Exploring World Cultures

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My daughters are fascinated by the differences between their friends' families and our own. Anna, for instance, recently wondered aloud why one girl in her class had her ears pierced at birth while she had to wait until she was 11.

The answer was simple: People come from different cultures and have different traditions, I told her. Imagine if we all ate the same food, wore the same clothes and had our ears pierced at the same time--how boring would that be! Needless to say, Anna did not necessarily find this explanation satisfactory.

It's often difficult to explain cultural differences and how they affect us. Simply put, culture is defined as the personality of a people as it reflects on the everyday aspects of their lives: language, games, arts, food, festivals, clothing and religion.

To help your kids better understand the idea of culture (and probe a little into their own), here are a few activities that explore the lives and lifestyles of different cultures from around the world. Pick a destination, pack a few bags of imagination and you're on your way.


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