10 Things to Do Now!

  1. Keep the world at your fingertips. Purchase an up-to-date globe and keep it handy for easy reference and/or cover a wall near the kitchen table or other central location with an oversized, laminated world map. 
  2. Enrich your playlists and music collection. As kids become accustomed to so much musical diversity they adjust naturally to the various sounds, making the genres feel less ‘foreign,’ and creating a bridge with new friends from all over the planet. 
  3. Make Birthday Parties Global: When you’re ready to move beyond the Princess, Power Ranger or Pony party themes, consider choices derived from global celebrations: Bastille Day, Cinco de Mayo, Earth Day, Chinese New Year, the World Cup, Olympics…. 
  4. Spice-Up Thanksgiving and your take-out choices: Look to your cultural heritage (or a guest’s) or a favorite ethnic food style. Start slowly by using a new spice or herb, or add a new side dish. And don’t forget variations on leftovers: turkey enchiladas, green bean and rice pilaf, dumplings and pieroski’s make the next day’s meal almost as exciting as traditional Thanksgiving. When deciding on take-out or choosing a restaurant for a family dinner, try cuisine from a culture that is less familiar to you. 
  5. Find Beautiful Books: Vibrant coffee table and kids’ picture books can bring diverse circumstances, people and emotions to life, for all ages. 
  6. Decorate the Holidays in a New Way: Decorations from Latin American, Russian, Asian, and many other cultures are available in all kinds of mainstream stores. Kids might enjoy selecting an ornament from a favorite country, or can pick an ornament they find pretty, and then find out about where it came from and what it represents. 
  7. Get passports. Even if you have no intention or budget for international travel, possessing your own passports will put your family in the mindset of the possible, as a very physical reminder of your world citizenship. 
  8. Use Soccer to Go Global. Pick an international team to follow based on your heritage, your friend’s, your favorite type of food, the language you want to learn to speak, your favorite jersey, or hundreds of other reasons – get creative! The FIFA website includes an inter-active world map to help you learn about all the teams and member countries. 
  9. See the World Through Movies: View and compare the stories of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Superman, Jungle Book and many more through movie versions from other countries and eras. Also included: Homa Tavangar’s “Essential 7 Foreign Family Movies” as well as hundreds of other foreign film recommendations for all ages. 
  10. Expose Children to Foreign Language(s): There are lots of ways (covered in the book) to do this, but start by making the effort to learn a few words in a foreign language with your kids – even if it’s learning how to say something mundane or silly like “toilet” in five languages! See if there are root similarities or other ways that languages relate.