you to do the same. Do you have any suggestions for other Greek activities, movies, books or recipes?