I’m an American who grew up in England. I lived there for about nine years–from when I was 8 to 17. I moved back to Texas in the middle of my junior year of high school, and the culture shock meant I had a long and difficult adjustment. Being a Third Culture Kid has made me feel like I belong to nowhere and everywhere all at once. As a result, teaching cultural proficiency to children is a goal for my parenting. Today I’m going to outline some simple tools you can use to help your young children start to understand various cultures around the world.
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Book: This Is How We Do It: One Day In the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World by Matt Lamothe
This Is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe is a charming and educational children’s picture book with lovely illustrations. It follows seven children in various areas around the world for one day. Children can read the book and identify with other children their age in different cultures and identify similarities and differences. What do they eat? What are their schools like? What do they do for fun? Take a peek inside the book in this post from ALSO, and check out the book trailer from Chronicle Books.
Buy the book from Amazon:
Game: I Never Forget a Face Matching Game from eeBoo
eeBoo is one of my favorite brands for games and toys. The kind friends at eeBoo sent me and my girls some products to play with and try out in exchange for a review. (My words, thoughts, and opinions are honest and all my own.) One of the games they sent us was I Never Forget a Face. It’s a winner of an Oppenheim Gold Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio.
Best suited for ages 5+, my 4-year-old Stella loves this game! We love to play games together, and I try to buy games with a variety of learning outcomes. I Never Forget A Face is a simple matching game that helps build memory skills but is a fun way to introduce children to diversity in faces and cultural dress. On the back of the box, you can identify the 24 countries where the children are from, so they can also work as little flashcards for recognition. When we’re getting out the game and packing it away, I like to quiz Stella, asking her where various children might be from. I love that all the children are smiling and look welcoming and friendly.
To accompany this game, get a globe or an atlas and point out where the countries are.
Events: Cultural Festivals
If you’re in the DFW area as I am, check out this list of kid-friendly cultural festivals. Take your little ones and experience food, music, dancing, cultural dress, and activities from China to Scotland and back again. Festivals offer an immersive experience with an infectious celebratory feel that draws kids in and gets them excited about other cultures.
App: The Hello Atlas
This app accompanies a book by the same name by Ben Handicott, and is all about language. Stella is naturally drawn to other languages and fascinated by them. She like to listen to popular Disney songs or other familiar tunes in various languages. The Hello Atlas app is FREE and allows children to navigate the globe, click on continents, and hear a selection of simple phrases in more than 100 languages.
Is teaching cultural competence and diversity something that you value in your home? Share your ideas on how to teach cultural diversity to your children in the comments.