“May I have an ice lolly?”
“Shall we take the lift or the stairs?”
“Run along and find your blue trousers, lad.”
Taking a pretend trip to England for the evening may be just what your family needs to brighten eyes and put smiles on faces.
You can make it as simple as watching an internet video of England’s landscape and attractions while eating sandwiches. (Sandwiches were “invented” in England.) Or if you want to make it a little more elaborate you can make some traditional English dishes for dinner, look at maps, teach of England’s places, people, sports, government, and traditions, and play some English games. A highlight of the night may be that your family has ancestors who came from England. Learning about ancestors adds a fascinating connection.
Here are few ideas for your “Evening in England”:
FOOD –We like to write a name card for each kind of food. For our trip to England another family came with us…so we had two moms making the food. That is why there is such a variety. Your trip to England can be much more simple!
Shepherd’s Pie—meat in a sauce covered with mashed potatoes
Crumpets—round yeast bread baked on a stove top or griddle
English Toad-in-the-Hole –sausage links baked in a Yorkshire pudding (not sweet)
Cheddar Cheese –taster little squares with a toothpick stuck in them is what we used, cheddar cheese originated in Cheddar, England
Sandwiches –we made tiny sandwiches and put a toothpick in them. The name “sandwich” comes from the 4th Earl of Sandwich asking for some meat between two slices of bread.
Chips –chips in England are like chunky French fries
Trifle –I didn’t want to take the time to make an official truffle so I baked a regular white cake mix and cooled it. Then I poured cooked chocolate pudding on top and put it in the fridge to set. Right before serving we put whipped topping on the cake.
Coloring Pages–We like to decorate with coloring pages that the kids color and hang up. A great source for English coloring pages is Activity Village .
Centerpiece—This trip to England we used a vase of homemade poppies to put in the center of our table. England celebrates “Remembrance Day” each November in honor of those who died in the wars (much like America’s Veterans’ Day). They use poppies to decorate. Here are picture instructions of how my family and I made the paper poppies—
London Bridges –We don’t really know if the game London Bridges originated in England, but we had fun playing it. Two people face each other and put up their arms and clasp the other person’s hands to create a bridge. Then the other people walk in a single file line under the bridge while singing.. “London Bridges falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridges falling down, my fair lady.” At that point the two people making the bridge bring their arms down and “capture” the person who is under the bridge. Then the singing continues, “Take a key and lock her up, lock her up, lock her up. Take a key and lock her up, my fair lady.” Then the bridge makers release their prisoner and the game repeats. We generally sing “my gentleman” if a boy is the one caught.
THINGS TO INTRODUCE
The English Flag, Big Ben, Stonehenge, Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, Cadbury Chocolate, The Crown—they are the head of the church and the military, but not the head of the government, Remembrance Day, the climate, Roland Dahl, JK Rowling, Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, The Tower Bridge, double decker buses, Robin Hood, the differences between British English and American English, etc. (I like to check books out from the library to teach me about the country. Assigning a certain part to each child helps them learn to speak in front of others.)
Some of my very favorite memories with my family stem from our time spent pretending to visit other countries. It is a highlight in our home. I think the preparation is as fun as the actual “visit”. Everyone coloring pages, making centerpieces, cooking food, and simply working together makes for a great time. An “Evening in England” was especially alluring to us because of the number of relatives we have who came from there. Regardless of anything else, it is enchanting to escape to a different world without leaving home. I hope you enjoy your trip!