By Apryl Duncan, About.com Guide, adapted
Teaching kids about world cultures helps them appreciate the differences in
people and their traditions. Let’s put down the textbooks and travel around the
globe without ever needing a suitcase, and use our imagination to teach children
about the diversities in our world.
Create a passport
International travel requires a passport, so start this foreign adventure by creating a passport. Show your children the reasons we use a passport and what they look like. Next, help them make a small booklet to serve as their passport. They can later draw, use a sticker, or glue a picture of the country’s flag to “stamp” the pages of their passport as they “travel” from country to country.
Now that they have their passports, they’re ready to travel the world. Print a world map and use pushpins to illustrate where countries are located. Every time you learn about a new country, use another pushpin on your world map.
Study the weather
Kids who live in Ohio won’t have to worry about tropical storms. But where will you find these conditions? How’s the weather in Dubai or Pakistan today? Weather is more than the basics of sun, rain, wind, and snow. Learn about the weather in other countries to give them the full experience of what it’s like for other kids who live there.
Create or wear the types of crafts you would find in different countries. Beadwork, clothing, pottery, origami—the possibilities are endless.
In Bangkok shopping centers, you can buy everything from religious amulets to pet squirrels. Search for jade or haggle for high-tech electronics in Hong Kong’s markets. Look for the horse drawn delivery carts when shopping in Ireland. Use online resources and find pictures and articles to learn about each country’s marketplace.
Cook authentic recipes
What does Japanese or Arab food taste like? What types of food would you find on a typical menu in Germany? Cook authentic recipes together. Find what foods are popular in the country you are studying.
Learn cultural etiquette
What we might do in our home country isn’t necessarily appropriate in other countries. Learning about each culture’s etiquette can be enlightening for everyone. Pointing your feet in Thailand is offensive. Your left hand is considered unclean in Pakistan and India, so pass all food or objects to other people with your right. Learn about cultural etiquette with your child.
Teach the language
Learning a foreign language is fun for kids. Fortunately, we don’t have to know how to speak every single language to teach our kids. Study a country’s official language. Learn basic words in both written and spoken form. Not sure how to pronounce the words? Visit the About.com language labs to hear correct pronunciations.
Teach your children about the history of holidays observed in other countries. When did it begin? Why? How has it changed over the years? For example, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom observe Boxing Day. Countries in the Middle East celebrate Eid. These holidays’ traditions include giving money and charitable donations to organizations and people in need.
Courtesy of Motivated magazine. Used with permission. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.