Around the World at Home: Bolivia Crafts, Activities, and Food

If your kids want to learn about countries around the world, this is the place! We are going through each country and learning fun facts, history, great activities, delicious food, and crafts!

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This week, we visit Bolivia! Read on to find out about crafts from Bolivia, a local cuisine dish, the Uyuni Salt Flat, and more! The kids will have a great time learning with hands on activities all about Bolivia!


Don’t forget to check out The Travel Book post for awesome info and resources!


Hop on the plane, put on some music, and let’s take the kids to Bolivia!

kids sitting on pillows as a pretend airplane

Fun facts

Bolivia is a very diverse country when it comes to climate and terrain. It has the Atacama dessert (the driest place on earth), as well as part of the Amazon rainforest. It also is home to the Andes Mountains.

While Bolivia is landlocked, it does host Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world (that you can get to). Isla del Sol is the largest island within Lake Titicaca.

Fun Facts about Bolivia: Isla del Sol ocean/shore
Isla del Sol

Image by Rodrigo Digo

Bolivia originally belonged to the Inca Empire, until Spaniards occupied and controlled Bolivia for a time. In 1825, Bolivia gained its independence.

Bolivia has the largest indigenous people of all the countries in Latin America.

There are many active volcanoes in the Andes mountains, with the most recent one erupting in 1995.

Bolivia also has the impressive Salar de Uyuni, the highest flat salt pan in the world! It is over 2 miles above sea level.

Uyuni Salt Flats, white ground
Uyuni Salt Flat

Image by Johnnie Shannon

Here’s a cool, quick YouTube video to see the salt flat

Watch Here

Bolivia is known to have two capitals: La Paz and Sucre. La Paz is better known and this is where government resides. Sucre is technically the capital that is written in Bolivia’s constitution. (Find out how they got their names in the history section below!)

Not far from Sucre, you can find the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world!

La Paz is the highest city in the world, sitting just under 12,000 feet.

The most popular sports in Bolivia are soccer (“fútbol”), tennis, and swimming.

Bolivians speak Spanish, but some parts also speak Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani.

Independence

In 1532, Spanish explorers came to Bolivia in search of gold and silver. They found it, and shipped over 40,000 tons of silver back to Spain using the indigenous people for the hard work. In the early 1800’s, the people of Bolivia rose up and fought. Simón Bolívar, from Venezuela, led an independence movement for many of the South American countries. When independence was won, the country was named after him, and he was its leader for a short time in 1825. Shortly after in 1826, General Sucre was elected as new Bolivia’s first president.

Language

Some simple Spanish phrases and words can be found in our post on Argentina!

Quechua are Inca descendants in South America who live in the Andes Mountain region. Their population goes from Ecuador to Bolivia. Here are a few words to practice in Quechua-

Allianchu- hello, how are you?

Allianmi- I’m well, thank you

Munay- many meanings about expressing love or admiration. For example, you would say “munay” if you like their dress, or if you’re grateful for a favor.

Llankey- work. Those in the Andes work very hard, and can be recognized by saying “llankey”

Sulpayki- thank you

Food

People of Bolivia eat an array of foods like fruits, vegetables, beef, and chicken.

One popular dish is Sopa de Mani, or “peanut soup.” We made this for dinner and, though it sounded a bit interesting, we actually really enjoyed it! Here’s the recipe we made: Sopa de Mani (You might need to hit the English Translate button when prompted. There was an ingredient at the bottom we didn’t use as I didn’t know where to find it).

We used bowtie noodles instead of macaroni (the store didn’t have any at the time…!)

sopa de mani, food from Bolivia

Another very popular food in Bolivia is Buñuelos. These are basically fried dough with cinnamon sugar, and the kids really liked these. I adapted a recipe from the book Bolivia: Enchantment of the World by Nel Yomtov. (available at Amazon or perhaps your local library).

Buñuelos

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp each baking powder and salt
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 T melted butter
  • oil (Vegetable or coconut, enough to fry with)
  • cinnamon sugar

Beat the milk and egg together. Add on top the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix all together. Add melted butter and mix. Form dough into small balls, then gently smash between your hands. Place the flattened balls into a pan filled with hot oil and fry until golden (if the oil isn’t deep enough, you may have to flip the dough halfway thru cooking). Remove dough balls once cooked through and let cool on paper towels. Then, roll each buñuelo in cinnamon sugar.

bunuelos
bunuelos
buñuelos

Activity

Salt flats

Do you know how a salt flat is formed? In parts of the Earth, the surface is such that water cannot absorb back into the Earth. All that is left for the water to do is evaporate. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind all the minerals contained in it.

To see this in real life, we took a small, shallow container and lined it with foil (this just helped to visually see what happens!)

Fill the container with about a quarter-inch of water, and then set it aside for a few days. Ours took about 3 days to completely evaporate, but it depends on your climate where you are.

After a few days, look at the foil in the container and you’ll be able to see the minerals!

foil with salt

This is what was left from our small amount of water. Imagine a huge area of land covered in water, and then the water all evaporates! All the salt and minerals get left behind and form great salt flats.

Silver Transport Race

The kids loved this activity about Bolivia’s history.

Since the Spaniards transported over 40,000 tons of silver from Bolivia to Spain, we did a little relay race to see who could transport their silver the fastest.

All you need for this is a bucket or container, tin foil, and two small containers. I also drew out a basic template of Spain.

Wad up 16 balls of tin foil into balls. Put 8 in each of the two containers and set them a couple feet apart from each other on one side of the room. Tape on your drawing of Spain to the bucket/container. Put the container on the opposite end of the room (the farther the better!)

Split into teams (adults may play too, of course 😉 )

One player at a time from each team grabs a ball of silver and runs it to the bucket on the other side of the room. When they come back and pass the start line, the next player may go. Keep taking turns until all the silver is in “Spain.” The first team who gets their silver in the bucket first, wins!

kids dropping "silver" into a bucket
foil balls in an orange bucket
kids running back and forth

Craft for Bolivia: God’s Eye

Gods Eye craft of Bolivia

The ancient symbol “Ojo de Dios,” or God’s Eye, is from the Aymara Indians of Bolivia. It is made with yarn being wrapped around a cross and symbolizes God watching over and protecting the people who pray. These can be made on twigs, but for convenience we made them on popsicle / craft sticks.

All you’ll need is a few different colors of yarn cut into 2-3 foot strands (for each person), 2 popsicle sticks per person, and some glue (hot glue is best as long as the adult does it!)

Directions:

Glue two popsicle sticks together through their middles, to create a T shape. Then you wrap the first color yarn around each stick, one at a time, until the yarn runs out. At that point, tie on the second color yarn to the first piece of yarn and continue. Repeat with the third color of yarn and glue the final end to the stick.

For more detailed instructions, see here.

making Bolivia crafts God's Eye

Save this to Pinterest!

All about Bolivia for kids pin

Are you going to try the peanut soup? (It’s really good!) How about the Ojos de Dios craft?

Give it a try and tell us what you think!

You may also like:

Around the World at Home- Argentina! and Paraguay from Home!

37 thoughts on “Around the World at Home: Bolivia Crafts, Activities, and Food”

  1. This was so fun to read. My husband served a two year mission for our church in Bolivia and loved peanut soup.

  2. Such a great way to teach kids about different cultures! When you turn learning into hands-on activities, its fun, and they will want to learn more! (The fried dough looked yummy!)

  3. I love all these ideas and collecting them for when my grandson, now 2, is old enough. I used to do the salt flats experiment with my high school students!

    • That is awesome! I read about how the salt flats formed and thought…”I could probably show them this pretty easily”. It’s fun to get that hands-on learning.

  4. I love learning about different cultures, especially their foods! The sopa de mani looks nice and hearty!

  5. I think that trying to make recipes from the country is great! It might get my picky kid to actually try something new 🙂

    • Haha Yes! It’s really fun and the kids really liked the soup! (And Bunuelos, of course. They are covered in sugar!)

  6. This is such a fun idea! I’m going to borrow it for my oldest. We are doing homeschool preschool and virtual travel to other countries would be so fun to add to our work!

  7. One of the best parts of homeschooling and remote learning is being able to incorporate more than just one element learning. I love the way you add foods and art to the traditional educational pieces.

  8. Such a fun and memorable way to learn about the world! Your kids will remember so much more about these countries than if they had just read about them in a book.

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