How can I encourage my child to learn more about different parts of the world?

Geo-literacy is a hot topic these days. A basic understanding about the different parts of the world and the diversity of people and cultures is an important foundation for the future. Young children are moving out of a very self-centered view of the world and are just getting a sense that there is more beyond their immediate environment. Many times, young children do not get much exposure to culture and people through school, in the media or at home. It is important to create an open dialogue at home about different people and places around the world. Special events that celebrate various cultural holidays are good exposure to different cultures, and they make good experiences to discuss as a family. What are the similarities and differences? Another important aspect is to, wherever appropriate, participate in cultural activities rather than just observing them. Then finally, use these experiences to spark discussions about the world at large. Bring out a map and talk about where these activities originated. Do they represent unique environments of those regions? Remember that learning about the world is not about rote memorization of facts and country names. Rather, it is about developing a sense of global awareness and citizenship. 

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.