Raising Citizens of the World

Leticia Barr
September 27, 2013

Most of our cities are a pretty diverse places; in fact, in many big cities you can get a quick world tour just by visiting different neighborhoods. For us as parents, reading books about other countries and introducing new foods are fun ways to teach children about becoming citizens of the world, to expose them to cultures and beliefs that differ from their own, and give them an introductory geography lesson. So let's say you have the big countries covered, but perhaps you'd like to branch out a bit—Lithuania or Belize, maybe? Use some of the ideas below to become "citizens" of the whole big world.

Plan a global playdate

I can't take credit for this great idea which comes courtesy of my friend, Naomi. Naomi wanted to celebrate diversity by having a global playdate. All moms chose a country to research with their children, planned a craft, and provided a snack that went with their country. Children were given homemade passports to get a stamp at each station. Click here for Naomi's how to guide on creating your own global playdate.

Get a subscription to Little Passports

Each month fictional characters Sofia and Sam travel to a new country on their scooter and send your child a personalized package with a letter, souvenirs, and activities that are designed to teach geography, history, culture, and language in a fun and memorable way.

Choose a dinner table destination

Stuck in a dining rut and wanting to try something else for dinner?  If you are feeling super adventurous, spin the globe and put your finger on a country to choose where you are going for dinner and search online to see if there is a restaurant close by that happens to serve food from that country. You could also put the names of your favorite ethnic restaurants on little slips of paper and have your children pull one out of a hat. Or break out the cookbooks and create a dinner table destination right in your own house.

Attend a festival

Sometimes cruising the city, following your nose, or listening to the advice of neighbors is the best way to find lively cultural celebrations.

Listen to music

We love the Putumayo Kids line for fun musical tours that take us all over the world but don't require packing a suitcase, a visa, or a lengthy flight.  

From the Parents

  • Kristin Haverkampf

    This is such a great article! I would also recommend looking at the au pair program as a way to invite cultural exchange into your children's everyday lives. http://goaupairnorthchicago.wordpress.com/

    over a year ago


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