When you live and travel on a regular basis, it’s easy for your children to learn about the world. But even if you can’t travel, which is limited for everyone during COVID, you can still teach your children to have a mindset that values different people and cultures.
The more they develop multi-cultural awareness, the better they will succeed in our globally connected world. Here are 7 ideas to help your kids become global citizens from your own living room:1. Use maps to explore the world. Keep a globe in plain sight—occasionally have your children shut their eyes and give the globe a spin. Wherever their finger lands, learn about that country. Even if they land somewhere in the ocean, there is probably a nearby island to discover. Use map puzzles to learn the geography of a continent or country. Study the weather in a particular country and compare it to your own.
2. Read picture books or novels set in various places with characters from different cultures. Check out “A Librarian’s Picks for Children and Young Adult Reading” to get started. Notice the clothing, food, and setting of the books. Think about the ways that books can break stereotypes of different people groups.
3. Collect postcards from places around the world. Ask friends who live or travel overseas or in other states to send a postcard to your children. Often the stamps themselves are quite interesting.
4. Learn a few words in a different language. Study variants of your kids’ names in different languages. You might discover some fascinating people who share their same name.
5. Try recipes from different places. If that’s too daunting, check out a nearby ethnic restaurant. Visit the international food section of your local grocery store and buy something new. Or pick a fruit or vegetable that you’re unfamiliar with, and find out where it comes from and its history.
6. Play a world-themed board game. Our family’s favorites are any of the “Ticket to Ride” games. We’ve just about collected them all!7. Check out the animals at the zoo. Often zoos have maps of the animals’ habitats near each exhibit. Take a minute to look at those and locate where they are in the world.
Help your children develop a curiosity about the world. Ask questions and talk about how people in other cultures might be the same or different than them. Tell stories of places you’ve visited or always wanted to visit. Check out famous monuments around the world. Plan a trip. Even if it takes a while to get there, planning a trip together is a wonderful family activity.
What ideas do you have to develop global awareness in your children?