Teaching your kids about the world doesn’t need to be hard or difficult, it can be something that you easily slip into your everyday schedule. Here are some quick and easy ways to get started with helping your kids learn about the world.
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Books are an obvious choice when you want to teach your kids about different countries and cultures but it doesn’t have to be just factual books in fact a lot can be learned from storybooks and novels. Try looking for books based on old traditional tales all the time focused on a specific festival or tradition.
2. Food and Snacks
Snacks and food in general are a great way to introduce your kids to other cultures. They might already be used to eating tacos or sushi but what else can they try?
Sometimes it’s difficult to find authentic snacks or even the ingredients to make your own from scratch, but even if you are not able to make an authentic recipe try replicating it in the best way that you can with what you have available.
In fact, it’s a great conversation point, where you can talk about the difference between staple recipe ingredients and why certain ingredients are more easily available in some places than others.
You can also buy snack boxes and foods from all over the world online these days. You don’t have to make it every week but maybe once or twice a month try something new.
Music is very important to many many cultures and so it’s something we can easily share with our kids. This can range from traditional cultural music to the latest pop music. J Pop and K-pop are both very popular at the moment but you could also listen to more traditional Japanese music for example enka.
With online music streaming apps and even YouTube, you can find music from all over the world, spend a bit of time making up a playlist and then enjoy the tunes.
Learn about different festivals from around the world there are lots of resources available these days including festival packs from my shop here. You can recreate the festival at home and invite some friends around to celebrate with you.
Also, keep an eye out for any of the local foreign communities that are holding cultural events and festivals, it’s a great way to meet people and for your kids to ask questions to people who are interested in sharing their culture.
5. Create continent boxes to learn about the world
Culture boxes or a Montessori addition to a classroom where you have a collection of items to represent each continent. Even if you are doing Montessori from home, you can still use the continent boxes. Inside you might find stamps, postcards, leaflets, miniature items, coins, recipes, and other pieces of interest. They are fun to put together and read more about how to do that here.
6. Join 193 Little Adventures Club
193 little adventures club is a subscription where you get a principal pack delivered to your inbox every month. Each month focuses on a new country and includes lots of fun activities and resources to make learning exciting and help you raise curious kids. You can find out more about 193 Little Adventures Club here.
7. Collect Postcards
Postcards are a cheap and easy way to get a sneak peek into another country. If you have got friends or family living overseas or travelling ask them to send you a postcard of somewhere interesting. I
Another thing to try if you don’t know anyone travelling is to ask around in Facebook groups and offer to send a postcard from where you are in return for one from them. If possible ask them to use a cute stamp too, there are some beautiful stamps around.
Finally, another way you can get your hands on more postcards is to join Postcrossing. This is a postcard swap site where you register your name and you get an ID and then you promise to send postcards to those who send them to you.
I did this for a good few years and now have postcards from all corners of the earth. Find out more about Postcrossing here.
Since the pandemic international postage has been disrupted so do check before you send anything that your mail can actually get through.
8. Movie Night
A really easy, stress-free way of introducing other countries and cultures and learning about the world is by watching movies. There are a lot of great animations and films that cover all kinds of genres, for sure there is something suitable for your kid’s ages.
Watching in the original language can be fun if your kids are old enough to be able to read subtitles.
There may be some resistance to reading subtitles rather than watching the movie in your own language, but again this is a chance for a conversation because there are many people around the world who don’t get to watch films in their own language and rely very much on subtitles.
If you have a little artist in the house then introducing art from different cultures is a fun way to expand something that they already love. We often did focus studies on a specific artist or specific countries such as Michelangelo and Italy or Frida Kahlo and Mexico. We really liked the series of books for learning about artists.
When I was a kid I collected penpals. I had pen friends from all over the world but many of them were from the Scandinavian countries. I was lucky enough to go and stay with my Norwegian penfriend when I was 15 which was really exciting as that was my first trip abroad with a friend.
if you are looking for a penfriend for your child try asking around any friends that you have who live abroad, any ex-pats or military families because many people feel more comfortable writing and sharing their family life with somebody that they already know even if they only know them a little.
Alternatively, try asking in a homeschool group and see if you can find a suitable pen pal that way.
Of course, we have email and no end of digital ways of sending messages to each other these days so you could always set up e-penpals instead. There are advantages to both so just pick the one that would suit your child’s needs the best.
If you have a sport crazy child who is not really interested in learning about the world or anything else but sports then try and introduce them to athletes related to the sports that they love from different countries.
Using the sports personality as the gateway into what you want your child to learn more about. And of course, you can always learn about traditional sports from different countries too.
we couldn’t talk about learning about other countries and cultures without touching on languages.
Even if you don’t want to get serious and become fluent in a language you can always have fun learning how to count in a different language or just some simple phrases such as Hello! Goodbye! How are you? etc.
There are books on every language going and apps such as Duolingo which are great for getting started with a language.
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You might also be interested in…
How to create a set of Culture Boxes – Continent boxes are one of my favourite Montessori pieces of equipment. They are fun to put together and a great way to bond and create fun lessons with your children.
Exciting traditions around the world – Our favourite books for learning about different traditions
How to raise curious kids – helping kids to foster their curiosity and what we can do as parents to make that happen.