Ready… Set… Explore!
This month we are exploring citizenship in our Cultural Understanding portion of our Ascend curriculum, and are also exploring other countries and cultures. With the previous celebration of Independence Day on July 4th, this is a great time to explore other cultures and how they celebrate their countries of origin. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce history lessons to your child. A few exploration topics that can be covered during these lessons are exploring how America differs from other countries, and how America celebrates holidays in contrast to how other countries celebrate. This complex concept can be taught in a variety of ways to accommodate the developmental goals for a variety of ages.
- Two-year-olds—String art using red, white, and blue paint is a great way to create a fireworks effect on paper. Another fun activity that your child will love is creating squish bags with red, white, and blue paint. Your toddler will love these activities that incorporate creative art and fun, sensory experiences. Pictures of July 4th celebrations, such as fireworks and special foods, can be shown to your child along with a brief explanation of why we celebrate on July 4th. To add a different perspective and cultural awareness, consider creating a simple flip book of pictures for your child, depicting photos from celebrations in other countries.
- Three-year-olds—Take this opportunity to introduce the American flag and what it symbolizes. Consider teaching your child why our culture celebrates the American flag, and why we see it hung in a variety of places. Introduce a fun fine motor activity by tracing stripes and stars for your child to cut out and paste together to create their own flag. They can even create flags from other cultures, followed by a brief discussion on cultural practices from around the globe. Your child can also create their own glitter paint using clear glue, water, and glitter, or paint and glitter, to create sparkly fireworks paint!
- Four-/Five-year-olds—Family tradition is a great concept to cover when talking about how your family celebrates on July 4th. Break out some old family photos and talk to your child about where your family immigrated from, and what their experiences might have been like in their country of origin. By tying in your own family’s stories, teaching the cultural perspective will be better relatable. A brief discussion on typical American traditions vs. traditions from other cultures around the world will give your child diverse insight. Helping your child create fun hats or crowns for not only him or her, but also for family members to wear during celebrations, will help your child to feel included and valued in the family celebration. A book, such as Happy Fourth of July, Jenny Sweetney, by Leslie Kimmelman is a great way to help your child understand this day of celebration. These activities are rich in historical lessons, establishing an understanding of American tradition vs. traditions around the world, and the activity suggested will promote fine motor skills!
Skills Supported: fine motor skills, sensory exploration, historical knowledge, knowledge of American traditions and traditions from around the globe, promoting a sense of multi-cultural diversity.