Here at Tea, we believe in making the foreign familiar, across the globe and across the street… Opening children’s eyes to the wonder of the world around them. Showing kids that, when you get down to the heart of things, we have a lot in common with other citizens of the world. While a trip to India might instantly make the foreign familiar, it’s important to remember a trip half way around the world isn’t the only way to introduce new sights, sounds and tastes! Here are 10 ways you can make the foreign familiar at home, just in time for summer vacation!
1. Head to the neighboring town and explore a new park or playground.
Find a new park and set out for exploration! Talk to your children about the similarities and differences between their favorite park and this new park. This will help them understand that you can find similarities everywhere you go.
2. Take a trip to a nearby museum and check out a new exhibit.
Is there a museum your family frequents? Find a new exhibit and spend half a day there. No museum nearby? Many children’s museums have websites with at-home activities. Check out Austin’s children’s museum, Thinkery, for an activity on Chromatography Art!
3. Travel the globe without leaving home.
Download Lonely Plant’s Amazing World Atlas app and let kids explore the world’s continents and countries with interactive maps, quizzes, and games galore! Best for ages 9-11, but don’t hesitate to sit down with your littler ones and talk them through it!
4. Try a new restaurant – Japanese, Indian, Brazilian… you name it!
One of the best ways to introduce a new culture to someone is through food. While your kids may be wary at first of new spices and flavors, almost every cuisine has things to ease them into it! Start with naan at an Indian restaurant or a sweet French crepe. Brazilian cuisine features a lot of seafood – so if your kid likes shrimp or fish, you are in luck! If not, start with some yucca fries. You may think that there is no way you will get your little one to try sushi, but have you ever had a sweet potato roll? It is healthy and subtly sweet.
5. Head to the library and check out a book on a different culture.
The library is a great place to let your little citizen soak in rich history and cultures. Find books that speak to your child’s interests. Do they like knights and medieval stories? Grab a book that shows castles around the world. Sports? That’s easy! There are many books that talk about being a kid and playing in different countries, try this one!
6. Watch a kid-friendly movie about traveling or adventure.
Watching a movie may already be apart of your weekend repertoire, but if you find a movie that has an adventure story tied along, it is a great way to spark excitement in your little citizen! Have older kids? Life of Pi is a great pick. For the younger crowd, Disney’s Up will instill a sense of adventure in them or Ratatouille gives an animated look at Paris from a rat’s perspective. Ready to take it to the next level? Check out the New York International Children’s Film Festival’s past winners and watch a foreign film with the family!
7. Create a scavenger hunt for your kids.
This is a perfect activity for a sunny day or a rainy day! Make a list of ten items you want your kids to locate around the house or in the backyard. If you are doing it outside, it can be things found in nature – leaves, rocks, sticks etc. If inside, gather your child’s possessions, a picture, a ball, a favorite stuffed animal, a seashell, a toy car…really anything you have around the house. Place the items around the house, in places where they would usually are not found. Then, give your kids the list and have them try to collect everything! Talk about each item once they have collected them all and explain the importance of the object or explain how the flower grows.
8. Teach your kids how to say hello in different languages.
Explain that not everyone says “hello” when greeting someone, instead some people say “hola” or “ni hao”. Take a peek at Time’s article and learn how to say hello in 21 different languages! Practice with your kids and take it a step further by showing them where the country is on a map while saying the word!
9. Show your kids artwork & crafts from other countries to inspire their own art!
One of the best ways to learn about another culture is through arts and crafts. Share pictures or books of artwork from various countries. Let them be inspired and then hand over the crayons and paper to see what they come up with.
10. Invite a new friend or family over for a play date and make new friends!
Have you had a new neighbor move down the street with kids? Or is there someone in your little one’s class that you have been meaning to have over to play? Invite them out for a play date! Better yet if you invite a child and his or her parents, so it is a new friend for you too.