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How & Why to Have Global Dinners With Kids

For Part 2 in the series on How to Get Kids to Eat Global Foods, I want to introduce the idea of having family "global dinners," which are near and dear to my heart.

It all began when we had a culture-themed family dinner at home. We had Greek food for dinner and I wasn’t sure our picky preschooler, “J”, would be willing to try it. We played music from “Zorba the Greek,” learned a couple of Greek words, and ended up dancing around the kitchen and yelling “Opa!” Needless to say, J absolutely loved dinnertime and even tried a new food! The next night we were having Mexican food for dinner, and J requested Mexican music to go with his quesadilla. When I saw how much our simple family dinners were piquing my son’s interest in world cultures, my wheels started turning on how I could build on that interest.

My husband and I are avid travelers and we have always wanted to instill a love and respect for other cultures in our children. As I started developing ways to explore those cultures from home, I became increasingly passionate about bringing the world and its beautiful diversity to all children. That’s when Little Explorers Big World was born.

So how can you do this from home? What makes for a good global dinner? I like to make it as immersive as I can and try to bring in all five senses.

  1. Sight - Look at photos of the country’s people, landscapes and landmarks, watch a movie or tv episode or read a book that features the culture.

  2. Sound - Listen to some cultural music! YouTube has TONS of music from all over the world that you can listen to during your meal. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you also have access to the Prime music library!

  3. Smell - Consider bringing your child in on the cooking! Call attention to the ingredients and smells that they may recognise, as well as any new scents.

  4. Taste - This one is the most obvious. Pick a cultural meal and enjoy new (or familiar) flavors!

  5. Touch - Do a thematic hands-on activity, such as a coloring page, craft, or game! Check out the Resource Library for lots of great printable, cultural activities!

Through creating culture-based units, I aim to empower parents to enjoy exploring the world with their children - be it via airplane or from the kitchen table - having full confidence that they are learning skills that will serve them well in kindergarten and far beyond.

For more on the long-term benefits of exploring world cultures with kids, check out:

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