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Just as your kids are beginning to place where their house is when they return from journeys out, suddenly they begin to discover that the world is made up of lots of different countries with different people speak different languages. Not exactly an easy idea to grasp! Having an understanding of the world and the diversity of people and language is an important aspect of early education.
Just as kids learn their immediate surroundings through their senses, so you can teach about the world by appealing to their senses too.
Introduce the concept of language through sound - talking and hearing. If you're lucky, you might be fluent in more than one language, but even if you're not, you probably know some basic words such as 'Hello' and 'Thank You', and maybe some numbers, in a number of languages? Talk about language and explain how people say these words in different countries. Explain how even people in the English-speaking world talk in different voices and use slightly different words in certain circumstances.
You can have a lot of fun explaining about different foods from round the world as you introduce basic foods from different countries. Rice, pasta, pizza and different breads come from different countries. You can readily buy fruit and vegetables from countries around the world. If your children are adventurous eaters then try them with simple Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Thai, Indian and other cultural dishes!
Teach geography and sense of distance by playing games. Create a representation of each continent on pieces of paper and spread them around a large room, or better still, the garden. Locate the continents in roughly the way that they are laid out across the globe - Asia, Australasia, North America, South America and Europe. Then simply shout out 'Swim to North America' and have them perform swimming strokes as they run over to North America!
Learning about the world is so important for our little ones, and there are so many games and activities that we can play to foster a desire to learn.
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