Celebrating different countries, traditions and cultures across the world during International Day will teach the children in your class to respect and embrace international friends. Activities can be altered depending on the age group, as well as any specific needs of your class. If you have children from other countries in your class, invite them to share and participate in your activities.
According to Ethnologue, an encyclopedia of world languages, there were roughly 7,000 different languages spoken in the world in 2005. Have the children in your class brainstorm all the different languages they can think of, then see how many different languages in which they can say "Hello." For younger classes, write "hello" in a number of different languages on the board and have them guess the language in which each version is written.
Have a number of different activity stations around the room, with each focusing on a different country. Some activities should be educational, and others can include games or food. Give each child a passport, and take an instant photo of each child to put inside. The children can also draw their own pictures in their passports. As they travel around the room to each table, have their passports stamped with that country`s name.
Each country has traditional games that children and adults play. Learn a few age-appropriate games and teach them to your class. If it is warm outside, you may decide to teach them a sports-related activity such as the Argentinian game "Alto Ahi." One person is "it" and stands in the middle. They count to three, and then everyone runs away from him. He throws a ball up in the air and when he catches it he calls out "stop there" and names one of the children. That child, now called the "thrower," must freeze and the person who is "it" throws him the ball. All the other children are now running away from the thrower. As soon as the thrower catches the ball he calls out, "Stop there" and everyone must freeze. He can take three steps towards one person and then must throw the ball and tag him or her. If he does, that person gets one letter from the word "Alto." If he misses then he gets one letter. Once a person gets all four letters they are out and become "it" for the next round. Use a soft ball and never aim at a person's face.
Younger children can explore other cultures by putting together a scrapbook. Give each child an empty notebook, journal or binder filled with blank pages. Put out different resources, such as magazines or books that feature traveling or other countries. Give the children glue and scissors and let them find different pictures that interest them and glue them into their books. When everyone is finished, have a sharing time so the children can talk about their pictures. This gives you a chance to explain about the traditions of other cultures.
- Photo Credit school room image by Alfonso d'Agostino from Fotolia.com