Your little munchkin might not know that Indonesia is a country on the other side of the world, and to her a globe may just look like a decorative ball. But, you can introduce her to a world of international culture through stories and local cultural festivals, and inspire a lifelong learning interest with a plethora of international activities.
Bring foreign together with the familiar by incorporating music from around the world into fun activities at home. You can play a round of musical chairs with a group of youngsters to the sounds of the Japanese zither, the Russian balalika, Peruvian pan flute or an African kalimba. Another musical game to play to some international music is freeze dance. If you don’t have a big group of kids, that’s okay – she won’t mind a game of freeze dance with just the two of you. See if you can collect some pictures of these different instruments on the Internet so your munchkin can see what makes the music on the CD player.
If your little munchkin is an aspiring little chef already, introduce him to a world of new flavors with some international cooking. Take some time to find some simple recipes online and pick up the ingredients beforehand. (You could also bring your little guy along for an international ingredients shopping trip.) Get your little guy to help make a Mexican guacamole dip. Once you’ve sliced the avocado, let him help scoop out the flesh and mash it up in a bowl. He can then help you add the other ingredients and pour the big bag of tortilla chips in a bowl to serve. Other easy international recipes include American country porcupines, Australian pavlova, French crepes, Greek gyros, Lebanese falafel, Indian cashew balls and Polish potato pierogies.
Around the World Crafts
Teach your little artist about foreign cultures with some simple craft activities. Make an German Edelweiss hat from construction paper to teach your youngster about traditional wear, or make an African drum from two plastic cups, glued together bottom-to-bottom and covered with masking tape to make the drum’s surface. You can help your little munchkin try her hand at origami to learn a little about Japanese art and make an Egyptian pharaoh mask from paper mache that she can wear later during playtime. If you have a little bit of extra time on your hands ( it could happen) you can do a little research on your own ahead of time and share some interesting facts about different cultures as you work on the craft projects together.
A World of Language
Once your little munchkin’s gotten used to conversing a bit in his own language, introduce him to an entire world of new languages with a phrase or two from different cultures. Learn to say hello in Japanese (Kon nichi wa), goodbye in Spanish (Adios), how are you in French (Comment allez-vous?), and thank you in German (Danke schön). You can stick with the basics to show your little guy that there is a world of different languages out there, or see if he develops an interest in a particular language and encourage him in a lifelong love of language.