~Chelsea Lee Smith
It is my hope that my children see every person as family, regardless of culture, gender, age, religious or economic background. I want them to be comfortable talking to people who do not look like them, playing with children who speak a different language, and trying foods from all over the world. I want them to learn how to be hospitable to everyone who enters our doors, and recognize that we are all one human family.
Living in a fairly diverse community, our children have seen people of different backgrounds. In fact, my husband and I are from different countries (New Zealand and the United States) and even our parents are diverse as well (with Samoan and Chinese heritage). We have friends from many countries and we have also traveled as much as we can. But there is still so, so much to see of the world and so much I want my children to be exposed to and to learn about.
One way I like to encourage them to appreciate diversity is to have art from different countries in our house, such as handicrafts, baskets, and paintings.
The other day we were at a craft market and I saw a beautiful cloth banner with multicultural children wearing various traditional outfits. I loved the idea of something like this hanging up in our “school room” but it was out of our price range. So I decided we would just have to make our own multicultural banner!
Here’s how we did it:
(1) First we cut out several colors of paper into triangles and put them into a pattern.
(2) Then we went through our stash of magazine people and selected a diverse range, cutting them to the size for our triangles. (Quite a few months ago I got a pile of magazines from a secondhand shop and went through cutting out all the people, to keep in a folder for craft supplies. This folder been very useful for many activities!)
(3) Next we glued the people on, leaving space in between for words.
(4) We wrote our vision: “We are all one big family” on the empty triangles.
(5) Then we cut a string and taped the triangles to it.
(6) Finally, we hung up our multicultural banner!
Our DIY banner was a very simple activity which could be made much more elaborate if you have older children or you want to spend more time on it yourself. It is just lovely to see a diverse range of faces smiling down on us every day.
You may also enjoy this activity in which I used colored paper to help my children understand the beauty of including people of all different backgrounds in our community.
What have you done to encourage your children to appreciate diversity?
While I am in Mexico for the summer, I have some wonderful parents and educators sharing tips here about how they teach their children about the world. Chelsea is a mom of two boys under 5 and blogs at momentsaday.com, sharing ideas for families to connect and build character. She believes in using small moments throughout the day to help children learn how to use their head, heart, and hands to make the world a better place.