Most parents prioritize teaching their kids to both understand and engage with different cultures through common tactics like regular family trips abroad. Unfortunately, with safe family vacations still very much off the cards, many children are quickly falling behind in this respect, and many parents are realizing that they could do way better to expose their children to cultural differences, even at home.
After all, while they’ll never quite be the same as seeing different cultures first-hand, fun home tactics can prove equally effective for opening all-important discussions. Here, we discuss three of the best options that you could certainly benefit from implementing to teach your kids about different cultures at every possible opportunity and make it fun at the same time!
# 1 – Diversify their toy collections
Toy collections are a great place to start diversifying for even young kids, as they provide a seamless way to integrate an understanding of differences. To begin with, seeking Asian, black, and minority dolls can be a great way to ensure that kids understand and accept different skin colors without question. From there, you could begin investing in more culture-specific toys, including options like games that go into detail about different cultures/ways of life, African safari animal figurines, or even a Hawaiian, Nigerian, or Scottish Barbie, so that you can talk about things like fashion differences, etc. This is a gentle, natural way to introduce the concept of different cultures at any age, and is a fantastic stepping stone for further teachings down the line.
# 2 – Have fun with food
Food is a huge part of any culture, and introducing a wide and culturally varied diet across culture-specific nights can be a fantastic way to have fun with this lesson. From Mexican night where you make chilli, tacos, and fajitas, through to a Turkish night where you experiment with kofte meatballs and doner kebab, it all offers some fantastic teachings. You could even take this further by pairing or ending these meals with fun quizzes that enhance those learning opportunities, and help kids to understand not only how this food varies, but also the geographic location that it comes from, where the traditions started, and so on.
# 3 – Learn languages together
Learning languages is also great for kids. Taking the time to learn languages with even young kids can be particularly great from a cultural standpoint, again helping them to embrace difference, and also meaning that they should soon be able to follow simple programs/books in different languages that give them a close-up view of different cultures. Even better, there are now some fantastic apps that make this easier than ever to achieve on even long car journeys, boring shopping trips, and more, including FluentU, Gus On The Go, and Pacca Alpaca to name just a few.
With increased creativity, open-mindedness, and empathy just a few of the benefits on the table from getting these teachings right, it’s certainly never too early to have fun with new cultures!