This is a very different (and let’s be honest – challenging) summer for us all. Because of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus through social distancing, your family may have missed out on your usual summer plans like travel, camps, and parties. In this post, we offer five fun multicultural bilingual activities kids can do at home.
1. Make Some Music
Music is a wonderful way to introduce kids to different cultures. Look up musical instruments from around the world, and use craft supplies to recreate them. They don’t have to be perfect replicas! It can be pretty amusing to try and craft unique instruments like a Korean haegeum, or an Indian taūs (which looks like a peacock) using what you have in your home. Your kids will be learning about other cultures and making music in no time!
2. Play a Game From Another Part of the World
Playing a game from a different part of the world is a great way to get the family moving and playing together. Here are a couple of our favorites.
1, 2, 3 DRAGON! (China)
This is an active family game where players form a line with each person’s hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them (like a conga line). The first in line is the Head, and the last person is the Tail. The Tail yells, “1, 2, 3, dragon!” and the Head starts moving to try and catch the Tail. The rest of the players must follow the Head’s movements exactly while trying to stay connected to one another. If the line disconnects, then the dragon has died. But if the Head catches the Tail, the Dragon survives! The person playing the Head moves to the back of the line and becomes the Tail, so everyone gets a chance to be the Head.
PALM BALL (Italy)
Similar to Dodge Ball in the US, you’ll need a ball and a piece of chalk to play this game. Mark off a big, chalk rectangle on the ground, with a line through the center. Each player stands in their side of the box. One player starts by serving the ball into the other person’s box, and that player must send the ball back by hitting it. You can’t hold the ball – you can only hit it back into the other person’s box. The challenge is to only let the ball bounce in your box once or twice before returning it to the other side.
3. Play a Game Using Bilingual Books
Even when we can’t travel from home, books allow us to travel in mind and spirit. Check out our post about playing games based on multicultural and bilingual children’s books for a book-inspired scavenger hunt, charades, puppet show, and more!
4. Explore New Cultural Cuisine
As the weather gets hotter, people around the world have different go-to foods to help them beat the heat. Search online for a gazpacho recipe, and enjoy the classic cold soup of Spain and Portugal. Or, have the kids help make rolls of spam musubi, a popular snack in Hawaii. Filipino halo-halo would be so refreshing, or maybe you’re adventurous enough to try some durian fruit? It’s a fun (and delicious!) way to learn about another culture.
5. Work on Literacy Skills in a New Way
Want your kids to strengthen their literacy skills over the summer? Search online for virtual reading programs through schools, libraries, and other community organizations. Bilingual children, in particular, can significantly improve their literacy during the summer by reading bilingual books in both of their languages. You can also find interactive learning sets that make use of new tap-and-listen technology to keep kids learning over the summer months.
Do you have more ideas for multicultural bilingual activities for kids? What fun learning activities have you done with your family this summer? Comment below and tell us about them!