In our interconnected world, understanding different cultures is not just a nice-to-have, but a must-have skill. The journey to raising inclusive kids can be as exciting as it is educational, and it starts within the family.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 practical ways to incorporate cultural education into your family routine so you can turn curiosity into cultural connection.
Why is it important to teach children about different cultures?
Knowing how to talk to kids about diversity and inclusion is key to raising happy and healthy children. After all, teaching children about different cultures goes beyond just expanding their intellectual horizons—it nurtures empathy, fosters an appreciation for diversity, and equips them to thrive in a multicultural world.
By exposing young minds to the customs, languages, and traditions that make up our global neighbourhood, we encourage them to embrace differences and understand that our varied backgrounds are a source of strength and beauty. Cultural fluency is not just about acquiring knowledge—it’s about building the foundation for a more harmonious, understanding, and interconnected world.
10 ways to teach your child about different cultures
Want to know how to teach your child about different cultures? Look no further than these 10 innovative and fun ways that will introduce your child to the vibrant world of different cultures.
1. Read books about different cultures
Dive into new books that bring life to the stories, folklore, and history of other countries. This window into diverse cultures can provide a vivid understanding of the world beyond your child’s immediate experience.
Here are some popular books about different cultures that you can use when teaching children to read:
- This is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe
- Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina Lazo Gilmore
- What Do You Do to Celebrate? by Ashleigh Barton
- Stay for Dinner by Sandhya Parappukkaran
- Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
- Somebody’s Land by Adam Gooes and Ellie Laing
2. Watch movies and TV shows from different countries
Screen time can become educational as you select films and TV series from countries across the globe. This not only entertains but also introduces your child to different ways of life, languages and societal norms.
Childrens’ movies and shows that celebrate cultural diversity and inclusion include:
- The Snowy Day
- Molly of Denali
- Mira the Royal Detective
3. Cook and eat meals from different cuisines
Turn your kitchen into a culinary classroom by picking exciting new recipes from different cultures. Cooking and tasting new meals can help teach your child about the food and the traditions of various countries.
Some fun recipes from various countries include:
- Pizza (from scratch!)
- Kale and spinach quesadilla
- Veggie noodle pot
- Butternut squash and chickpea tagine
- Apple Strudel
- Polish Kolaczki
4. Learn about different holidays and festivals
Every culture celebrates in its own unique way. Learning about – and even participating – in the celebrations of different holidays and festivals can be an exciting way to understand the values, history and customs of other cultures.
5. Listen to music from different cultures
Make no mistake: there are plenty of benefits of musical play, especially when it involves tunes from around the globe. Music is a universal language, but it’s also a reflection of cultural identity. Exposing your child to a variety of musical genres from around the world can foster an appreciation for different cultural sounds.
6. Play games from different cultures
Games are a fundamental part of all cultures. Introducing your child to games from around the world can be not only a source of fun but also a learning experience about the importance of play in different societies.
Here are some simple indoor and outdoor games that can be adapted for young children:
- Mancala: Originating in Africa, this is a counting game that can be played with a simple egg carton and beans or pebbles.
- Ampe: A hopping game played by children in Ghana. Two players play at a time by clapping hands and then jumping to land on one foot. The leader wins the round if both players land on the same foot, and the game continues with other children taking turns.
- Luta de Galo: A game from Brazil, “Fight of the Roosters” involves children placing a handkerchief in their back pocket and hopping on one foot to try to retrieve their opponent’s handkerchief.
- Kai Kai Bal: A game from the Philippines where children stand in a circle and pass a small object like a ball or a stone under their legs in rhythm while singing a song.
- Sjoelbak: A Dutch shuffleboard game, where children slide wooden pucks down a long, smooth board to score points. A mini version can be created for small hands.
7. Take your child to museums and art galleries
Museums and art galleries are treasure troves of cultural education. They provide immersive experiences with artefacts, artworks, and exhibitions that tell the stories of different peoples and places.
8. Travel to different countries
There’s no substitute for first-hand experience. When possible, travelling to different countries can be an eye-opening adventure for your child, offering real-life interactions and observations of cultural practices, natural environments, and historical sites.
9. Encourage your child to learn a foreign language
Learning a new language is not just about communication—it’s an exercise in cultural understanding. It allows your child to access another culture’s way of thinking and expressing, and fosters connections with people who speak that language.
Some easy and effective ways to teach children a foreign language are:
- Music and Songs: Sing songs in the target language. Repetitive and catchy tunes can make new words and phrases memorable.
- Storytime: Read bilingual books or stories in the target language, using pictures to help convey the meanings of words.
- Language Immersion: Play cartoons or shows in the language you want to teach. Children can pick up on language naturally through context and repetition.
- Playdates: Arrange playdates with children who are native speakers of the language. This provides natural conversation practice.
- Language Classes: Enrol them in language classes designed for young children, often involving play-based learning.
10. Talk to people from different cultures
Encouraging conversations with people from diverse backgrounds can provide personal insights into different ways of life. Such interactions can challenge stereotypes and build meaningful relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. An essential part of these conversations is also talking to kids about racism, helping them understand and confront prejudices.
When encouraging conversations with people from different cultures, consider these tips:
- Teach Respect: Instil a sense of respect for other people and cultures from an early age.
- Model Curiosity: Show genuine interest in learning about other cultures through your own behaviour.
- Diverse Environments: Expose your child to multicultural events and settings where diversity is celebrated.
- Open Dialogue: Create an open environment at home where questions about differences are welcomed and answered thoughtfully.
Immersing your child in different cultures can be fun and educational
The world is a mosaic of stories, sounds, flavours, and traditions. By incorporating these 10 fun ideas into your family life, you are not only nurturing your child’s development but also sowing seeds of empathy, confidence and respect.
At Aurrum Kids, one of our core values is Diversity. Whether it’s celebrating cultural festivals or exploring new languages, our team is always looking for creative ways to integrate community experiences, perspectives and beliefs into our educational programs and practices. This commitment ensures that each and every child at our centres feels included for who they are.
If you’d like to learn more about how our childcare centres foster a sense of acceptance and connection, book a tour today.