In today's globalized world the most essential gift you can give your child is an interest in their surroundings and a desire to connect and communicate with those from different cultures, communities and backgrounds. While you cannot possibly teach your kid everything there is to know about the cultures of the world or the diverse and colorful people who are a part of those communities, you can do your best to instill in them a natural curiosity which will inspire them to continue learning and growing for the rest of their lives. Here are five creative ways that you, as a parent, can plant the seed for that growth.
1. Read culturally-minded books
Reading has always been a tried-and-true, classic way to learn about the lives of others and visit far off, distant lands. So take a quick trip over to the local library and set your children on a cultural journey with one 15 children's books listed at We Are Teachers that celebrate global diversity and a promote cultural awareness in the form of engaging narratives and colorful characters.
2. Visit museums
Regardless of where on the map you call home, there's a good chance that there's a museum near you -- probably even one that you've not explored yet! For kids, museums provide excellent hands-on, multi-sensory information that will get them thinking about the world around them and the other people in it. For an explanation of how museums should be incorporated into your child’s development and why they're such useful tools, visit Mommy University and get inspired to organize your family's next educational adventure.
3. Get a penpal from another country
The unequivocal best way to interest your child in other cultures is to introduce them to people from diverse backgrounds. Unfortunately, traveling is a luxury not all families can afford. Thankfully, you don’t need to spend thousands on flights to send your child to exotic places so they can interact with individuals from other cultures, you can use one of the methods at Kid World Citizen to put your child in direct contact with a penpal from another country.
4. Prepare traditional foods from other countries
One fun way to engage your child in global learning is to let your taste buds do the exploring and learn via cultural cuisine! Try making one of the traditional dishes listed at Today’s Parent, like a Japanese okonomiyaki, which is a savoury Japanese pancake. Besides the added bonus of having time in the kitchen to learn practical cooking skills, cooking cultural cuisine can also be used to talk informally with your child about the customs and history behind the dish you're preparing.
5. Learn a foreign language
Experts agree that language learning is one of the strongest and impactful ways to immerse your child in a new culture and diversify their worldviews. Unfortunately, not all families have the resources to formally teach a second language to their child. Thankfully, the minds over at Noodle Tutoring have compiled an extensive list of ways that parents (both monolingual and multilingual) can incorporate language learning into their daily lives and activities.
Raising your child to be a culturally diverse global citizen can seem daunting, but you don't have to do it on your own. Children are naturally curious and inquisitive; you must simply plant the seed of curiosity in them and watch them grow!