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  • Writer's pictureYasmeen Kamrani Sallam

Invitation to Explore Tomatoes

American Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month has so many great opportunities to expose a child to the vast array of cultures. Food plays an integral role in our lives. Food is one of the ways we connect to other cultures as well as our own. The food we eat is intertwined with culture/traditions and many of our favorite memories are associated with gathering during special celebrations to enjoy food. By exploring and learning about different foods from around the world children can learn a lot about a particular culture.

The story Tomatoes for Neela by Padma Lakshmi, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal that we got from Books Inc. is about Neela who loves cooking Indian food with her Amma (Mother) in memory of her paati (Grandmother). In the story she learns about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from to make her paati's favorite tomato chutney sauce.

After reading the story we invited the children to explore all kinds of different tomatoes just like Neela in the book. We used our five senses smell, sight, touch, feel, and taste to examine all the different sizes, colors, textures, and tastes.

The more we are inclusive about celebrating and exposing cultures in classrooms or our homes from a young age, the more understanding, respect, acceptance we provide for everyone within our communities. There is so much beauty in the traditions of cultures from around the world and children deserve to experience it.

Here are other invitations to explore American Asian and Pacific Island Heritage Month:

Invitation to Create Sweet Treats

Dim Sum for Everyone

Collaborative and Animal Yayoi Kusama

I Am Golden, Lunar New Year Mix Media Collage

Taste of Lunar New Year

Invitation to Create Lunar New Year Dragons

Invitation to Create Lunar New Year Lanterns and Firecrackers

Lunar New Year Cuisine Sensory Bin Exploration

Lucky Animals PlayTray

Ten Little Dumplings

Invitation to Create Lunar New Year Lanterns

Invitation to Create Cherry Blossoms

Lunar New Year Mandarin Orange Sensory Soup

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

Invitation to Play Bee-bim Bop!

Diwali Rangoli Art

Invitation to Create Just Like Ruth Asawa

STEM Hanami

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