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Cultural Activities for Kids That Your Whole Family Will Love

One of the greatest joys of being a parent is getting to help your children explore the magic in the world around them. When we allow our children to explore, it gives them the all-important opportunity to recognize their interests and see why it is so important to answer our call to be more like Jesus.

Global citizenship, however, can be a tough lesson to teach — especially when many of us do not live in a multicultural setting. But, as our world becomes increasingly globalized, teaching our children how to appreciate different cultures for their unique beauty and the value they bring to humanity is critical.

Thankfully, raising global kids doesn’t have to mean you need to invest in extensive global travel. You can teach your children about the world and expose them to a melting pot of different ethnicities, languages, and beliefs without ever leaving your home.

Here are a few hands-on cultural activities for kids that your whole family can enjoy:

1. Listen to regional music

As the 19th century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” One of the easiest things you can do to incorporate a cultural experience into your home is to explore music from around the world.

This website, World Music Network, offers a collection of music from across the globe. Or, explore the wide variety of music from Putumayo Kids, which creates music specifically for exposing children to other cultures.

DISCUSSION: As you are listening ask the children how they can share music and their love for Jesus with everyone they meet.

2. Cook multicultural foods

When people travel, one of the first things they do for an authentic cultural experience is try the local food. Cooking a traditional cultural meal at home is a great way to create a more hands-on experience for your family.

A great way to find recipes is to search Pinterest. After you choose a meal to prepare, spend time talking about its ingredients and how they compare to what your family regularly uses.

DISCUSSION: While creating your dish talk about how God’s love nourishes our souls and how He loves us unconditionally.

3. Learn a new language

Learning a foreign language can open the doors to many new cultural experiences. For starters, it’s a great way to call out similarities and differences amongst many different parts of the world. 


A great place to begin is to learn how to say common phrases like please and thank you or hello and goodbye in multiple languages. You can listen to recordings of people speaking, talk about the inflections in their speech, and ask your family to practice repeating the words.

Here’s a great list of languages to begin exploring:  

Language
Word

English

Hello

Chinese

Huanying

Dutch

Goed dag

French

Bonjour

German

Guten tag

Hebrew

Shalom

Hindi

Namaskaar

Japanese

Konnichiwa

Spanish

Buenos dias

Swahili

Jambo

 


DISCUSSION: You can use this opportunity to talk about how we don’t always understand what God is telling us, but if we take time to listen and pray we can begin to understand.

4. Read a story

Learning through storytelling is a great way to create a sense of connection to an unfamiliar culture and to build a foundation for additional learning with your family.

Fortunately, there are many books created for this purpose. We suggest checking out one from this list for younger children, or this one for older. Once you are finished reading, make time to talk about the lessons in the story and to seek out answers to questions as a family.

DISCUSSION: After you are finished reading, ask the children to tell you about some of their favorite stories from the Bible and how they connect us to God.

5. Celebrate a holiday

The great thing about cultural diversity is that it creates many new opportunities to celebrate. Help your family become great global citizens by learning about some of these multicultural holidays. Choose one to learn more about each month or pick one from a culture you are studying. As the holiday nears, do some research about why it is important and create a celebration of your own.

DISCUSSION: As you are preparing for your chosen holiday, ask the children to talk about all the ways we celebrate Jesus — both daily and on our own special occasions.

6. Play a cultural game

From hopscotch to kickball, everyone enjoys a good game. Take the opportunity to teach your family a new one while learning about how backyard games differ around the world.

This website has some great ideas to keep your family busy.

DISCUSSION: When you’re finished with your game, talk about how fellowship is important to your church or family and why we get together often to pray and study God’s word.

7. Create something cultural

Crafting can be a great way to explore cultural differences. As you’re learning about the world around you, try including a fun and easy craft project.

For example, if you’re planning on taking a “trip around the world” we recommend creating a family passport, a map, or papier-mâché globe that you can add to and embellish as you talk about each part of the world. As you are creating, spell the names of the countries together, talk about the distance from one place to the next, or incorporate the country’s flag.

DISCUSSION: As you are crafting talk about the talents and resources God gives us, why they are unique to us, and how we can better use them to serve Him.

8. Explore the similarities

When we think about exploring different cultures, we often focus on the differences. But one of the most important things we can do as global citizens, is to try not to perpetuate cultural stereotypes.

When having these conversations with your family, have discussions about basic needs, the value of family, and God’s love for everyone.

DISCUSSION: As you are discussing the similarities you notice between the chosen culture and your own, talk about how we should seek to be more like Jesus in our everyday lives.

9. Write a new friend

Sometimes the best way to get our question answered is to ask someone for their first-hand knowledge. If it makes sense for your family, find a long-distance pen pal. (If you are looking for someone to write, try reaching out to organizations like Missions of Hope International.)

Use the interaction as a way to reinforce language and social studies lessons. You can ask your new friend about their home life, the weather, local animals, cultural etiquette, and more.

DISCUSSION: After you’ve received and read your first response, ask the children to think about what God teaches us every day. Ask them how we can get to know Him better.

Conclusion

It’s beyond rewarding to watch our children learn and grow. As our world becomes more and more interconnected, we can help our children develop cultural awareness and empathy by encouraging global citizenship and teaching them how to love like Jesus.

 

 

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