Take the kids on a fun night in Austria from your living room! We’ll learn some fun facts about Austria, make some great food, and more. This is all about Austria in our Around the World series.
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Great Books to Learn About Austria for kids
I always recommend these Travel Books, as they teach a little about every country in the world with great photos!
Here are a few other books I used for finding great info on Austria in this post:
Exploring World Cultures: Austria by Kaitlin Scirri
Who was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Who Was Marie Antoinette by Dana Meachen Rau
Cultures of the World: Austria – (check your library!)
Where is Austria?
Austria is located in south part of central Europe. It is a smaller country, mainly surrouded by Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, and Hungary.
The country is 362 miles wide, about the same width as the state of Washington.
Austria is famous for the Alps, a large mountain range that stretches from Switzerland to its west, nearly to Vienna on the east side of Austria.
Language in Austria
What do people speak in Austria?
The official language is German. You can tell if someone speaking German is from Germany or Austria though, similar how you can tell if someone is from England of the USA when they speak English. Accents are different and certain words may be used differently.
Fun Facts about Austria for kids
Language: German (see above section)
Geographical Size: small! It’s about the size of South Carolina (a U.S. state)
Austria Population: around 9 million, and 2 million of them live in Vienna!
Austrian National Day (Independence Day): October 26
The Danube River is Europe’s 2nd longest river, which flows through Austria and 9 other countries.
Austria is home to many animals commonly found in the mountains of the U.S.: bears, deer, rabbits, owls, eagles.
People ages 16 and up can vote for government leaders in Austria, meaning Austria is a democratic country.
Kids have to go to school until they are 15 years old.
The Christmas song Silent Night was written by an Austrian named Franz Gruber.
History of Austria for kids
People have inhabited Austria for a long time. It wasn’t till the 900’s AD that one German family after another began to take control of the land.
In this mid-1800’s, Austria became part of what was Austria-Hungary. During WWII, the Germans invaded and took over. By 1955, a treaty was signed to return Austria to independence.
Economy of Austria for kids
Austria makes and sells a lot of goods, but their number one source of work is service jobs. Many Austrians are doctors, teachers, or other jobs that help run the community.
Another big part of the economy is tourism, as many people love to travel to Austria and see great sights like the Alps (mountain range) or beautiful cities like Vienna.
Music in Austria
Music is a big part of Austria. Most people either play an instrument or sing in choirs or small groups.
There are many festivals in the summer featuring music which last for days, though some last for weeks!
A very famous place in Austria is the Vienna State Opera House, which will host 300 performances in a season. The highly regarded Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs here and maintains a high standard worldwide.
Take a 5 minute tour of the Vienna State Opera.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart- famous people from Austria
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a very popular musician. He was born in Austria in the 1700s and his curiosity and love of music helped him learn to play at a very young age. He composed original songs since he was 5. He only lived to be 35, but he composed many pieces that are still played today.
Many other musicians that are famous today are from Austria. Franz Joseph Haydn is known for how he shaped symphonies into what we know today and is appropriately known as “father of the symphony.”
Franz Schubert was born in Vienna. He wrote many songs, symphonies, sonatas, and dance pieces. He admired Beethoven’s work and is buried nearby him.
Marie Antoinette- famous people from Austria
Marie Antoinette was from Austria. As a teenager, she was married to the future king of France at only 15 years old. She had to leave her home and everything that was from Austria. Her husband, Louis the XVI became king, making her queen, when she was still a teenager!
The people of France did not like the monarchy and how they lived their rich lives while the people suffered. She is known for her saying “let them eat cake!” Eventually the people overthrew the monarchy, leading to Marie Antoinette’s death.
Check out more famous and talented people from Austria!
Christmas in Austria
In Austria at Christmas time, if you are naughty, you don’t get coal. You get punished from Santa’s evil twin brother, Krampus!
Austria is well known for its Christmas Markets in the winter. Shoppers can browse, eat, and shop for gifts like nutcrackers, ornaments, and other hand made items. The oldest known Christmas market in Vienna goes back to 1772.
Sports in Austria
The most popular sport in Austria is soccer (called football there). They also enjoy playing rugby and ice hockey. Because of the great mountain range in Austria, there are also many people who enjoy skiing.
Traditional Dress in Austria
If you ever visit an Austrian festival, you might notice people are dressed in a certain outfit. The traditional dress of Austria is called a drindl. Maria wears a drindl in The Sound of Music.
Festivals and Celebrations in Austria
Austria still holds balls and galas these days. Another famous Austrian, Johann Strauss, is popular for his Blue Danube Waltz which is often played at such events. (Your kids may even recognize this song!)
Easter is also well-celebrated in Austria, as the majority of the population is Roman-Catholic. Similar to other Christian countries, Austria celebrate Good Friday with a service and Easter Sunday with singing and worship.
Children also enjoy the Easter Rabbit who brings eggs to the kids.
50 days after Easter, Austria celebrates Corpus Christi. This religious holiday prompts Austrians to wear traditional clothing (like a drindl) and celebrate in parades across the country.
When learning all about Austria, we have to look into the food.
There are a few classic dishes you have heard of before that are traditional Austrian food.
First, the schnitzel. Weiner Schnitzel is a traditional Austrian food made from breaded veal (the meat of young calves). To make it, the veal is coated in flour, eggs, and salt. Then, it is coated in breadcrumbs and cooked up in a skillet.
Another traditional Austrian food is apple streudel. This is a pastry usually made with raisins, rum, cinnamon, and apples.
A favorite post-skiing Austrian dish is cheese fondue. Though it is more of a Swiss dish, Austria enjoys it just the same.
Other popular foods in Austria include goulash, noodles stuffed with cheese or meat, and leberknödelsuppe which is soup made with beef dumplings.
Try your hand at one of the dishes below, or try to cook up an Austrian Dessert!
We decided to make an apple streudel with a recipe from Taste of Austria. This site is created by the Austrian Embassy in the United States and talks about all things culinary.
Weiner schnitzel should be pounded very thin! Which mine wasn’t quite thin enough
Activities to Celebrate Austria
Have the kids dress up and watch a short clip of the opera The Magic Flute. In this short scene, the two characters sing about how they’d love God to bless them with lots of children. The scene takes place in a bed, but the only thing that happens is singing. (My kids thought it was a fun clip!) They sing about Papageno, a half-man, half-bird in the Magic Flute.
To get a visual of traditional clothing, we found these fun coloring pages (from Q is for Quilter) of children in Austria!
A very popular and traditional game of Austria is Fingerhakeln. This is finger pulling to the max! Each person hooks their finger into a leather strap and the pull begins. Whoever is able to pull the other person across the table wins!
Take turns with the kids and have a competition to see who is the Fingerhakeln champion! We had a hard time finding the right material for our strap. This is traditionally played with a leather strap because if its strength (and probably its forgiving softness on fingers.) We found that twine hurt, plastic bracelet cord broke too easy. Ribbon might work well. Maybe even a child size leather belt that you can put at its shortest setting.
Fun Facts About Austria for Kids- wrap up
Hopefully you had a great time learning some fun facts about Austria for kids and doing some fun activities. We personally loved trying the different foods we hadn’t had before, and my daughter loved coloring.