SPAIN: La Tomatina is a famous tomato-throwing fight that takes place every August in Spain. Tens of thousands of visitors flock to the city of Buñol to participate. While some say that it is a huge waste of tomatoes, a #funfact is that the acidity of the tomatoes actually cleans all of the streets, which I personally found pretty interesting. To say the least, it is a very unique tradition and an ‘attention-grabbing’ way to start the first semester.
Gazpacho is a delicious soup from Spain, and the perfect cold tomato dish to enjoy on a hot summer day. Last year, third, fourth, and fifth graders took a day to celebrate La Tomatina by making Gazpacho in class. This is the recipe we used. Note that Salmorejo is very similar to Gazpacho, but it contains a few additional ingredients.
Another year, to celebrate and reenact the day sans actual tomatoes (someone had allergies), fourth graders made catapults out of Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and hot glue, and launched decorative, lightweight balls at G.I. Joe firemen and LEGO men figurines. This was a great exercise in teambuilding and community to start the year, but did take more than one class period to complete.
Throwing crumpled up pieces of red paper, Dodgeball-style, in two teams can also be an exciting alternative and simulation.