World Cultures Lesson Ideas – Part 1 – For Preschool & Kindergarten

International Flags On Pier by Loren Sztajer on flickr

Goal & Objectives

Goal: 1. Beginning understanding and appreciation of different countries and cultures.

Objectives: 1. Learn about children in other countries. 2. Beginning appreciation and respect for different peoples and cultures. 3. Understand that God created and loves all people.

Disclosure: Most of the links below are to free resources.  Some of the links are affiliate links to Amazon.com and Little Passports, and I will receive a small commission if they are used to make a purchase. However, I only recommend products and companies that I believe will benefit my readers.

Notes

For an introduction and to see how this post fits in the complete list of preschool lesson ideas for the year, please see my post: Preschool Lesson Ideas For Homeschool – Plans For The Year. My schedule calls for combining this lesson with the Christmas Lesson, and the David and Birth of Jesus Bible stories. 

Below are ideas and links to materials, resources, and tutorials for “World Cultures” lesson ideas. Please pick and choose the resources that fit the interests of your child(ren).  Don’t worry if you don’t get to do everything you plan, preschoolers learn a lot just by playing!  I’m saving my unused materials for Kindergarten.  I originally planned this lesson to be just a month-long theme, but you can also use it all year long.  Pick one country per month for a more in-depth study!

If you have older children (5 – 10 years old), you may be interested in a Little Passports subscription – each month your child(ren) will receive a package with activities related to a different country.  For the first month, they receive a suitcase and a wall map!  To read my review, please click here.

Disclosure: Most of the links on this page are to free resources.  Some of the links are affiliate links to Amazon.com and Little Passports, and I will receive a small commission if they are used to make a purchase. However, I only recommend products and companies that I believe will benefit my readers.

Lesson Plan

Introduction

Make a Pretend Passport (printable, USA & Canadian available) for each child and a World Flags banner (printable craft) for your home or classroom.  Put up wall maps or set out a globe.

Read from Children Around the World, A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World, or similar book.  How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman and the Sesame Street book Global Grover Travels All Over are fun ways to introduce very young children to different cultures around the world.

Choose Countries To “Visit”

I suggest one per week for a month-long study of World Cultures.  You can also pick one per month if you’d like to incorporate world cultures into your everyday preschool curriculum. Ask your kids for suggestions!

Learn about a different country with your child(ren):

  1. Find it on a wall map or globe and mark with a pin or Map Dot Sticker.
  2. Discuss how you would travel to the country from your house…airplane, boat, car, or a combination of methods.
  3. Color the flag.
  4. Color the outline map.
  5. Make Paper Dolls to illustrate how children dress.
  6. Do an online search “What people eat in _______” (fill in your chosen country).  You can either print out images ahead of time or do the search with your child(ren).  If possible, try to eat at least one dish or meal at home or a restaurant!  If you want to eat out for this experience, you may want to research the ethnic restaurants in your area before choosing your countries.  (You can also make a World Dinner Activity Placemat.)
  7. Do an online or library search of the primary language(s).
  8. Do an online or library search of the animals that live your chosen country. Cut pictures out of magazines or print online, and make a collage on construction paper.
  9. Write a list of things you would need to pack for your trip. (You may even want to actually pack a suitcase.  I love some of the ideas that kids come up with!)
  10. Use Google Earth to take a virtual trip.
  11. Read a story or non-fiction book (see Part 2 for some suggestions).
  12. Make a craft or do an activity (see Part 2 for some suggestions).

Activities and crafts for specific countries and continents are listed in the post:

World Cultures Lesson Ideas Part 2

Have fun exploring the world with your kids!

More Ideas

  • Activities and crafts from Celebrate Christmas Around the World.
  • World culture themed activities from Arts and Crafts with Amber Lamb or Child Art for 3s *
  • If you know someone who is from another country or someone who has lived overseas, ask them over for a short session.  Find their country on the map, then help your kids think up questions for your visitor ahead of time (you may want to write them down).  Suggestions: what do you normally eat/wear/do for fun in your country?
  • Make a card for an overseas missionary. Show your kids where the missionary lives on the map, and talk about how they live and how it may be different from your lifestyle.  Show your children how to address the envelope; let them put the return address labels and stamps on the envelope. Take them to a post office and let them mail their own letters.
  • More great ideas here: 10 Activities to Teach Your Children About World Cultures.

Another Fun Map Activity

(Note: This is a repeated activity from the Earth and Space Lesson Plan.  Your children probably won’t mind. Idea adapted from a Five In A Row activity.)

You will need:

  • Wall map of your country
  • Wall map of the world
  • Thumbnail-sized pictures of your family members, friends and/or missionaries who live overseas
  • Poster putty
  • Laminator (optional)
  1. Pin the maps on the wall within easy reach of your child(ren). (Wall maps with a laminated or gloss-type surface work better than plain paper.)
  2. Cut out small photos of your family members, friends and/or missionaries and laminate (laminating is optional).
  3. Talk with your child(ren) about where they live, and where the people in the photos live, and point to the map, then have them put their finger on the map, too.  For example: “we live here in Huntsville, Alabama, see?  Grandpa and Grandma live in this city in Kentucky, and Aunt Mabel and Uncle Henry live in way over in London, England!  Where do our missionary friends live?  That’s right, Uganda!”
  4. Put small pieces of poster putty on the back of each picture, and let your child tack the pictures on the appropriate cities on the map(s).
  5. Extended Activity, or do this instead of the photos: Print out and laminate thumbnail images of your favorite story books and movies, and help your children find where the images should go on the map according to the story.  For example, we printed out a thumbnail of Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans, and placed it on Paris, France.  Another example would be Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say (we placed it on Japan, then California, then back to Japan).

Field Trip Ideas

  • Museum with international art and/or exhibits
  • Cook international cuisine at home or eat at local restaurants. For example, choose Mexican one week, Thai the next week, then Chinese, etc.

More Reading Suggestions


* A Beka updates these books occasionally so I am not including page numbers or specific descriptions.

*** Egermeier’s Bible Story Book is wonderful for children who can listen to a story while they color, and do not need a lot of pictures in the book to keep them interested.

Thank you for visiting Cotton Ridge Homeschool!  I hope these plans help you with your preschool year. Please feel free to comment below with your own ideas!

Disclosure: Most of the links above are to free resources.  Some of the links are affiliate links to Amazon.com and Little Passports, and I will receive a small commission if they are used to make a purchase. However, I only recommend products and companies that I believe will benefit my readers.


Image from Flickr.com, used under the Creative Commons license. Credit: International Flags On Pier by Loren Sztajer.

Copyright 2013 Kathryn Depew

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