How lucky are we to live in a country with so much cultural diversity right on our doorstep!
With children from all around the world living in Australia, it’s a great chance for us to teach our children about how to accept and appreciate how different cultures live.
With such a multicultural society, it’s necessary for us to teach our kids acceptance and appreciation of all cultures and lifestyles so that we can enjoy and celebrate along with everyone.
PLUS, what’s not to love about learning about different cultures... the colours, clothes, languages, traditions, music, food and even the games that are played. The great thing is that children are naturally curious and want to learn more.
Use these tips to encourage their interest, educate and have fun as well.
Have you got a globe in the house? Apart from spinning it around all day, it’s great to have one in the house so that if you hear about an event or a story you can physically point to it on the globe. It’s a good way to promote discussion and everyone gets to learn something. A flat map will also do the trick. For older kids, you can encourage them to pick a place on the globe and report back (at the dinner table) to you with interesting facts they have found on the different ways they embrace traditions. Make it a game that the whole family plays, it will make for great table chat.
Try different foods from around the world and explain where it comes from. The kids can get involved with making a dish, whether it’s Moussaka from Greece or Butter Chicken from India. You can even do this as a weekly or monthly event as a family – see how many countries you can ‘visit’ in a year across your dinner menu.
Immerse the family at a cultural event. There are many free and low-cost community celebrations and these are often wonderful for the whole family to experience, like the colourful dragon that is seen in the Chinese New Year Festivities.
Find a Pen pal for your children to write too. This may be an oldie but it’s a goodie, especially in a time when snail mail is becoming rare. It would be fun to receive mail in the letterbox from the other side of the world and learn about their days and how they are different from yours. There are lots of sites that can safely help you find a Pen pal for your children.
Here’s a fun activity to do. When decorating for the any holidays have a chat with the kids about putting up decorations that would be put up in different parts of the world. See what ideas they come up with. With different cultures comes different ways of celebrating. Preparing and decorating for a festive occasion is a good time to prompt discussion of how other cultures would celebrate. For older kids, a great activity is to list the cultures that celebrate similar occasions, what they do the same and what they each do differently.
Learn another language! Learning multiple languages is tricky but so useful in life. Turn it into a family goal to learn a language together progressively over the year. An alternative could be learning the basics of multiple languages. Some good basics are; hello, goodbye, thank you, please and counting 1-10.
These are some ideas just to start off with. The key is to help children to appreciate, accept,enjoy and celebrate the many differences they’ll encounter in life, not just cultural ones.