Why I Built This Kit:
Every family has a special story and our family is like many in that we celebrate different cultures in teaching our children about their heritage. We cover two languages outside of English amongst the grandparents in our family and a number of rich traditions that are embedded in each culture. In order to make our conversations age-appropriate we utilize stories, cooking/food, and media to celebrate the different traditions that make our family unique. We also try to expand our conversation to include families all over the world because of the wonderful learning opportunities that arise within these exchanges.
Books For Discussing This Theme
Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different! Through an inviting point-of-view and colorful, vivid illustrations, this story shows how two boys living oceans apart can be the best of friends. (AMAZON)
Skin Again by Bell Hooks
The skin I'm in is just a covering. It cannot tell my story. The skin I'm in is just a covering. If you want to know who i am You have got to come inside And open your heart way wide. Celebrating all that makes us unique and different, Skin Again offers new ways to talk about race and identity. (AMAZON)
Apps For Exploring This Theme
I Love You Too (Ages: 3-6)
Publisher: Oceanhouse Media/ Format: iOS (Apple) & Android
Sing and play with Ziggy Marley as you explore his ﬁrst children's book based off the song from his Grammy Award winning album "Family Time!" Explore pictures, learn new vocabulary, and personalize the story with your own narration. (iTunes)
We enjoy using this app as we celebrate our family because it helps remind us of all the love we share in our family for being who we are. Being able to personalize our own narration and sing along allows us to introduce our own family style into the app experience.
One Globe Kids (Ages: 4-8)
Publisher: Round by Design/ Format: iOS (Apple)
Spin the globe and learn about real children around the world with One Globe Kids. Each new friend invites you to play their games, learn their language and share their food – international travel from your living room for young explorers. Destinations range from The Netherlands, Haiti, Indonesia, New York City, Burundi... always someplace new to visit.. Custom localization and fully narrated in English, French and Dutch! The free sample includes a visit to Haiti, then in-app purchases open each additional location. Features: real stories from around the globe, told child-to-child with full-color photographs and narration. New languages – Record yourself speaking and counting in your friend’s language (Dutch, Creole, Kirundi, English, Bahasa Indonesia…). Interact with your new friends – Choose “Adventure” story to decide what you want to do; with the “Tell me about yourself” feature record a conversation. Learn country facts – Learn interesting, kid-friendly facts about each country you visit. Learn geography – Put yourself and your friends/family on the globe and see where you are in relation to your new friends. (Round by Design)
This app supports our conversation about different cultures and the unique qualities that make all families special. We have discussions about the ways families in other countries might be the same or different than ours when learning about various languages, food, and games.
Information For Exploring This Theme
Discussing the multicultural nature of our family relies on knowledge that extends beyond our traditions and past experiences. We have found the following resources helpful in furthering our understanding and in preparing as best as possible for the questions that might arise. These resources are speciﬁcally for adults.
There are some very adult concepts that arise when talking about family structure and heritage and we do not shy away from these topics with our children. We have found that asking questions affords insight into our children’s thinking and understanding. Here are some ways we approach discussing our family:
- What makes a family a family?
- What does it mean when someone says “you come from ____ background?”
- Why do you think mom and dad talk about having different traditions when we grew up?
- Why do people celebrate different holidays?
Family Experience - A Family Field Day
Set the date for a Family Field Day where you invite extended family and close friends for a day of games, food, and fun. In planning the event create a schedule of events that includes sports and children’s games played in your family cultures. Encourage your children to learn about the games so they can “teach” grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins about the rules and logistics to the games of the day!
Celebrating our heritage and background is one of the most special aspects of raising our children and we don’t shy away from involving grandparents and other family along the way. Here are a few of our favorite activities:
Chrissy is a mother of two energetic toddlers, a passionate educator, literacy specialist, school administrator, and consultant with experience in both public and private education. She has worked with students preK-12, consulted on educational learning plans and student placement for families, and advised schools on literacy curriculum and planning across grade levels. StrongTots is a passion for Chrissy and an effort to form a supportive parenting network grounded in research-based information.