How to teach your kids about world cultures without leaving home.
Confession time. I am not that into traveling. I know, that is a very untrendy thing to say. And it makes me sound like I don’t care about the world. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy a nice vacation. I have places on my ‘To Visit’ bucket list. We still take trips occasionally. Wanderlust is just not a word I would ever use to describe my feelings. That does not mean I don’t know the rest of the world is out there. And it doesn’t mean I don’t want my kids to learn about the rest of the world. Travel provides so much that shape children’s lives, but sometimes we can’t afford it, can’t take the time off, or just don’t want to. There are ways to bring the world to your children. Here are 4 ways to teach your kids about the world without leaving home.
How To Teach Your Kids About World Cultures
Books are my go-to for everything. Head over to your local library and check out books on other cultures. It is really easy to do! Our library actually has the children’s section sorted by categories just like this one. But if you need help finding some, ask your librarian. That is what they are there for!
So where do you start? There are a few methods I like to use to pick books on other cultures. One is of course just to pick places I would like to visit (you know, if time, money, and post-travel laundry weren’t factors.) You can have your children pick a place they want to learn about. Or just go random! Point to a place on a map, just grab the first book you find or ask the librarian for their choice. Don’t forget to look at periodicals like National Geographic. They can take you to some really amazing places. Reading unlocks the world for your children.
I love food, almost as much as I love books. Food is an integral part of every culture. So try some local cuisine from home! Finding new foods to try is easier in some areas. When we lived in the city we had a ton of options. Where we live now has a bit fewer choices. That’s okay. Pinterest brings recipes from all over the world to you. You can try to make something from another country at home with your children. (And cooking teaches so many STEM skills!)
This doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you don’t even have to think of foods from far away. Can you get a deep dish pizza and learn more about Chicago? How about trying a lobster roll from Connecticut. Maybe see if you can get some good southern barbecue. We all know it is good for our kids to try new foods, even if that is hard to make happen. But learning about a new place and trying a food you made together? That might just work.
Do you know someone who loves to travel? Know anyone who has lived in a different country? See if they will talk to your children about it. Hearing a first-hand account can really make a distant place come alive.
You could even ask a friend that has a different background from you to come to dinner and talk with your children. Broaching this sort of topic can be awkward. (I imagine something like ‘Hey, you’re different than us! Let’s ask you a ton of questions!) But I think it is worth testing the waters. Learning about other cultures is so important for kids. And if we are afraid to ask the tough questions, how will they learn to ask? I think we all have a responsibility to try to learn more about other people and not just staying in a bubble of the known. Teaching our children that is important.
Alright, I kind of hate the word staycation. But the idea behind it can be fun. Your culture is part of the world, so explore it! Traveling is in part about just trying new things. Check out your area and find something new to do! Is there a park you’ve been wanting to check out? A museum? Is there anything that will teach you about your local history? Experiencing something new bonds a family. It forces you out of your comfort zone and makes you adapt to new situations. These are good things, and you can do that without going halfway across the globe.
If you are feeling wild and crazy spend a night in a local hotel. Packing a suitcase alone is a learning experience for kids. How do they decide what to pack? Can they be responsible for their things outside of the home? I love schedules and routines, but teaching flexibility young is a good idea.
Travel is great, and kids learn so much from it. But sometimes we don’t have the time, the budget, or even the desire to go. That’s okay. You can still teach your children so much about the world, all without leaving home. The important thing is to show your kids that we live in a big, beautiful world. Not everyone is like us, and that is a good thing. We need to be open to learning more about others. Knowledge leads to understanding and acceptance. So happy travels, right at home.
Here are some more posts to enjoy!
The ladies of the BFBN are all talking about travel today! And some of them are big travelers, so you know they have good tips. Check them out and learn how to explore your world with your kids!
Christine Keys: How To Help Toddlers That Get Car Sick
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: Four Best Tips for Traveling with Four Kids
The Journey of Parenthood: How To Successfully Travel with an Infant
Mama’s Organized Chaos: Practice These Every Day and Your Child Will Travel with Ease
Twin Mom and More: Traveling with Children: To Drive Overnight or During the Day