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10 Easy Ways to Raise Globally Conscious Children {W is for World}

10 easy ways to raise globally conscious children

I was raised in five different countries on three continents, and that growing up experience transformed my life. Mike’s job keeps us mostly in the United States, and so I am always looking for ways to raise globally conscious children without being able to travel the world Luckily, the internet, books, and an increasingly diverse American population make this easy!

10 Easy Ways to Raise Globally Conscious Children

Travel is an incredible way to raise children who have global awareness, but since teleportation has not yet been invented most of us have to settle with armchair travel. Here are ten easy ways to learn about the world without leaving the comfort of your home! Since a lot of the resources I list here are online, I highly recommend checking them out first on your own so that you can be certain that the content is kid-approved. I have focused this list on resources for upper elementary and older children; if your kids are younger I recommend starting with my Raising Globally Aware Kids: Getting Started post.

Be curious

Curiosity is the first step for any form of learning! When you hear about a culture or country that you don’t know very much about, get curious! Wikipedia is a great place to start, and I recommend visiting at least a few of the sources that are listed at the end of the article!

Ask questions

As you read about a culture or country that is different from your own, ask questions! Why are things different? Can you see aspects of that country or culture’s history that might explain why things are the way they are? How about the geographic location? Weather patterns? Local plants and animals?

Look at labels

I love finding out where the things we see in grocery stores come from – and then learning about those countries with my kids! As a bonus, this can often lead to becoming a more socially conscious consumer.

Listen to music

Youtube has music from all over the world! Listen to a country’s folk music, and then look for a recent music video. Listen to how Beethoven is played by orchestras from different countries.

Look for details

As you learn about a new culture or country, pay attention to details! What are the little things that make this community stand out? What can you learn from them? How can they enrich your life?

Find first person accounts

The internet provides us with access to incredibly intelligent people from all over the world! Use it to find first person accounts of recent history as well as current events. Find first person accounts of local traditions and festivals.

Read history

Historical accounts explain a lot about why and how things are the way they are today. Just remember that history is call His Story for a reason. Good historians do their best to present events accurately, but they can’t help being influenced by the lens of their own backgrounds and understandings. As readers, we also interpret these events based on our own life experience and personal family history.

Look at art

You can learn a lot about a culture through its art! What type of art is commonly found? What and how do artists share stories? What details can you find in a country or culture’s art that teachers you more about that country or culture?

Look for differences

As you learn about a new culture or country, look for differences. What makes the new culture or country different from your own? Why is it different? How do those differences make life more fun, more enriched, and more difficult?

Look for similarities

No matter how different a culture or country may be from your own, I can promise you that over time you will be able to find things that are similar. How do people express affection? How do they travel? What does their day look like?

I hope these ten ideas get you started on a rich exploration of the cultures and countries that make up our beautiful world! You can find more ideas with these resources from my blog:

Global mini
This post represents letter “W” for the A to Z of Raising Global Citizens series organized by my friend Varya. 24 bloggers from the Multicultural Kid Blogs Community got together for this series in order to share ideas and tips on Raising Global Citizens. Follow the entire series, with one post for each letter of the alphabet, at Varya’s Raising Global Citizen Series page!

Do you have a favorite tip for raising globally conscious children?

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

22 thoughts on “10 Easy Ways to Raise Globally Conscious Children {W is for World}”

  1. Just wanted to say I really liked this post. I particularly love the idea of just looking at labels. That’s a geography lesson every time you go shopping. For the older kids you can also turn it into an economics lesson.

    Great ideas and love the simplicity!

  2. I’m not sure if my comment published, but I was just saying that I love this post. I know it’s not reality that families get to travel abroad. I love that you raise globally conscious children from your home!

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    We have been so privileged to live different places, but unfortunately my kids were too young to remember them… These days we mostly experience other cultures by meeting people from around the world, which is easier than ever now that we are part of the truly global Catholic Church. Priests, missionaries, tourists… it is wonderful to see people of every age and race gathered together in church.

  4. jeannine: waddleeahchaa.com

    Great Post!

    I wish I was raised in 5 countries! I wish teleportation was possible! I would be all over that! In fact, our family would be all over the world!

  5. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    One of my favorite ways of learning about the world is to try different food. It’s amazing how different (and delicious) ethnic cuisine can be!

  6. You’re lucky you got to live in different places MaryAnne, and not even just for travel but to actually live as a local. Seeing how other parts of the world live and function is definitely a gift and I’d say a must. Like you said, travel isn’t exactly in our budget right now, but I do plan to take my kids sometime in the future. In the meantime, we love learning about countries. My eldest already has a wish list of places he wants to travel (the recent one is London to visit the Tower Bridge; he says he’s going when he’s 18 lol).

    We read lots of books about countries and also hang a world map in their room, even if it’s just a taped up piece of paper until we get a better one.

  7. I love learning about other cultures! When I was in elementary school, I loved using maps and learning about geography. I also used to read a lot of books about kids in other cultures, but most were not written by people from those cultures unfortunately.

    1. That continues to be a problem, although I think people have gotten more careful about presenting a balanced view of cultures. Ideally, we would have lots of books written by people from those cultures.

  8. I’ve never lived anywhere outside the U.S., but I think this is so important. I would love to be able to travel with my kids, but with a family of 5, international flights are a little out of our budget. Thanks for these ideas we can use at home! Also, I’m not sure if you’ve tried it, but we’ve had a Little Passports subscription for about 5 months. I haven’t decided if we’ll renew it after the year’s up, because $15/month is a little expensive, but my 5.5 year old absolutely loves it.

    1. I have seen Little Passports, but we haven’t subscribed yet. It’s good to hear that you like it – maybe we will try it once our Magic School Bus Subscription ends.

      1. How long would you say your kids spend on the Magic School Bus subscription each month? The problem with Little Passports is that my kids are SO excited to get the package and they can’t wait to rip it open, but it only takes them about 15 minutes to listen to me read the letter, find the country on the map, put the stickers on the suitcase and in the passport, and look at the “souvenir” and postcard. We’re usually able to do part of the activity sheet, but even my 5.5 year old is a little young for some of that. We supplement with library books about each country, but really what they send us lasts 20 minutes tops. It’s such a good idea, but for $15-ish, I’m hoping for something that will entertain them a little longer.

        1. The Magic School Bus kits have several experiments each month, but the amount of time that the experiments hold their attention definitely varies. You should get a minimum of 30 minutes but some months stretch out to 2 hours or longer. It really depends on the theme, the activities, and how much my kids care about the activity that month.

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