World Village Playset Ireland promotes innovative play and offers Irish adventures to curious kids in the comfort of home. This beautifully detailed toy immerses children in Irish culture as they explore the play mat, wooden figures, story cards, and book.
Laura Barta, the founder and creator of these imaginative toys, is eager to connect kids to their heritage and has designed these beautiful playsets with love and attention to detail.
Laura has graciously offered one play set as a prize for a lucky reader to win, but before entering the giveaway let’s explore the reasons why it is important to share our cultural heritage with our children.
And so, let me hand you over to Laura….
Why It’s Important, and How to Connect Kids to Their Heritage:
You might feel hard pressed to get kids who are steeped in the here and now to interact with the past. But when kids connect with their cultural heritage, through interesting stories, meaningful traditions, and larger-than-life ancestors it makes the past feel relevant.
That’s important because knowing where they came from can help kids develop a sense of identity and independence that may have far-reaching effects.
In fact, research has shown diving into family heritage can lead to higher self-esteem, improved school performance and even better behavior. So whether you know a little or a lot about where you come from, it’s worth sharing what you know with your kids.
A Simple Exploration:
It’s easy to casually explore family heritage with your kids!
In fact, learning about family history can be woven into the fabric of your everyday lives. Start as you shuttle the kids from one after school activity to the next.
Try a game of 20 questions where the answer is a person in your extended family. Or, a challenge to name 5 things about Grandma from when she was a girl.
Rather than asking about their day, share family lore, retelling important or exciting factoids from your family’s past. You might be surprised at what they don’t know. Even things that happened during their lifetimes may be unclear.
Over dinner, investigate deeper by examining a family tree, exploring both immediate family, and those who came many generations before. Who had two sets of twins? Who immigrated from Ireland? Why did one sister stay behind?
Share compelling family histories and events when your kids are looking for a bit of entertainment. Family history can be just as exciting as movies when you know how to spin a good yarn. Ask “Have I ever told about the time your great grandpa met a movie star (or got expelled from school)?”
Here’s Why We Share:
However your family chooses to explore its heritage, discussing the why behind these shared experiences, people and histories is important. After all, that “why” is what helps kids develop a positive sense of self.
Kids can learn so much about themselves through their ancestors’ experiences, struggles and triumphs.
Do you have any immigrants in your family? Maybe your family came to the states during the Great Irish Famine in the mid-1800’s, or maybe they came earlier as part of the Protestant Scots-Irish exodus?
How about indigenous people or former slaves? For kids, knowing that their family struggled, survived and grew into what it is today, illustrates that ability to persevere through hard times.
This familial survival also points to gratitude, and an understanding, for many kids, that they are here because of the skill and grit of those who came before them; they have much to be thankful for.
The stories of your heritage can also teach kids about being flexible, knowing that there are different ways of doing things, as each generation branches out and tries new things.
There are sure to be a few “black sheep” in the family. Discussing their experiences alongside everyone else’s helps kids practice forgiveness (of themselves and others). It’s one way to realize that both the good and the bad are part of moving forward.
In the end, kids can rely on these stories to help them feel good about their own struggles, abilities, and differences, every time they encounter the great big world around them.
The collection of stories and the sheer number of ancestors gives kids a fuller picture of everything that came before theme. This complexity of identity gives kids options to explore who they really are. And that feels good!
Make it Real:
There are so many great ways to bring your family’s heritage to life. Incorporating play and creativity into the mix helps kids learn, so they can feel good about themselves and their family as they engage with their heritage. Here are some simple ideas you can try at home to do just that:
- Make a family tree—whether you use construction paper, or a pre-printed illustrated tree, see how far back you can trace your roots. Remember to share stories as you go!
- Put together a family photo album—sure, everything is digital these days, but this is a great excuse to dig through old photo albums and slides, pulling out pictures of family members that go back a few generations. Do you notice any special or traditional clothing in pictures? Any special places or settings in them? Collect them in a photo album or make an artistic pic collage (in real life) you can hang on a wall.
- Map out your heritage—grab a map of the great big world and mark off the cities, regions and/or countries your ancestors hailed from. Are your ancestors from Galway? Clare? Tipperary? Kildare? Do you know your original clan?
- Plan a family history vacation—Use your heritage map to plan a trip to the ancestral lands with your kids. Think about what sights you would visit. Do you have any relatives living there now? Are there important places you should see based on your family history (churches, houses, towns, etc.)? Even if you don’t have the opportunity to go, there’s lots that can be learned in the planning.
- Record interviews—with grandparents and other older relatives. Edit these family histories together and then share them with other relatives.
- Connect to family heritage through food – have any recipes been passed down? Instead of waiting for the holidays, cook up something today.
- Explore family artifacts – take a close look around the house, even the nooks and crannies, to see what family history you have at home. Those precious mementos bring family history to life.
- Books and toys – bring family history home to play in the easiest possible way for kids – play! Books and toys offer insights of culture that are often lost when passed down from generation to generation.
- Try a DNA testing kit—you might be surprised by what you find!
- Record special family stories—Start a family story journal or vlog that can be shared with family members.
- Discover new ancestors—using government records. Ancestry records are a great place to find marriage licenses, death certificates and service records which might help point you to other unknown or exciting family connections.
Whatever activity you choose, be sure to share your findings with friends and family members. Who knows? They might be inspired to start their own heritage search!
*A note about adopted children. For some children who are adopted, learning about family history can be confusing or stressful because they’re not sure where they fit in—with their bio or adoptive family. It’s important to note that they don’t have to choose between them. Be sure to follow their lead as you explore; let them decide which heritage(s) to examine and connect with, as they work to build a positive self-identity.
About the Author:
Laura Barta is the founder of Whole Wide World Toys, Inc. and the creator of innovative, award-winning toys for world exploration. Living and working on 4 continents and traveling to more than 50 countries, she learned that cultural understanding leads to a world of opportunities. Sharing global curiosity with children is her aim in life.
World Village Playset Ireland:
World Village Playset Ireland immerses kids in Irish culture with creative play. Kids explore the beautifully-detailed fabric play mat, wooden figures, story cards and story/activity book, telling stories and building knowledge about life in Ireland. World Village Playsets bring the world home to play.
Thirteen hand-cut wooden figures are the characters and props for storytelling play. They also have Gaelic Irish and English labels for language development.
The beautifully-detailed, 32″ x 44″ fabric play mat helps children bring an imaginary Irish village to life, with story cards providing prompts to inspire endless stories.
The educational book, My Ireland Travel Journal, explains cultural details as sister and brother duo, Emma and Joe, discover and learn about life in Ireland from their new Irish friends. The 32-page illustrated, color book also includes activities for active learners such as making a St. Brigid’s cross and Irish shortbread.
This play set radiates positivity and creativity, offering kids storytelling adventures akin to world travel, right from home.
World Village Playset Ireland was developed through research, travel, interviews, an Irish culture consultant, and kids’ enthusiastic feedback. The gouache-inspired illustrations by children’s book author/illustrator, Brandon Reese, convey life in Ireland in this fun, fascinating play set.
One lucky reader will win a World Village Playset Ireland.
To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Sunday, April 21st, 2019.
Any comment will do. What you write does not affect your chance of winning, but if you need inspiration why not tell us if you know a child who would enjoy playing with this Irish themed village play mat.
A winning comment will be chosen randomly. Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win. Your e-mail won’t be published, just used to contact our lucky contestant for mailing of the prize.
The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 21st, 2019, at the bottom of this blog post.
You may check out Irish American Mom’s complete terms and conditions for sweepstakes’ entries by clicking here.
Many thanks to everyone who leaves a comment and supports this giveaway.
And many, many thanks to Laura for this inspiring post, underscoring the importance of sharing our family stories with younger generations and encouraging them to explore their family histories. We also really appreciate her generosity in sponsoring this prize.
And don’t forget to share this post with other families and friends who might like to explore their Irish heritage with their loved ones.
Update – Winner Chosen On April 21st, 2019:
Our lucky winner has been randomly chosen using the Pick Giveaway Winner Plug-in for WordPress.
And the lucky reader is ….
Shelley Mc Laughlin-True
I’ll notify Shelley via email and then organize mailing of her prize with Laura from Whole Wide World Toys.
A big thank you to everyone for supporting this giveaway by leaving comments. I enjoyed reading how so many of you believe it is important to share our Irish heritage with our children and grandchildren.
An a big thank you to Laura Barta for sponsoring this prize and for sharing her innovative toy with us.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
Disclosure: I do not have a business relationship with Whole Wide World Toys and did not receive payment for this blog post. I simply like to help spread the word about Irish and Irish American products and small businesses. If I ever receive sponsorship for a post or affiliate payments I will be sure to let you know.