Sunday, January 25, 2009
I’ve always been fascinated by different countries and cultures. When I was 16, I had the pleasure of staying with a Japanese family for six weeks in Osaka. It was a wonderful experience during which I rode the bullet train, tried octopus and squid, visited many temples, attended festivals, and got fitted for a kimono. I made memories that will last a lifetime! The following summer, I went with my high school French class to England and France. We saw the sights of London and Paris. I had so much fun!
My oldest son graduated from an International Baccalaureate high school program last May, and my second oldest son is a sophomore in the same program. It’s always so heart-warming to see them interacting with teens from many different backgrounds. There are kids from China, India, Russia, Finland, and many other countries. Students are required to study a language they don’t speak at home, and they often share their customs and native foods with each other.
The world is getting smaller and smaller as communication and transportation methods improve. I truly believe that children should be exposed to various cultures and traditions as early as possible. This helps to foster acceptance of cultural differences and discourage racism and prejudice. Of course, many of us can’t afford to take our kids to different countries, but we can teach them about other cultures at school and at home.
There’s a fabulous DVD series called The Little Travelers that is perfect for younger children (although older kids and adults will love it, too). The hosts of the show, preschool-aged sisters Chantelle and Nakia, travel to various countries and share their adventures. I recently viewed The Little Travelers: Japan with my five-year-old twin boys, and they were mesmerized by it! Chantelle and Nakia went to many of the cultural hotspots, like temples and gardens, but what I really liked was seeing how people actually live in Japan. The sisters spent their three-month stay in a typical Japanese home, where shoes are always removed and everyone sleeps on the floor! They showed the small appliances, like refrigerators and washing machines (no dryers), that are typical in Japanese homes. They visited the grocery store, preschool, and neighbors’ houses. Even though I had been to Japan before, I loved rediscovering daily life in Japan and seeing it through my children’s eyes.
You and your kids can learn more about the adventures of Chantelle and Nakia at www.thelittletravelers.com. They sell DVDs of their trips to Japan, Bali and the British Isles, and even sell dress-up sets for your children to pretend they’re living in different countries! There’s also a kids’ blog and a mom’s blog, where they share more about their travels and their quest to learn about other cultures through cooking exotic meals and more. I was amazed at the kinds of foods that Chantelle and Nakia were willing to eat in Japan!
You can win a Little Travelers DVD for your family! To enter, go to http://www.thelittletravelers.com/dvd.htm and view the trailers for each show. Come back here and tell me in a comment which one you liked the most. For optional additional entries:
2) Put a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog. Post a comment with your blog’s URL.
3) Tweet this giveaway on Twitter or post it on your blog. Leave a comment with your Twitter name or a link to the post.
4) Subscribe to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS or as a Follower on Blogger. Leave a comment with your subscription method.
The winner will be randomly selected on Friday, February 6, 2009. Thank you, Chantelle and Nakia, for teaching us about the world!
CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to Stephen, who selected The Little Travelers: Japan!
countries, culture, DVDs, giveaway, Japan, languages, The Little Travelers, travel