Are your kids ready for life in a multicultural world? A broad array of experiences gives them the tools to find their own niche in life. Will they travel? Work with folks from other countries? You may hope they’ll study a foreign language. It would be amazing if they had the chance to study abroad. But what about now? Here are ten ways you can start today.
1. Visit an ethnic food store (or even the international food section in your regular grocery store) and try something new. Make a special point of asking someone at the store about something to see what you can learn.
2. Pick a holiday from another country or culture and celebrate it in some way. It can be as simple as wearing red for good luck on Chinese New Year or visiting a cemetery for Mexico’s Day of the Dead.
3. Check out travel or coffee table picture books from the library and point out some of the sights that might appeal to your child, plus some of the differences in people, landscape, architecture, etc.
4. Look at five manufactured products from each room of your house to see where they were made (many things will still have the “Made In” label on them). Try to think of one fun fact for each location (Hint: you can find many good books about China at your library).
5. Look at the natural materials in your house and try to guess where they could be from (bamboo might be from China, wool could be from New Zealand, etc). You can quickly search the internet for countries with large amounts of a particular material.
6. At dinnertime, or any time, try to list ways that your genealogy or travels influenced your family through food, holiday celebrations, clothing, language, etc. This gives your children a new perspective that the way your family does things is one way, and that there are other ways of doing things.
7. Learn five new words from the language of someone you know – either a friend or someone that you interact with. Practice them for a week and try them out on your friend or acquaintance.
8. Take a world map and ask your child to close their eyes and point to a place on the map (you may have to try this more than once if you point to ocean). Try to name five things about the country. This is good preparation for the Country Questions game (below).
9. On a car ride or while waiting for an appointment, play Country Questions. One person silently selects a country. Others try to guess the country by asking yes or no questions. If the guessers can name the country in 15 questions or less, they win. The one who names the country chooses the next country.
10. Choose any local museum and go in search of things from the country or culture of your choosing.
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