Exploring Geography: Belgium

Exploring Geography at Mama Smiles

Welcome to another Exploring Geography post! Today’s post comes from Lyndsay, a writer and full-time mama to a 3 year old son, who was born while she was living in Belgium as an expat. She is passionate about feminism, natural birth, play-based learning, baby-wearing, Canadian Literature, gentle-parenting, healthy eating, animal rights and breast-feeding education. Lyndsay has given up her two careers of English professor and early education teacher to homeschool her son. When not writing her blog ourfeminist{play}school, playing with her son, or editing her recent collections of poetry, she is hanging out in her West Toronto community with her physics-loving-cello-playing geek of a British husband.

Brussels market

When first glancing through a travel guide, Belgium might not seem like the most interesting of European destinations. Despite this misconception, Belgium is a country full of hidden delights sure to interest children and parents – whether as a topic for homeschool study, or as a destination to explore.

Brussels food

Food

Belgium takes food very seriously. Meals out are no joking matter – everything is done to perfection, topped off with the nicest details. If you have a little foodie in your family, Belgium is a win for sure. But, even the less discerning of palates will fall in love with Belgian fare: fries, waffles, and (high quality) chocolate! Here is a great little vegan waffle recipe that is kid-helper friendly. If you are studying Belgium at home, be sure to make these with your kids, and check out this episode of National Geographic’s Toot and Puddle, available on iTunes. They visit Brussels and enter a waffle making contest!

Brussels waffle

To Market, To Market

Every day of the week offers a different market square to explore. These sections of the cities and towns are bustling with music, twinkling lights, and people eating and drinking in the public squares. It is a true delight to the senses!

Brussels market

If you are visiting Brussels, be sure to take a trip to Chatelain Market on Wednesdays. This market is truly family friendly and welcoming to non-French or Flemish speakers. If you are studying Belgium at home, why not set up a play-dough market? Or build a market square with lego? Head down to your own market or grocery store and hunt up some true Belgian market delights: Belgian endive, Brussel sprouts, a tasty baguette and some yummy apples.

Brussels market

The Seat of Europe

This is a great topic to share with older kids. Brussels is the seat of the European government and a place where great thinkers come to make decisions about European and global politics. Have your child study a few important issues of 5 or 6 different EU countries. Discuss with your child what the EU is and who is a part of it. Use flags on toothpicks and a playdough model of Europe to mark which countries are a part of the EU. Grab some euros from the bank and explore the monetary system of the EU. How many languages are spoken in the EU? If you are visiting Brussels, be sure to visit the impressive EU buildings and check out the environmentally friendly commission building.

brussels countryside

If you are visiting Belgium, be sure to explore the countryside of both Flanders in the north and Wallonia (French) in the south. Beautiful old abbeys and picturesque towns await the curious traveller. One of the most amazing treats in this country is taking a trip to the World Heritage site of Brugge. Giant bell towers, 11th century leper hospitals and ancient nunneries await!

brussels brugge

Don’t make the mistake of so many and use Belgium as a pit stop on the way to France or Germany. This quirky little country is full of amazing people, food and sights.

Thank you, Lyndsay, for this wonderful post – Belgium sounds like an amazing country to visit, and live in! Be sure to drop by Lyndsay’s blog to see some of the fantastic activities she does with her son! Two of my favorites are her space themed sensory bin and this contact paper human body!

Interested in contributing a post to my Exploring Geography Series? Email mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com.

Comments

  1. says

    I’ve only been out of the country once and it was to Belgium with Glenn on business. I couldn’t believe it but they even sold waffles in vending machines!!!! It was beautiful and all of the old buildings and cobblestone streets were so charming. I have to say I felt completely under dressed (typical American). All the ladies dressed so fancy, all in heels too, even on the cobblestone.

  2. says

    Wow, this is a nice guest post. We went to Belgium a couple of times when I lived in France. Brugge and Antwerp are lovely places to visit!

  3. says

    If we ever finish the States…then we will be moving onto the world..and you have already posted all the information we need! :) My girls saw this and said, I’m using her blog when I have to do Belgium!

    • maryanne says

      You made my day! That’s my hope – to create a fantastic resource for parents and kids to learn more about the world!

  4. says

    We’ve been to Belgium! We stayed for a few days on a tour of the BENELUX…and it was wonderful- the waffles were worth the wait- They were serving them in the courtyard! Loved the experience and seeing and reading this post about it!

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