In our new picture book travels series with St. Paul’s Plus Preschool, we’ll be sharing fun ways to integrate cultural exploration through your preschool reading adventures at home! Each article will include a story to read together, craft idea, fun country facts, and a suggesting for taking your exploration out of the house.

This month, we’re exploring the country of Mexico and — in keeping with the spirit of the season — the concept of gratitude.Gracias Thanks - (cool) progeny

The Book: Gracias / Thanks by Pat Mora

“I like that the book talks about the simplicity of daily things to be thankful for,” said Karen Harding, World Cultures Teacher at St. Paul’s Plus.

In the book, Gracias / Thanks,  a young boy (biracial Mexican/Caucasian) tells about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful. According to School Library Journal, the poetic writing “carries a sense of happiness brought by the simple things in life.”

Gracias Thanks - (cool) progeny

The Activity: Make a Thankful Journal

This is an activity that many St. Paul’s Plus classes did together but that can also be easily adapted for home! 

After reading the book, Gracias / Thanks, ask the children to draw a picture of what they are thankful for. Encourage them to use details by providing different colored crayons and markers. Pro Tip: remind them to use shapes!

Use that drawing as the first page (or even the cover!) in a new thankful journal. Encourage your child to add to the journal each time they think of something for which they are thankful. 

Gracias Thanks - (cool) progeny

Fun Facts About Mexico

  • Football is the National Sport (We know the sport as soccer in the United States!).
  • The world’s largest pyramid is located in Mexico. The Great Pyramid of Cholula is an ancient Aztec temple and is in the town of Puebla, Mexico.
  • Mexico introduced chocolate, corn and chilies to the world.
  • Mexico is the Most populated Spanish speaking country in the world.
  • Chihuahuas – the smallest breed of dogs — are named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico.

Extend the Adventure

Head to Port Discovery to see the Nickelodeon Dora and Diego Let’s Explore! exhibit before it closes on February 19th! Your child will love entering the enchanting world of Dora the Explorer, her animal-rescuing cousin Diego, and their friends Boots and Baby Jaguar! Explore Isa’s Flowery Garden, help Tico gather nuts, join the Pirate Piggies crew as they set sail, and search for baby animals in the Rainforest Maze. Kids will role-play, solve problems, practice sharing and caring behaviors, and learn Spanish words. Everyone will celebrate a successful day – “We did it! ¡Lo hicimos!”  MORE

About Our Sponsor: St. Paul’s Plus

St. Paul’s Plus has been serving infants, toddlers and preschoolers for over 25 years and recognizes that children learn by doing. At the heart of the program is the knowledge that children need to feel safe and loved in order to reach out to the world around them. By providing a positive, loving environment, their teachers have formed foundations for life-long learning since our opening in 1989. St. Paul’s Plus promotes the development of the whole child in the areas of social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth, and the staff strives to create a positive and nurturing environment where children explore and learn. MORE