I’ve dubbed this summer, the “summer of yes.” Instead of fighting with my kids about silly things like having an extra s’more or sleeping in a fort they’ve built I’m embracing (most) everything and just saying yes. We’re also making an effort to expose them to as many cultural events and activities as possible. With that in mind, I asked some fellow multicultural kid bloggers for what they would put on a multicultural bucket list for kids.
I’ve recently seen a ton of different summer bucket lists online. But, I haven’t been able to find any that really embraced our multicultural outlook, were not things we regularly do anyway, or were really age appropriate for my guys (most are aimed at younger kids). With that in mind I hoped to create a list that would encompass everything I’ve been looking for and failed to find! There’s no reason that you couldn’t do these activities any time of year, or that they are only for kids!
Learning Through Travel
If your family has an international trip planned this summer, chances are your kids will be experience a million different cultural aspects. But, travel doesn’t have to be far away to be meaningful. Leanna of All Done Monkey has 10 ways to learn through travel including learning about the mechanics of travel, bringing history to life, and embracing nature – all of which can be done in your own backyard! Be sure to read all of her ideas to get started!
Take a Cooking Class
Kids love to be in the kitchen and many communities offer enrichment cooking courses through the school district or parks and recreation department during the summer months. Learning about (and eating!) foods from different cultures is a great way to expose children to new cultures. Chantilly of Bicultural Mom really wants to take a Mexican cooking class this summer!
Bring the World to Your Kitchen
Maybe you’re already comfortable in the kitchen – why not try a little global cuisine this summer? Annabelle of The Piri-Piri Lexicon gathered a great collection of recipes from around the world. Expanding kids palates is something I’m a huge advocate of and you’ll find my recipes for Belizean Fish Serre and Chicken and Lemon Couscous in her collection. Younger kids can do simple tasks like pouring and mixing while older kids can help chop, measure, and read recipes. Sometimes, my kids and I will pick a country and then spend some time looking at pictures of that place (if they don’t know much about it), and then finding recipes we think we would like to try. Next it’s shopping for ingredients and putting together the meal. I like to talk with them about how people in that country might purchase their food and even what crops do and don’t grow there.
Take Time to Pretend Play
I have always had a hard time getting my boys to do much pretend play. I don’t know if it’s just their personalities or that I’m just not all that creative to lead this kind of play! Varya of the Creative World of Varya shared this game for Ayyam-i-Ha, a Ba’hai holiday but really the game is about unity and peace on Earth. You could scale this game up for older children. It’s a great game to get children thinking about other countries and people in the world.
Listen to and Make Music from around the World
This is another area I struggle with but I can’t wait to try some of these fun ideas Daria of World Music for Children shared. My boys are going to love them! The best part – all of these ideas are made using recycled materials.
- Make and Play an Egyptian Sistrum (I’m thinking this might be a great Ramadan activity)
- Chinese Gong
- Australian Blima or Clapsticks
- Find even more ideas by checkout out her activities page
One of the things I’m really looking forward to doing in Morocco is hiking in the mountains. I am really working to get my kids as active as possible this summer. I’ve found that my kids really absorb more when we’re learning about different cultures, and especially practicing languages, through games and physical activities. My oldest son is participating in a UK Soccer Camp this year, it happens in our town and while it combines his favorite sport, they also teach the kids about other countries by encouraging them to select a new country and sharing their facts with the kids. Accents and people from other countries don’t really phase my boys, but I overheard many of the other kids excited about meeting their coaches from another country.
Looking for another game? Marie of Marie’s Pastiche has a great tutorial for making a Chinese Jianzi or shuttlecock. This game brings back memories for me of playing hackey-sack at recess and I’m sure my boys would love putting their own jianzi together and playing.
Personally, I’ve really enjoyed yoga for relaxing and improving my mobility. Both of my kids were exposed to yoga through their preschool Montessori education and it can be a great way to settle down kids who are bouncing off the walls. Giselle of Kids Yoga Stories has some great ideas to bring together the practice of yoga and global learning. Check out a step-by-step guide to creating a family yoga experience at home , then start your global yoga journey with Australia! She’s also got a post that has 14 screen-free ideas for summer with fantastic suggestions.
Learn about the World through Animals
This is big in our house. We don’t have pets, and probably never will, but our kids LOVE animals from all over the world. We make sure to visit zoo’s whenever we’re visiting a new city, and also take time to see animals in nature. I grew up, more or less, in the middle of the woods and it was normal to see deer, bears, coyotes, even wolves regularly. So while I’m not a big fan of having them in my house, I am aware of the life lessons and global lessons kids can learn from animals. Becky of Kid World Citizen shared a great post on turning favorite animals into global lessons. Becky shares a story about her daughter and lemurs – we had a similar experience. K LOVES panda’s and so last summer when we went to Washington DC we went out of our way to visit the National Zoo so that he could see pandas up close and personal. He knows so much about China from his panda love. Becky’s post gives many more great ideas to encourage global learning based around animals.
Explore Sacred Spaces
In some homes it’s controversial to talk about, or learn about religions other than your own. Not in my house. I believe that if we hope to raise children that are respectful and want to live in a peaceful world they need to understand not everyone believes the same way they do. Jill of Moms Gone Global shared on exploring intercultural connections in sacred places. If you’re traveling it’s always interesting for kids to learn about the different religions in that area – you might be surprised to find the variety of faiths in your own community! You’ll find more great ideas by checking out her post.
Whatever your summer plans include, I hope you’ll take some time to introduce some of these ideas.
What would you add to a multicultural bucket list?