Whether you regularly homeschool your kids, or you just find yourself stuck inside more than usual these days, you might be looking for new, innovative ways to capture their attention and get them interested in different things.
While setting up geography lessons for your children is important, it’s not going to be as effective if they aren’t paying attention or if they aren’t interested in the subject(s).
So, what can you do to teach your children about different countries and cultures while turning it into a fun activity? Let’s cover a few tips. You never know what you might learn along the way, too!
1 ~ Let Them Choose
Kids love having the power of choice. Whether it’s what they want to eat for dinner or what they want to wear for the day, things tend to go a lot smoother when your child feels as though they’re involved.
The same goes for education. A good way to make sure your child is interested in what they’re learning is to allow them to be a part of it. So, approach your child to talk about different cultures. Ask them if there are any places in the world they would love to know more about.
You can make this a fun activity by bringing out a world map or a globe, and letting them pick a country or region. Or, take them to your local library and have them pick out a book on a certain culture. It’s a great starting point, and your child is bound to be more interested when they get to decide for themselves.
2 ~Do Arts and Crafts
While learning from books and articles is important, it’s always a good idea to take a hands-on approach when it comes to learning about different cultures. This is the time to let yourself get creative.
For example, if your child is studying Malaysia, you might consider talking about how people call home a ‘rumah’, and let them create their dream rumah in a drawing or a sculpture. If they chose Japan, they could learn how to make something using origami. The options are really endless when it comes to letting them get crafty with their country.
3 ~ Cook a Traditional Dish
One of the most important parts of any culture is cuisine. Food is an incredible way to better understand a culture and what it represents. There are so many different foods across the globe, and if your child picked a unique country, it’s likely they have foods that your little one may have never tried before. So, now is the perfect opportunity!
Do your own research on some of the most popular dishes in your child’s chosen country. You might have to order some specialty ingredients, but it’s important to be as authentic as possible when you’re trying to teach your child about a specific culture.
Don’t just cook a dish for them. Rather, make sure they get involved in the kitchen, too. Explain to them what each ingredient is, how the dish comes together, and where it originated.
If your child chose France, you might consider making some pastries or fresh bread. If they decided on Germany, sausages and sauerkraut could be on the menu. If they went with Italy, you can make a delicious pasta dish together!
Again, your child is more likely to try something new to eat when they’re involved, so let them get messy in the kitchen.
4 ~ Listen to Music
Another important aspect of any culture is music. Music is different all over the world and it’s often known as a “universal language”. That means even if you’re listening to a song in a foreign language, you can still enjoy it and appreciate it.
It’s important to teach your children that, too. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever nowadays to find music online from just about any country you can think of. Look up some traditional songs from your child’s chosen country, as well as more modern and contemporary music.
In addition to listening to music, it can also be beneficial for your child to learn about the history of music in their particular chosen culture. How did it start? Who were the first musicians? Does music mean different things to different people in that country?
5 ~ Learn the Language
You certainly don’t need to teach your child how to become fluent in another language. But, teaching them a few basic words from that language can pique their interest and make them feel good about knowing something most kids don’t know.
Basic words for “hello” and “goodbye” are great places to start, but you can keep things as simple as you would like.
Celebrating Different Culture
As a bonus activity, you can really get in the spirit of celebrating different cultures by throwing a party based around one of the holidays in your child’s country. Different countries have various customs, holidays, and events throughout the year. Pick one or two, and decide to live them out in your own “normal” life.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo or Oktoberfest can be a great way for your child to fully immerse themselves in that country from the comfort of your home. Thankfully, most of the tips listed here can also be used as a part of a holiday celebration, but make sure to go all out and do something special. Dress up in the proper clothing, have plenty of food and decorations, and don’t forget the music! This can be especially effective at the end of a school year when you’re ready to celebrate. It’s a fantastic way to tell your child “well done”, and bring everything they’ve learned into one big celebration.
There are so many different countries and cultures throughout the world. Maybe your child will get to go to their chosen country in-person one day. For now, though, letting them see different places from a new perspective can be incredibly rewarding for you, as well as them. It can make them open their minds to so many new experiences, broadening their horizons at a very early age.