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Venezuela: Angel Falls, Cuatro, & Arepas: A Hands-on Lesson for Children

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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Angel Falls

Angel Falls

Want to know more about Venezuela? Are you a lover of travel, geography teacher, homeschooling or involved parent, student, or life-long learner? In an effort to make world geography more meaningful and memorable, I've compiled all you will need to locate Venezuela on a map, cook a Venezuelan meal, watch YouTube clips on Venezuela, color the flag, create a Venezuelan craft, read a great book about Venezuela, and more!

Map showing Venezuela

Map showing Venezuela

Where is Venezuela?

Locate Venezuela on this map of South America. Use this map of Venezuela to label the capitol, Caracas. Mark other relevant features (rivers, mountains, famous locations, etc.) if desired. If you'd like to spend a bit more time researching the country, you can add the language, currency, type of government, religion, and/or famous landmarks. Write them on the back of the map. You can easily find all this information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuela.

Venezuela has the highest waterfall in the world called Angel Falls.

Venezuela has the highest waterfall in the world called Angel Falls.

Houses built on stilts in a lake that reminded early explorers of Venice, Italy

Houses built on stilts in a lake that reminded early explorers of Venice, Italy

Fun Facts About Venezuela

  • Christopher Columbus first sighted Venezuela during his third voyage to the New World.
  • Venezuela has the highest waterfall in the world called Angel Falls. It drops 3,212 feet, which is half the times the height of the Empire State Building.
  • The term 'Little Venice' was given to Venezuela by its explorers who found houses built on stilts in a lake, which reminded them of Venice.
  • In Venezuela, children receive presents twice during the Christmas season. Baby Jesus is traditionally thought to bring gifts instead of Santa Claus. On December 25, children awake to look for their gifts around the "Nacimiento" (Christmas tree) . On January 5th, children leave strands of straw beside their bed at night. January 6 is the Day of the Reyes Magos, thought to be the day on which the three wise kings came to visit Mary and Jesus. It is believed that the Three Wise Men still looks for the Baby Jesus on every January 5th night and leave gifts in those places that resemble a stable. On the following morning, children wake up to find toys and candies in place of the straw.

Info Credit

Flag of Venezuela

Flag of Venezuela

Venezuela's flag

Print and color the flag of Venezuela and learn the history and meaning of it from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Venezuela. The colors of the Venezuelan flag are yellow, blue, and red: the yellow stands for land wealth, the blue for the sea that separates Venezuela from Spain, and the red for the blood shed by the heroes of independence.

Visiting Venezuela on YouTube: Meet Venezuela

Climbing Angel Falls, the Beauty and the Danger

Shooting the Everlasting Storm

History of Venezuela's Ancient Tepuis

$10 Challenge in VENEZUELA (14 MILLION Bolívares)

The Collapse of Venezuela

This gives a brief overview of how the economy collapsed in Venezuela due to Socialism. If you have younger children, you can instead watch this animated and simplified version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5ZgKkD4XLg .

Make a Venezuelan Meal

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v-is-for-venezuela
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Prepare and serve:

  • Arepas (Corn Cakes)
  • Pabellon Criollo (Venezuelan Pulled Beef)
  • Guasacaca (store-bought guacamole) OR fresh sliced avocado
  • White rice
  • Caraotas Negras (black beans heated from a can)
  • Lettuce (optional)
  • Fried/baked plantains
  • Jugo de Mango (mango juice found in the Mexican/Latin American section of most grocery stores) or Passion Fruit Juice
Arepas

Arepas

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

20 min

30 min

8

Arepas (Venezuelan Corn Cakes)

  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, (optional)
  • 2 cups pre-cooked white cornmeal (such as P.A.N.®), (We found this at Publix in the international food aisle. It's different from tortilla cornmeal.)
  • non-stick cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Combine the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together until it forms a ball. Mixing this by hand is preferable. Let the dough rest for a few minutes in order to hydrate.
  2. Form the dough into eight 2-inch diameter balls. Pat each ball back and forth between your hands to flatten them into a 3/8-inch-thick arepa patties.
  3. Heat a pancake griddle or a large skillet over medium-high heat and then spray with a generous amount of non-stick cooking spray. Fry arepas until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. They are ready when you tap on them and you hear a hollow, thumping sound.
  4. Slice halfway through each arepa horizontally with a thin serrated knife to form a pita-like pocket. Fill with desired fillings.
  5. We filled our arepas with avocado and meat. (The recipe is below.)
Pabellon Criollo (Venezuelan Pulled Beef)

Pabellon Criollo (Venezuelan Pulled Beef)

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

1 hour 40 min

2 hours

8

Pabellon Criollo (Venezuelan Pulled Beef)

  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 2 chopped stalks celery
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 1 (1 1/2 lb) flank steaks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 chopped red bell peppers
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • cooked black beans (as an accompaniment)
  • cooked white rice (as an accompaniment)
  • cilantro leaf (for topping)
  • queso fresco or shredded mozzarella cheese (for topping)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot (that has a tight fitting lid) heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, and 1 onion and fry for a few minutes until softened; remove the vegetables to a plate. Season the meat with salt and pepper; add 2 tablespoons more oil to the pan, if needed, and brown the meat on both sides, about 5 minutes. Return the softened vegetables to the pan along with the bay leaf. Add enough water to just about cover the meat and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside; strain the liquid and reserve. Add another 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and put in the peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and the remaining onion; fry on medium-low heat until everything is soft and broken down, about 15 minutes. Shred the meat and add to the pan to heat through. Add some of the reserved braising liquid if the mixture becomes too dry. Serve with black beans and cooked white rice, and garnish with cilantro leaves and queso fresco. (This recipe came from food.com.)
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Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

15 min

20 min

4

Platanos Tajaditas (Baked "Fried" Plantains)

  • 4 plantains (as ripe as you can get them)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coat a nonstick cookie sheet with cooking spray. Cut the ends off of the plantains and peel them. Cut each plantain on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange in single layer and coat tops with cooking spray. Bake, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until plantains are golden brown and very tender. (This recipe came from food.com.)

Read a book about Venezuela

More Good Children's Picture Books on Venezuela Include:

  • Venezuela ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Venezuela by Katz Cooper
  • Arepas for Breakfast by Alejandra Rivas-Mintz
  • The Caiman by María Eugenia Manrique
  • Roberto's Trip to the Top by John B. Paterson Jr.
  • Five Little Arepas by Andrea M. Costantine
  • A Picture Book of Simon Bolivar by David A. Adler
  • Ávila y sus Lentes Mágicos / Avila and the Magic Glasses (a Spanish - English Edition) by Zulme Saldivia
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Make, decorate, & play a cuatro

The national musical instrument is the cuatro, which is similar to a ukulele and only has 4 strings. ("Cuatro" means 4 in Spanish.) Make, decorate, & play a cardboard and fishing line cuatro by following most of the directions at tlc.howstuffworks.com. Make the cuatro smaller than a guitar, and only add 4 strings.

Attempt Venezuelan Dance: Parranda

We watched the below video (and a few others) on a traditional Venezuelan dance and then had a mini-dance party. We danced together with the video and then everyone got a 10-second solo time. The dance is kind of like the samba. One video explained it that you keep one foot glued to the floor, one foot stepping on as many cockroaches as you can, and then add in lots of hip movement and spinning.

v-is-for-venezuela

Pray for the people of Venezuela

To find out about the religious nature of Venezuela and specific ways you can pray for the country, go to operationworld.com.

Where is Caracas, the capital of Venezuela?

Other countries starting with the letter V

Would you prefer to study a different country? Try one of these.

Vanuatu

Vatican

Vietnam

Virgin Islands (US Territory)

v-is-for-venezuela

Go to Around the World in 26 Letters to find links to all the countries we "visited." Each webpage features a menu, craft, books, video clips, worksheets, and more!

© 2011 Shannon

Have you visited Venezuela yet? - Please leave a note to let me know you dropped by. I LOVE hearing from you!

Shannon (author) from Florida on August 22, 2013:

@Notafraid: I'd love to see them in person someday!

Notafraid on August 21, 2013:

Those falls are beautiful!

Shannon (author) from Florida on July 31, 2012:

@ggalea: Thank you!

Gilberto Galea from Willemstad on July 31, 2012:

Excellent lens! Love Venezuela, our country.

WorldVisionary on October 30, 2011:

Great job on your new lens! Thumbs up.

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