Friday, October 9, 2009

Around the World

I love to travel! I think that seeing how others live their lives and experiencing other cultures is one of my very favorite things to do. New foods, new sights, new languages, new stamps in my passport... I love it all! Though travelling with kids can be next to impossible, that doesn't mean you can't foster a love of other cultures in them at an early age. I saw an idea this month that my mind just ran with! You start by making your child his very own passport. You can get as creative as you want with this - use old maps, scrapbook paper, stickers, colored paper, glitter, ribbons - or as basic as you want (white paper and a couple staples and let your child decorate himself). Label the pages with a country name. Look at a globe or map together and let your child choose which countries he would like to learn more about. Has he heard about some on TV or in school that he is curious about? Does he like a particular kind of food from a certain part of the world? Customize it based on his interests! From there, focus on learning - but make it fun! Research the different kinds of food they eat, the music they listen to, the climate, the major languages spoken, major religions, what tourists do when they visit, what continent it's on, how long it would take to get there... and anything else you can think of! As you're learning about it, find some recipes you'd like to try or take out some books from the library about that country. Find online resources that would teach simple words in another language. Label things around the house in that language! Make it a family affair by talking about what you learned at the dinner table. When you feel that you've learned all you can about a country and you're ready to move on to the next one, draw the country's flag in your passport to represent "visiting" that country. There doesn't have to be a deadline on finishing this, so you can keep adding more countries or spend all your time on just a few. Kids love to learn - why not harness that energy and learn something new together!


Elise Englert said...

My friends and I do an adult version of this on a slightly smaller scale. Every other month about six women from my MOPS group get together to have an Ethnic dinner club. We decide the theme beforehand, for example, March was Irish, July was Japanese, September was Spanish (tapas), November will be African. We rotate houses, and whoever hosts provides the main dish. We divide up all of the other courses (salad, soup, side dish, bread, dessert) so everyone brings something from that culture. It has to be homemade, you can't just go buy something from a restaurant and bring it, because we want to grow as cooks as well. We try to find music from that culture as well, but that doesn't always work out. Maybe someday we'll expand to include a little learning about the country/culture as well, but for us busy moms, we're content with cooking and eating :)