My son Johnny needed to bring a collection of 100 items, so we printed out a large world map here along with 100 flags from here (I shrank them down so they would fit on the map) for my son’s 100th day of school kindergarten assignment to bring in 100 things. The flag printable isn’t perfect – Great Britain, for example, is listed as a country, and it – by necessity – does not include nearly half of the countries in the world. We also had some trouble putting the map together, although I think that has more to do with sloppy cutting on my part than with a problem with the printable. I printed this same map out for Emma, and she is working on placing 100 animals on it.
I love teaching my kids about the world we live in! I dream of taking my kids on an around-the-world trip someday, but in the meantime there is plenty of learning we can do here at home! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Close your eyes and spin the globe, with one finger lightly touching the globe. Look up the country your finger lands on when it stops spinning.
- Look for something new in your neighborhood or yard – something neither one of you noticed before.
- Sit outside together for a full minute with your eyes closed, just listening.
- Cook a food you have never tried before.
- Learn to say hello in another language.
- Listen to a country’s national anthem – one you are not familiar with.
- Make a list of all the countries you can think of. Place them on a map, looking up locations if you need to.
- Make a family tree. Where did your child’s grandparents and great-grandparents grow up? How was life the same or different from how it is today?
- Learn about a job you’ve never thought much about before. How do you get the job? What training does it require?
- Pick a new spice from the store, and learn how to use it. Bake something with it.
- Read a post (or two or three) from my world culture for kids series.
- Learn a new language. Duolingo is an excellent free language learning app, and it’s available for Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian.
- Try a new fruit or vegetable from the store.
- Learn about schools around the world through this post from The Educators’ Spin On It
- Print out a world map and flags and post the flags around the world.
- Interview someone you know who is from a different country, or who lived in a different country. What did they love about that country? What do they miss?
- Play a game from a different country. Blog Me Mom lists several games from around the world that may be new to you, and I have a post on this blog about playing marbles in France.
- Learn about a new-to-you religion.
- Find out how another country celebrates a life milestone – such as the first foods for baby celebration from West Bengal, India.
- Learn a few letters or symbols from a language that does not use the Latin alphabet.
- Place pictures of animals on a world map based on where they live.
- Look up the national birds of different countries and place images of them on a map. Do the same with trees.
- Learn about the different currencies of the world.
- Learn about popular ways of getting around in different countries. In the United States, most families have cars, but that isn’t true across the world!
- Pick an item from around your house, find out where it was made, and learn more about that country.
- Find out which countries the names of members of your family are originally from.
- Read a legend. Greek and Roman legends tend to be the best well-known to Americans, but there are fascinating legends from all over the world.
- Learn a lullabye from another country.
- Learn a craft from another country.
- Learn about variations in crafts from around the world. For example, cloth can be woven on large wooden looms, but it can also be made using a backstrap loom.
- Pick an invention that you would like to learn more about. Where was it invented? Where was the inventor from?
- Pick a favorite food that your family loves. Is it originally from your country? Is it grown there today?
- How do different countries get their energy? How do they recycle?
- Pick a part of the world where there isn’t very much water. How do people live there?
- Pick an ordinary object and learn how it has evolved. For example, how did we move from writing to sticks to writing with feathers, then fountain pens, felt pens, ball point pens, and gel pens?
- Learn about different measuring systems. Metric if you are in the United States; US Standard if you live anywhere else.
- Write about daily life today. How is it the same or different from life ten years ago? How do you think it will change in the next ten years?
- Look at images of planet earth taken from space.
- “Fly” around the world using Google Earth.
- Use a microscope to look at life up close.
- Read about a famous historical figure.
- Pick a well-known athlete, actor, or singer, and learn about their hometown.
- Explore textures.
- Explore sounds.
- Explore different scents.
- Learn about animal habitats.
- Look at housing designs from around the world. Why and how are houses designed differently for different climates?
- Chart the weather around the world
- Be a tourist in your own town or another one.
- Try learning enough words to have a meal speaking only another language (polite and food words are what we are aiming for currently). Bonus if your meal includes only foods eaten in a culture associated with that language.
- Take a pretend journey to a remote location.
- Learn about key figures from the past or present that are important to your family, country, or religion.
- Read historically-accurate biographies and memoirs, either fiction (like the Little House series) or non-fiction.
- Create a history timeline including facts from around the world.
- Learn about housekeeping in different countries: what’s it like to cook on a real fire everyday? Or sweep a dirt floor?
- Listen to music from different eras.
- Learn about traditional instruments from around the world, and how their scales and tones are sometimes different.
- Ask friends who are travelling to send postcards and/or bring back local currency. What is it worth where you are?
- Go to an international food or music festival in your home town or a nearby city.
- Join a 50-hour famine, or even just try skipping one meal to think about people who don’t have enough.
- Turn off your water main for a little while and do your washing in a bucket outside. Think about people who don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water, or running water.
- Put away all your toys (or all but one) for a day, and think about children who have little.
- Give money to a charity that supports needy people in a certain geographic area. Learn about that area, how the money is used, and the unique needs and opportunities among those people.
- Visit a farmer’s market and see what your area grows locally. Note how this changes throughout the year.
- Name five things you do when you first get up, and think about how they would be different in another culture/country/climate.
- Gather five favourite or daily-use items. When were they invented? What did people do before they were invented?
- Try walking or cycling someplace you have always driven to in the past, or just choose a new path for leisure walking or cycling.
- Find out how to say your name in a different language. Or, find out what your name means and then find a name that means the same thing in a different language.
- Find something you can do to make the world a better place!
What should I add to this list? I was hoping to get up to 100 items by today, but life always comes before blogging and there’s been a lot of life going on lately! If you let me know what I should add in the comments, I’ll update my list – and credit you, of course! Thank you, Elisa, for numbers 49-63!
What new things have you learned about our world recently?
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
28 thoughts on “Teach Your Child About the World”
Wow! What a great list. I teach preschool aged children so this is very helpful, MaryAnne. We are doing a music based theme this coming term so I particularly love No. 57. Learn about traditional instruments from around the world.
There are a lot of really neat traditional instruments around the world – lots of variety, and you can see how the instruments influence traditional music!
This list is fantastic and I am going to do this with my kids! YOur an amazing mom! I just adore you! :)
Wow, so many great ideas. I love finding out about new places and cultures. One of favourites is trying new food and crafts.
Trying new foods and crafts are two of my favorites as well!
We have that map as well! Love it and all the treasures it holds! Thanks for sharing at After School!
I love, love, love this roundup!! You included so many simple ways to introduce children to the world around them. Definitely incorporating these ideas with my own family. Thank you!
Such a great list! I love it!
These are such fantastic ideas. I’m saving them for future reference!
This is such a great collection of 100 things. I love your additional ideas too.
My son is in kindergarten too and his 100 days project is due for next week . Your idea is great and the map looks awesome. Teacher asked specially collection by tens . So makes me think what can I do ? Thanks for been so inspiring .
My recent post on Indian flag craft http://theweavingideas.com/2014/01/indian-flag-craft-patriotic-paper-mosaic/
What great ideas to make learning about the world fun. You have enough for one a week, with some left over!!
It’s an amazing post, MaryAnne! Your children are growing to be true world citizens!
We just read a book by Rachel Isadora called “Say Hello” that talks about the ways to say hello in different languages and my four-year-old really liked it. We’re also big fans of attending cultural festivals and of course, eating food from different countries.
What a terrific list! You really don’t have to credit me, but you inspired me to think of a few more:
Be a tourist in your own town or another one.
Try learning enough words to have a meal speaking only another language (polite and food words are what we are aiming for currently). Bonus if your meal includes only foods eaten in a culture associated with that language.
Take a pretend journey to a remote location (my kids are fond of Antarctica as an imaginary destination).
Learn about key figures from the past or present that are important to your family, country, or religion.
Read historically-accurate biographies and memoirs, either fiction (like the Little House series) or non-fiction.
Learn a history timeline including facts from around the world.
Learn about housekeeping in different countries: what’s it like to cook on a real fire everyday? Or sweep a dirt floor?
Listen to music from different areas and eras.
Learn about traditional instruments from around the world, and how their scales and tones are sometimes different.
Ask friends who are travelling to send postcards and/or bring back local currency. What is it worth where you are?
Go to an international food or music festival in your or a nearby city.
Join a 50-hour famine, or even just try skipping one meal to think about people who don’t have enough.
Turn off your water main for a little while and do your washing in a bucket outside. Think about people who don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water, or running water.
Put away all your toys (or all but one) for a day, and think about kids who have little.
Give money to a charity that supports needy people in a certain geography. Learn about that area, how the money is used, and the unique needs and opportunities among those people.
Choose an exotic, or favourite, item in the produce section of the grocery store, and discover where it came from.
Visit a farmer’s market and see what your area grows locally. Note how this changes throughout the year.
Name five things you do when you first get up, and think about how they would be different in another culture/country/climate.
Gather five favourite or daily-use items. When were they invented? What did people do before they were invented?
Try walking or cycling someplace you have always driven to in the past, or just choose a new path for leisure walking or cycling.
Those probably overlap some you already had in your list, but I just get very excited about increasing my kids’ global awareness!
Thank you for these, Elisa! Wonderful ideas!!!
Another thing I have always wanted to do! I am going to do this very soon… getting a good world map is the 1st step! Thank you for inspiring e and giving me some wonderful ideas to work with!
Great ideas! One of the things I saved from my parents’ move was a blow-up globe that I won in a geography bee. It has become very useful and popular in church lessons. We also got a free map of the world from Doctors without Borders. J has been interested in both and often asks where this person lives or is from. Being in a culturally diverse college town, we get to learn where many places are.
My daughters LOVE maps. Thanks for such a great resource of ideas and participating in the hop!! ~Andrea
Thank you, Andrea! This is such a fun blog hop!
I have the same map and I love it! Great post, MaryAnne. So many ideas.
Thank you! It’s a great map!
My kids would LOVE to stick flags on a map! What a great idea. I really need to get a globe, too. Although I have no idea where I would put it.
Small space living definitely has its challenges! My kids thought the flags on the world map idea was fun, and they were really surprised at how the countries would be all bunched up and then all spread out.
I love that map you’ve got. It’s so bright and colorful.
My kids have really enjoyed this map!
This looks amazing! Thank you for participating in the 100th day of school blog hop!
Thank you for organizing it – such a fun idea!
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