Cultural awareness is an important part of early childhood development. Our own culture and traditions help us develop a positive sense of identity and self-esteem. But how do you promote cultural curiosity, appreciation when it isn’t your own?
Promoting cultural awareness can help our children appreciate what is different and keep them curious about the world around them.
Customs, art, music, people, clothing, dance, stories, food, etc. are all part of what makes up cultures. There are so many ways to expose your child to different cultures and ideas.
Here are just a few:
Festivals – You can research local festivals in your area. (these may be limited because of COVID)
Museum – You can go to a local museum and learn about the culture in your local city or town. Museums have a vast number of topics from history to art that can expose your children to new ideas and perspectives.
Food – going to the restaurant with foods from a different culture can be a fun way to expose your children to new flavors. Ethiopian food, Korean food, Italian Food, etc.
Stories – Take a trip to your local library and find books with different perspectives and stories from places around the world.
Music – You can go to a local concert if they are available where you live. You can also make it a point to listen to music from different cultures. Folk music, French music, Jazz, Blues, etc.
Here is a fun way we promote curiosity in our home:
- Go online and find recipes from all around the world. (examples – Fruit Tart: France, Snow Fungus: China, Gulab Jamun: India)
- Write the name of the recipe and its origin on a small piece of paper and fold it.
- Put them all in a cup and mix them all up
Once a week my children choose one from the cup and together we explore where the recipe originated. We write down the ingredients for the recipe and go to the store. We work together in the kitchen following and making the recipe. This is a really fun and messy part. While we wait for everything to be ready we listen to music from that region. We then look at pictures of different landmarks and clothing.
We make sure to sit together as a family and enjoy the treat together as we continue to listen to music from the region the recipe came from. My children have always enjoyed this and get excited to choose the recipe each week. They love to learn about different parts of the world, different instruments we may not have heard before, etc.
It is important to note that my children do not like all the recipes we have tried but have learned to try everything one time. They are allowed to not like it and not finish it if they aren’t a fan. You can also scale this fun activity to work for your family. You can do it once a week, once a month, every other month…..
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