Warning: Your toddler may beg for a cuckoo clock after learning about the traditional Swiss decoration.

Switzerland Facts, Games & Activities for Kids

by Stacy Zeiger

Your preschooler will likely be uninterested in Switzerland's history of armed neutrality. It being the birthplace of the Red Cross may not be of interest either, but there are plenty of other aspects of Swiss culture that could interest your child. Soon your preschooler will be speaking German, the primary language of the Swiss, and trying to break the record for the average consumption of chocolate.

1. All About Switzerland

Your preschooler won't care much about Switzerland's politics or economy. However, you can introduce some basic facts about the country. Start with the flag, one of only two square flags, and simple with its red background and white cross. One of the most famous features of the country is the Swiss Alps and the Matterhorn in particular. Your preschooler will enjoy looking at pictures of this impressive mountain range. You can also talk about some of Switzerland's most famous products: chocolate and watches. While a Tag Heuer or Victorinox may be out of your price range, you could present your preschooler with her first Swatch.

2. Food

Don't worry about the mess and get your preschooler in the kitchen to make some Swiss food. Mix together a traditional muesli for breakfast by combining some rolled oats, wheat flakes, dried fruits and nuts or seeds. Eat it mixed with yogurt or mix in some water and microwave it for a minute or two. For a snack, find a recipe for zimtsterne, cinnamon Christmas star cookies, or magenbrot, a soft sweet gingerbread sold at Swiss street fairs. If you would rather not cook, your child won't object to indulging in some Swiss chocolate, eating some Swiss cheese or enjoying some Juicy Juice and Nestle Toll House Cookies, both produced by Nestle, a Swiss company.

3. Games

Similar to "Duck, Duck Goose," "Don't Look Back, The Fox Walks Around" is one of the most well-known Swiss games. It features children sitting in a circle. The child playing the fox walks around the outside of the circle and drops a rock or piece of fabric behind one of the children. That child must get up and try to catch the fox before the fox makes it to the empty seat. If the child cannot catch the fox, he becomes the new fox. If you do not have enough kids to play that game, you can stage a recreation of the story of William Tell, balancing apples on dolls' heads and using a toy bow and arrow to knock them off.

4. Activities

A classic children's character, Heidi, comes from Switzerland. The book may be a little long for your preschooler, but you can skim through an illustrated version or show clips from the classic movie version starring Shirley Temple. The Swiss are also known for yodeling. Your toddler or preschooler will love learning to yodel because it offers a chance to be loud. See which of you can yodel the loudest and longest. If you can get your hands on an alphorn or make your own with a series of cardboard tubes, your preschooler will enjoy calling sheep and entertaining you with the classic Swiss instrument.

About the Author

Stacy Zeiger began writing in 2000 for "Suburban News Publication" in Ohio and has expanded to teaching writing as an eighth grade English teacher. Zeiger completed creative writing course work at Miami University and holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in secondary education from Ohio State.

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