I'm very excited to finally be able to share with you my new format for the Global Explorers series! After testing this summer's o...

Global Explorers Family Dinner Adventure - Korea


I'm very excited to finally be able to share with you my new format for the Global Explorers series! After testing this summer's original format at home, I found the activity books were a little hit or miss with my kids. Sometimes they were interested and did some of the activities and other times they looked at the postcard and booklet and just left it off to the side. So I started brainstorming ways to make it a little more fun and exciting and ideally involve the whole family. That's when the idea for a family dinner emerged. I thought providing an idea or two for a full meal menu along with some fun fact conversation cards and an activity placemat would make for a more complete experience. But then, I had another brain spark...

My kids are SUPER into mystery books and they've enjoyed mystery puzzle games like Carmen Sandiego and Highlights Top Secret Adventures. They also had a lot of fun when I created a Wild Kratts-Carmen Sandiego hunt across Africa last year to introduce our African savannah unit study. I thought, what would be more fun than a themed dinner followed by crime mystery to solve! And so began the task of creating such a game...

Let me just say that it took a lot more time to prepare than I was expecting. I had to come up with a crime. I had to research various locations in Korea. I had to create a guide booklet with information about each location. The plan was to use the format of the Carmen Sandiego games and have the players follow the thief from place to place until they were caught and the stolen item was recovered. But I wanted it more fun and interactive than just reading clues about the next destination. So I had to come up with clues AND puzzles about the locations and clues about the thief. Then I had to figure out how to make the puzzles as easy to set up as possible without needing specialized items. That meant creating a lot of printables. Then I had to print everything out, set it up, and test the game. Daddy and the kids were more than happy to test it out for me and provide feedback on what needed a little tweaking. And after the test run I realized I needed to provide very detailed instructions on how to set up and guide the game. BUT...it is finally ready to share AND I learned a lot during the process and I'm confident the next go around will go much smoother and quicker. So, without further ado, here is everything you need to have your own Korean Family Dinner Adventure!!

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Menu 1:
Bibimbap rice bowls - Bibimbap literally means mixed rice; it is a rice bowl filled with various proteins and veggies and is a very customizable dish. The recipe I have linked is the one I used as a starting point, but I kind of went my own way. All the recipes I read through included using gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) to make a spicy sauce. My kids only like very mild spice so I was not going to spice up the whole dish. What I did was cook all the components separately, seasoned simply with salt and pepper and a little garlic. Then I put out store-bought stir fry sauce and sweet chili sauce and everyone could add how much of which kind of sauce they wanted. We made this dish twice with various toppings. Here are the different toppings we used:
- thin sliced pan fried beef
- cubed and pan fried SPAM (did you know Korea is the second largest consumer of SPAM in the world after the US?)
- sautéed baby spinach
- sautéed carrot sticks
- sautéed zucchini sticks
- sautéed pineapple chunks
- raw cucumber sticks
- sunny side up eggs
- sesame seeds

Menu 2:
Korean inspired burgers with pickled radish and onion - we did not make our own burgers, we used premade and just added the spicy mayo and pickled radish and onions. If you make the homemade burgers, please let us know how they came out!
Cole slaw - it's what we had on hand. Feel free to have some kimchi on the side instead!

Dalgona coffee - for the adults (it was really good!)
Banana milk - for the kids (they loved their drink too!)

And now for the crime adventure! Below are all the files you will need to play plus a bonus postcard from authors John C. Stickler and Soma Han. If you have any questions about the game, please don't hesitate to comment or send me a message!

Recommended Books:
Maya and the Turtle by John C. Stickler and Soma Han
Mindy Kim series by Lyla Lee and Dung Ho
Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park and Hoe Baek Lee
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now by John C. Stickler and Soma Han
If You Were Me and Lived in...South Korea by Carole P. Roman and Kelsea Wierenga
Asian Adventures A-Z by Yobe Qiu and Jade Le