The lesson that accompanied Travis’s Mango Sticky Rice from Raddish Kids was all about etiquette while traveling abroad – big stuff for a small four-year-old! I made it accessible with more of a role-play game and I liked giving him this intro to different customs.
First, I walked up to Travis and gave him a fist bump. Well, this got a look of surprise, not normally how mommy greets him!
Do something similar to your child, whether a wave, a hug, a high five, or anything out of the norm. I explained that people around the world greet each other differently, and we were headed on a “trip” to find out more!
We checked out a good infographic with different greetings, and cut up cards with each country’s name on it.
I asked him which one he liked best (everything from touching an elder’s feet in India to shaking fists in Niger), and he chose the Maori hongi greeting. To New Zealand we go!
That meant racing to his room to spot New Zealand on the map. “We have to fly far!” he exclaimed. For role-play fun, pack a bag. Travis decided he needed a comic book and a bathing suit.
Off to the plane! The country name card became our plane ticket, which he loved hole punching.
We mimed getting into our seats and flying.
I could get used to this travel without the hassle! In no time we were in “New Zealand”, and now we could do the hongi.
We also tested out a high five, a traditional Thai wai, and more, each time first pinpointing the country on his map, and then boarding our airplane.
There’s a lot in this lesson that we didn’t do. For extension with older children, ask lots of questions about what it will be like upon reaching their destination. Reflect on what it means to be “thoughtful” in another country. Have your child pick a country and learn the traditional greeting, then design a way to teach their peers about it, whether through a travel brochure, song, dramatization, or other medium. You could even play World Greeting Charades!