Saturday, June 7, 2008

Raising Globally-Minded Kids

One of my core values as a mother is to teach my children to be globally aware. I want them to be aware of the world as a whole – to understand that there are many continents with many countries….that there are many languages and many cultures….that we are all part of the mosaic that makes the human race. I hope that my children will always be curious –seeking to learn more about the world around them and beyond. And as their mother, I am always looking for tools to foster that curiosity and to give them a global perspective.

It’s never to early to expose kids to geography! Here are a couple of tools I have used with my soon-to-be-3 yr old and 4 year old boys:

Panwappa Kids:

This is a great interactive site that is like a kids’ version of Google Earth. Kids can click on a globe, zoom in on a continent, and visit countries around the world. They can make their own profile with a customized person/flag/home, and then find pen-pals in other countries who share similar interests. One of my favorite features of the site is the movie section with video clips showing children from around the world in their daily life. We watched a boy from Guatemala show us his school and introduce us to his friends. You can also choose what language you want to use when using the site!

Vtech “Fly and Learn Globe”:
My boys love “flying” around the world, learning about the seven wonders of the world, and hearing different types of music from each country (granted, the music is a little cheesy). My four year old can name most of the continents, and he’s learning which language is spoken in which country. The interactive guessing games are a great learning tool.

Melissa & Doug World Map Floor Puzzle:
This huge floor puzzle is great! The recommended age is 6 yrs +, but my boys have using it since they were 2 and 3 yrs old. The pieces are very large and durable (but not bite-proof).

What toys/learning aids do you use with your kids?

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