Mom Lessons – Making it multicultural

So Bloggermoms, this one is on multicultural activities for kids. I usually write about Mom lessons as I think moms at home (or is it just me?) often search for ideas on new things to do with their kids. Maybe these are things you do already, but I learn each week and like to write them up. If only as a reminder to myself……

So this week I thought I would write about making it ‘multi-cultural’ for our kids. You know, by default if one or both parents are from a different country life becomes a bit more colorful culturally. But thats not to say that all of us cant broaden the minds of our kids – beyond the countries and cultures we usually look at. So I thought it would be kind of cool to write about multicultural activities you can do with kids and even toddlers and preschoolers.

Here are some ideas I have. Talented moms, please add your own to bolster this list –

  • Get the kids excited. Tell them you are going to look at the world together and learn about new cultures and things to do based on these cultures. A little older kids have ideas of their own on what they would like to do. I would say include and adapt those. And sometimes even toddlers surprise us.
  • Build it into your life. A week of multiculturalism is fine, but I think appreciation and understanding of other cultures is a lifelong commitment. I try, but I find the older I get often my mind becomes more closed. So activities you can do often work best
  • We do actually live pretty multicultural lives, if you notice. So notice. Look out from people and things in our lives from other cultures and mention it to your kids. For example – After your next Yoga class mention how Yoga came from India and maybe try some with your babe. Or after the next Chinese takeout, talk about food from china, and please, look beyond takeout since that has been so customized to the local tastes- the web has interesting facts.
  • Seek out friends and neighbors from different cultures and in their homes and lives, ask about traditions or admire a piece of art which can be from their country. Kids of course pick up and learn through listening.

Some specific multicultural activities for kids and toddlers:

  • When visiting the zoo, point out animals from different countries. Pandas from China and peacocks from India.
  • Build different styles of food into your weekly or monthly menus. Even if its just a burrito or French bread or falafel or some Kung pao chicken. Talk about it.
  • Visit an international farmers market in your city. Its a treat for the senses and even if you dont buy exotic stuff, the kids can learn a lot by seeing a cross section of food, people and decor they dont usually.
  • In your own produce market, look at the labels of where the food come from. With older kids, you can then look up these places on the globe or Atlas and discuss why, how and what local foods they are used in. I know this is a copout example – but avocado from Mexico, etc
  • Visit a ‘cost Plus world market’ or ‘Pier one’ and maybe pickup one or two colorful knick knacks or decor items from there to represent other cultures. Or broaden your gift list to include those.
  • There are calendars available in the market these days which mark out festivals of the world. On those days, or once a week Google these festivals or look them up in the library. If there are local events in your community maybe you can plan a trip.
  • Visit ‘ethnic’ places in your city you dont usually go to. Or in places you visit. We had a great experience in China town in SFO.
  • Artwork – your art museum will usually carry art works from all over the world. Talk about the differences in themes. Maybe use some of the colors and styles in your next artwork project. Or just download from the web.
  • Get books from different parts of the world from your library and explore the stories, illustrations and characters together.

These are just some of the items on my list. I wish I could do all regularly but some of these have been eye opening. Please suggest some others as well. I will write up more as I think of them!

More parent kid activities here.

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8 Comments

  1. Rohini

    You know, I think it is important to think and talk about it. Thats what makes a diference. The way of thinking…

  2. Smitha

    Wow!!Dora ..great ideas

  3. Josie

    I agree with Rohini. LIke Dora writes it is simple if you think about it.

  4. Dora

    Thank you for your comments.

  5. winfried

    Yeah Dora I like your ideas too. I think boys will be more exited about things like cars. Create a game where they remember where a car company is at. ie Toyota = japan, gm = america, vw = german,
    saab = sweeden..etc

  6. Dora

    Great idea, Winfried. I like that.

  7. I agree that it is important to include it in everyday life, and not just a one week event. I think parents and teachers should continue to focus on increasing global and cultural awareness in our kids starting from a very young age..

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