5 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Other Cultures

Our children are sponges. They soak up knowledge from the world around them. They absorb the words and views you expose them to daily. One of the most meaningful experiences you can provide your child with is acceptance and appreciation for different cultures through education and travel. Open your minds, and in turn, your children will benefit. When teaching children about other cultures, it is crucial to choose high-quality resources. Encourage questions and use this as an opportunity for your whole family to learn and grow together. Unsure of where to begin? Try some of these ideas!

1. Travel

Obviously, the best way to learn about another culture is to visit in person. This allows you to see the natives and learn about traditions, history and culture firsthand. Museums, tours by local guides and other attractions can help you make the most of your trip. For example, a relaxing panama canal cruise can double as a peaceful getaway and an educational experience as you and your children learn about the rich history of the Panama Canal.

2. Read

Travel probably isn’t a feasible way for most of us to learn about many different cultures due to the financial costs. Luckily, there are books on most cultural topics you could imagine. If you have very young children, look for picture books that highlight different cultures. Expose your children to characters of diverse backgrounds from a young age. Consider family readings from a more advanced book or subscribing to a magazine that promotes cultural diversity and education for older children.

3. Meals

Food is one thing that can unite all of us. Each culture has signature dishes, special desserts and other culinary customs unique to that specific culture. A great way to learn is to explore new cultural dishes. Perhaps you want to visit a restaurant that specializes in that particular cuisine. I suggest making it a family affair where you all pitch in to make the meal. You can discuss ingredients you don’t typically use and find other ways to incorporate learning into this special family meal preparation. You could plan a monthly meal night in which you prepare a meal from a different country while learning facts about that country, playing music and other activities inspired by the country of the month’s customs.

4. Holidays

Who doesn’t love a good celebration? Different cultures have holidays special to their own beliefs and traditions. There are hundreds of holidays you could celebrate with your family. Be sure to include an accurate historical description of the holidays, placing emphasis on why it is important to the people of this culture. Food, music, crafts and rituals can all be mimicked to learn about this day. You can pair holiday learning with a bit of geography by having your child point out the country on a world map.

5. Arts

Music, artwork, plays, movies and other forms of the arts are all amazing ways to learn and be entertained. A straightforward way to add in the arts is to play traditional music as you prepare a new food dish or learn a new song as a family. You could also choose to purchase instruments to let your children make their own music. For family movie night, select a film from a different country or watch a play or documentary about a different culture. Expose your children to artwork from all over the world. They may even want to try to recreate some of the styles on their own. Building an appreciation for the arts is a wonderful passion for helping your children grow.

Instill a love of learning, compassion for others and acceptance of those who are different by teaching your children about different cultures and countries from a young age. Even as adults, we can benefit from learning more about those who are different from us. The world is full of amazing people from wonderful backgrounds. Teach your children to love, appreciate and accept all that is different and unique in its way.

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