Culture: How to Raise Globally Aware Children
After college, I did quite a bit of traveling and treasure those life experiences that exposed me to different cultures, foods, and even different views on life. My travels took me to remote villages in Vietnam, to the beach culture on the shores of Phuket, Thailand, and I even caught a glimpse into the multi-faceted honor code in Japan. Those experiences helped me become more open-minded and compassionate towards others. I would like my child to also have this compassion for other and become more globally aware. This awareness of others in the world should be part of the education process and one that can benefit them later in life.
How to Raise Globally Aware Children
Part of this education can be taught at home and doesn’t require passports and spending a lot of money. Some suggestions include:
Sample Food from Other Countries
You can look for recipes together as a family to try out a dish from Brazil or France. It would be educational and fun to choose a recipe, go to the store together, and then prepare the dish together as a family. Or, if you have a good selection of take-out restaurants that offer cuisine that is new to your family, make it a fun adventure for the night.
Purchase a World Map or Globe
One of the things I enjoy doing is showing my daughter the different places I have visited around the world. My husband does this as well as he has traveled quite a bit in the United States. We then talk about the different places we would like to visit someday and talk about the different languages and foods found in those countries.
Have Your Kids Write to a Pen Pal
This is a wonderful way to develop a new friendship and learn about their culture and foods. See if your school has a system in place or contact your local library. A site called Students of the World has over 200 million visitors and 1 million Pen Pals available! To read more about what they offer go to: www.studentsoftheworld.info.
Purchase Interesting Books or Take a Trip to Your Library
Take a trip to your local library and browse through the vast amount of books available that talk about different cultures. I would choose one culture to study and make an effort to check-out several books about that country. Maybe once a week or month you choose to learn about France and check out age-appropriate books that will help your child learn more about their history. This could coincide with trying out some of their more popular dishes.
These are just some ideas to help your child learn more about the world around them! Another fun idea is to join Little Passports – A Global Adventure. They offer either a USA Edition or Global Edition where every month, packages arrive filled with lots of goodies and access to online games and activities. Each month your child would receive a package filled with information about a country or state. To learn more about Little Passports and see what subscription packages are available just go to: www.littlepassports.com
Here’s to raising more globally aware children!
What are you doing to teach your children about the world around them?
Photo from Flickr
Melissa Northway, M.S. in Human Nutrition is a children’s picture book author. Her award-winning book Penelope the Purple Pirate was inspired by her tomboy. Penelope is a modern-day Pippi Longstocking and teaches children the importance of treating others with kindness and respect. Melissa recently created dandelion moms that provide reminders for moms to enjoy the journey as it really does go by so quickly! You can find her at www.melissanorthway.com and www.dandelionmoms.com and @melissanorthway and @dandelionmoms
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