Although their world is largely filled with family and friends, our kids know about lots of other places, whether through friendships at school, international sporting events like futbol or the Olympics, and/or other visual media like TV, YouTube, and movies.
Why not tap into that and see what they are curious about and guide them in exploring their world and interests a little deeper?
Step 1: Pick a Destination.
Not sure what your child’s interests are? Try one of these questions to launch your adventure. The galaxy is the limit, the “place” doesn’t have to be on earth.
- If you could travel to a different place, where would it be?
- If they don’t have a specific place, ask them about characteristics. Do they like hot places or cold? Snow or ocean? City or woods? You get the idea.
- What is a sport that you have heard of and would like to learn more about?
- What animal do you think is the cutest in the world? Or conversely, what is the scariest animal in the world?
- What kind of exotic animal would you want as a pet?
- If you could visit [place] what three things do you want to know about it?
Don’t hesitate to start with your own question! Maybe you were in the park playing soccer with your kids and saw someone playing cricket.
If you have a globe, maybe you spin it and wherever your finger lands is the place you’re going to learn about.
Another idea: Take a trip to the grocery store and walk through the produce aisle. Look at the different fruits and vegetables and let them pick one they would like to try. When you get home, research where it grows and how it is eaten or prepared.
Step 2: Plan & Research.
We live in a time when finding the answer to just about anything we want to know is slowed only by the time it takes our fingers to type the question. Before launching your web browser, ask your adventurer to tell you or write down three questions. That will help you identify what they are most interested in and focus the research a little more.
Don’t let the Interwebs be your primary source. See what other real life opportunities are out there. Which leads us to …
Step 3: Bring it Home.
Build on your research by seeing what else you can discover.
(Pre)select a few videos. Rather than let the fourth grader loose on the Internet, bookmark some videos or websites that will keep your child focused on the topic AND answer their questions.
Plan a meal. Find a recipe that the family can make together or a restaurant that serves that type of cuisine.
Plan a trip. An imaginary trip. Look at a globe or map to see how far you would travel to visit this place. Create a travel plan: what would you need to pack?
Visit the library. Yes, this week, we are suggesting books! Ask your librarian for ideas on books that match some element of your global adventure. It may be a nonfiction picture book or a fictional story set in a different part of the world.
A child’s curiosity knows no bounds. Over time, they don’t ask as many questions out loud as they actually have in their minds. Letting them ask questions and find the answer is great for encouraging them …
- To open their mind to new and unknown things;
- To have courage and try new things;
- To think curiously and critically about the world around them.