Why is it so important for our children to learn about world cultures?
When it comes to the reasons why a child should learn about people who live differently or people in other parts of the world, there are two things to consider. First, there is the emotional aspect of learning world cultures. We’re all people living together on this one planet and part of being a good world neighbor is seeing, understanding, appreciating, and celebrating differences.
More practically, however, is the fact that our kids are going to have to know how to navigate the world and the people in it. We no longer live in a world where we can expect to live in the same city all of our lives, interacting only with other people from that city. Our children were born into a truly global village, and they’re going to need to have a basic understanding of different cultures to really succeed, regardless of their chosen profession.
This post contains affiliate links.
As you ease your child into watching television, some of the shows below will give them a gentle introduction into life in other parts of the world. As your child ages and matures, the amount and type of information they can handle changes, so I’ve included some shows for older kids and adults too.
All of the shows below are included with your Amazon Prime membership (get your free trial here) as of the writing of this post. If you don’t see the show, it’s possible that Amazon has removed the video (you can let me know in comments!)
Families of the World
Families of the World is a collection of videos, each half an hour, that follows two children and their families through their daily lives. One child featured lives in the city and the other in a rural area. Families of the World is a really fantastic show for ages 5-10, though my older children enjoy watching the show with my younger ones. There are 27 episodes covering countries on every continent except Antarctica. Each episode comes with a free teacher’s guide that you can download here. This is one you need to check on frequently, generally only one season is included with Prime Video but the free season changes every few months.
Grannies on Safari
Imagine your grandmother with her best friend. Now imagine them going on a vacation around the world to celebrate retirement while learning about the peoples of the world, fully immersing themselves in the art, food, and culture of the region. That’s what you get with this charming PBS series. Long-time best friends Pat Johnson and Regina Fraser traveled the world for 3 seasons, bringing attention to the artists and change makers in forgotten parts of the world. Grannies on Safari is most appropriate for ages 10+, but you’ll probably enjoy it more than your kids will.
Discover the World
“A compelling series featuring different countries and regions around the world. Take a close look at the diverse cultures, people, geography and wildlife of a particular region. The history of each land is explored, along with visual tours of both the natural and man-made wonders of each region, bringing to life the mysteries of the lands and people who make up our world.” (description from Amazon). There are 37 episodes on Prime video. This is a great show for ages 10+.
Wide World of Kids
Wide World of Kids is a fun show hosted by kids that showcases children around the world who are doing amazing things. This show will introduce your kids to a boy who flew a solo flight to Russia, a rugby team in France, and a wheelchair-only sports camp in England. There are two seasons available on Amazon, each with 12 episodes. This show is great for kids ages 5+ but really seems to shine with middle schoolers.
Children of the World
Children of the World shows viewers how children around the world live, often in very challenging atmospheres. Focusing on family and community bonds, this series shows us that kids are kids, no matter where you go.
*note: this series has been criticized for the use of adult voice-over actors who often sound very “babyish” and slightly condescending. I’m not justifying it, just calling it out so you can decide.
Born to Explore
In this series host Richard Weise takes us to 26 different locations to learn about the land, the country, and the people who call it home. Born to Explore is appropriate for all ages but may be of more interest to older students and adults. You can learn more about this series on their website.