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You can help your children learn about and appreciate the differences among people and groups of people by opening your family’s life to new experiences. These cultural diversity activities will give you some ideas.

Try This: Help children see that each of us is unique. Use an inkpad to have each member of your family make a thumbprint in the center of a piece of construction paper. Then, use a magnifying glass to examine the thumbprints. How are they alike? How are they different?

Next, have everyone use markers to add to and draw around the thumbprints to create unique thumbprint animals.

Discuss: Even though we’re all part of the same family, our fingerprints are different. And, each of us probably thought of and drew a different thumbprint imaginary animal. We don’t look alike or think alike.

Open House

Open your home to new eating experiences.

Choose 1 day a month to try a different type of food. Walk with your child down the international foods aisle of your grocery store to make up the menu for dinner. Or, go to the produce department to find fruits and vegetables from other countries to try. You also can go through the newspaper’s local restaurant review section with your family and choose an ethnic restaurant to share a special meal.

As your family eats the new food, talk about how they are the same or different from your usual meals. What are the different tastes? What are the different ingredients?

New People, New Stories

Many excellent children’s books show people from different cultures. Your children will begin to identify similarities and appreciate differences in people when they know more about them. Plan a visit to your local library and ask the librarian to help you and your child find books about other cultures.

Or, go online to “Celebrating Cultural Diversity Through Children’s Literature” to find excellent annotated bibliographies on many different themes—African-American, Chinese American, Japanese American, Jewish American, Latino/Hispanic American, Native American, Middle Eastern American, Vietnamese American.

You can help children see that friends don’t have to be alike. Read Karen Beaumont’s Being Friends (Dial, 2000). Two children discover that they like so many different things, BUT they both like being friends.

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Updated on 3/11/2014