The world is interconnected beyond ethnicities, cultures, and borders. We breathe the same air and live on the same planet. At our core, we’re all human beings. Educating children about diversity and on becoming a global citizen in the world community will prepare them for the future. After all, our society is increasingly one where just a touch of a keyboard button brings accessibility to those near and far.
Our world is a diverse one. Yet diversity often resides in pockets. In the U.S., the more diverse geographical locations lie in the East and West Coasts as well as some major cities scattered in between. Much of America is still in a silo, where Taco Bell represents the extent of exposure to another “culture” — albeit an Americanized, skewed version not reflective of the actual culture appropriated.
For parents striving to teach kids about diversity, the challenge lies for those living in non-diverse areas. It’s not like in New York City or Los Angeles where walking on the sidewalk can provide exposure to different races, languages, food, and culture. For those residing in non-diverse areas, parents need to make more of a focused effort to teach their kids about diversity. The tips below can help get parents and their kids started.
5 Ways to Teach Kids About Diversity
in Non-Diverse Areas
Whether purchasing or borrowing from a library, books provide an endless gateway to the mind. Books can transcend the environment we’re in, thus opening new perspectives to their readers. Book lists are especially helpful when it comes to curated suggestions for children. Below are book recommendations from Mulitcultural Kid Blogs and its members:
If it’s financially feasible, traveling with kids offers a first-hand opportunity to experience different cultures, societies, and foods. To prepare for a trip, check out Multicultural Kid Blog’s post: Book Recommendations to Prepare Children for a Trip Abroad. The trip doesn’t even have to be to another country. Traveling to an enclave that encompasses another culture can be just as educational. For example, make a trip to the nearest Chinatown or other area where another culture is dominant.
If traveling is not an option, then bring culture to the home. Read about 5 Homeschool Tools for Exploring World Cultures. Other fun options includes educational subscription boxes through the mail. Little Passports sends a monthly subscription box to children that introduces children to geography, science, world cultures, the arts, and more. Pearl River Mart offers The Friendship Box featuring items related to Asian culture. Culture Chest offers a monthly subscription of multicultural books with different themes.
Just like books, the internet opens a window to educational opportunities. Whether it’s apps, video streaming, or websites, one of the most accessible ways to teach kids about diversity is through online resources. Of course, this Multicultural Kid Blogs site offers a wide range of resources on this topic. Below are some additional links to peruse.
Events and Festivals
Search for multicultural events and festivals within driving distance. Often these activities revolve around multicultural holidays. Use the internet to search for keywords. For example, if seeking Chinese New Year events, type “Chinese New Year Events Near Me” in the internet browser. If your internet settings includes your location, then results in your vicinity will automatically populate. If this doesn’t work, try the keyword along with your city or state such as “Chinese New Year Events in Michigan.” This will generate more local findings as well.
Having a Pen Pal is a great way for children to connect with other kids from around their country or world. Though kids can use the internet (email, Skype, etc.) to communicate, benefits exist for old fashion snail mail. Creating letters is an ideal way for children to practice writing skills. As such, for a Pen Pal relationship to work, the child should have basic reading and writing skills. Many Pen Pal sites suggest starting at ages 8 or 10. Another benefit is that receiving letters in the mail is fun!
If you or someone you know has a friend with a child about the same age as yours who practices another culture, you can inquire if there is mutual interest to start a Pen Pal relationship. Another option is to go through a Pen Pal organization. A quick search on the internet brings up many results. Some require small fees while others are free. Make sure to research carefully to determine what’s best for you and your child.
Free Pen Pal Organizations:
Have a suggestion on how to teach kids about diversity?
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