Easy Ways to Teach Your Children About Cultural Diversity

Please Note :: While this may be a sponsored post, all thoughts and opinions about Tour-A-Culture are proudly my own.

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. – Maya Angelou

I was raised in a pretty idyllic suburb just north of Dallas. While I had a wonderful childhood, it was lacking in one definitive way :: diversity. We were pretty much the epitome of the land ‘o concrete and Caucasian everywhere. Of course, we had all different races and cultures surrounding us, but I can broadly say that there wasn’t much interaction between all of us. Not purposeful or hateful at all, let me be clear. Just perhaps the fear of the unknown? When I headed to college at Louisiana State University, I had my first meaningful experiences with people outside members of my own race and culture. Later, when we moved to Houston, I was struck by the incredible diversity of our city. In fact, the Greater Houston area is actually the most diverse in the nation surpassing even New York City.

Living and raising children in Fort Bend County, I want to ensure that my children are aware of the multiculturalism of this wonderful city and raise them to not only respect other cultures, but to embrace them. I want them to know the richness that comes when you live outside your “bubble.” And bonus for later on, it will no doubt help them thrive in the new global world we find ourselves in and with future employers who will surely be seeking candidates with multicultural competence.  My hope is that they have awareness, appreciation, and respect for other cultures in a way I never had the opportunity.

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I love the concept that our sponsor Tour-A-Culture has created — through programs and summer camps, they teach children ages kindergarten through 5th grade about people and places around the globe so that they can experience multiculturalism first-hand {without having to jet set around the world and the cost associated with worldly travels too!}. With various locations around our city, Tour-A-Culture has developed a unique concept that will expose kids to so many different regions and countries outside of the good ‘ole U.S. of A.

So in addition to their amazing programs and summer camps, here are a few ways you can begin teaching your children about diversity ::

Through Language

You have probably heard by now that there is no time like early childhood to introduce your children to a new language. Those precious minds are literally sponges when it comes to picking up words and phrases, in many cases much easier than adults.  Start simple!  Try counting the blueberries on your little one’s breakfast plate in a different language {uno, dos, tres…}, teach them color words as you build with Legos {the rouge piece or the noir wheel}, or grab a foreign-language picture book next time you are at a bookstore.  And it goes beyond language as well. Tour-A-Culture really makes communication learning fun through activities like art, music, dancing, and games, too.

Through Food

Oh my. Houston is such a mecca for ethnic diversity through food experiences. I can’t drive 15 minutes in my suburban city without passing multiple restaurant cuisines, such as Asian, Mexican, French, Indian, and more. Exposing your children’s taste buds to food outside of chicken nuggets and hamburgers not only broadens their palette but opens their mind to learning more about that particular culture. Our family loves getting sushi, and while our kids don’t exactly love a roll yet, they can eat a plate of edamame and are absolutely fascinated by chopsticks. {Side note :: introducing chopsticks at mealtime is a fun and easy way to get your little ones excited about dinner!} I love that at Tour-A-Culture summer camps, children will be able to learn about ethnic foods either through cooking and/or sampling different snacks and offerings. I don’t know about you, but I would love for my kiddos to ask me for a serving of pita and hummus versus the standard fare of a granola bar.

Through Design

What we wear is a direct influence of where we live, and teaching through design is such an amazingly powerful way to expose our children to diversity.  Think about it…  You can browse through pictures and almost immediately know which region each image was captured in based on the clothing that is worn, the homes that are in view, and the overall designs surrounding. Try playing dress-up with your kiddos and mimicking the various clothing styles of each culture {suspenders for lederhosen or draping a long piece of cloth for a sari}, build houses out of blocks to replicate homes from around the world, or browse through pictures and discuss how various cultures are alike and different.  At Tour-A-Culture, children are able to get an inside look at historic worlds, urban life vs. rural life, and the homes we live in – plus, they take a peek at historic, modern, and future fashion as well.

Through Knowing Your Neighbors

On just my street, I can identify at least six different ethnic groups. We have an Asian family to our right, and Angolan family to our direct left, and an Indian family across the street. We encourage our children to play out front so they can get to know these children and appreciate the ways we are the same – and different. One thing I love about my children is they honestly don’t see color or ethnic differences, they see KIDS. And that’s how we should all approach the world, right? Through Tour-A-Culture, they will be encouraged to ask questions and be exposed to cultures that literally live next door to us. My heart sings when I see my kiddos learning a little bit of Portuguese from our friends from Angola and vice-versa, as they learn English from my children. Then of course, there is the language that transcends all others :: sharing bikes and toys.

I can’t think of a better way for my children to be exposed to multiculturalism AND embrace it than through Tour-A-Culture’s Summer Camps. Starting June 8th and running through August 14th, your Kindergartener through 2nd grader {Sightseer Level} and 3rd through 5th grader {Explorer Level}, will be able to “visit” and experience new regions each week, including :: Asia & Middle East, Europe, Africa, the Americas, Oceania, and the Islands. You can choose the area you would like your child to explore at three conveniently located Houston-area locations. Huge bonus :: they will also integrate S.T.E.M. into all aspects of their program {science, technology, engineering, and math}, skills that are not only integral for student success in the classroom, but also a proven approach in how they learn most effectively in the real world.

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Because we feel so passionately about raising culturally aware and diversity aware children, we have partnered with Tour-A-Culture who have graciously offered a FREE summer camp week to one of our readers. Simply enter the rafflecopter below to enter. Summer is an amazing opportunity to not only stretch your children’s legs outdoors, but to stretch their minds as well!

Winner :: Priscilla L.

Tour-A-Culture

Website :: www.touraculture.com
Location :: Houston, TX
Phone :: 1.855.589.2424
Blog :: http://www.touraculture.com/blog/


Need more diversity posts? Check out Houston Moms’ Diversity in Motherhood:: We All Love the Same series!

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2 Responses to Easy Ways to Teach Your Children About Cultural Diversity

  1. Priscilla L April 21, 2015 at 8:52 am #

    It is a fact that Houston is a city full of diversity and culture. My husband and I know we could not travel the world but we can visit our own city. As a family we take full advantage by allowing our boys to pick a country and fill the weekend of activities in and around the city. At the end we discuss the differences and amazing qualities of that country.

    Thank you Houston Moms Blog for offering this giveaway!

  2. Amy M. April 25, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    My 6 year old would absolutely adore this program! She is an interracial baby herself, so seeing other cultures and the way they interact with the world, would definitely be right up her alley!

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