In the multicultural and diverse world that we live in today, learning about our culture and heritage seems to be more essential than ever. As parents, what can you do to guide your kids to help them learn to appreciate culture and heritage?
1. Start young
“If you don’t start them young, they have no roots.” – Donald Walker
Children begin learning and processing simple information as young as the age of 2. And most children begin learning to read by 6 or 7 years old. As they develop the ability to listen and read, expose them to stories and books that embrace different cultural traditions and diversity in Singapore and around the world.
Some of such children’s books include:
- Where Children Sleep by James Mollison
- If the World Were a Village by David J. Smith
- Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin
- Understanding Singaporeans: Why Do Indians Dot Their Foreheads? and Other Questions by Edmund Wee
- The Amazing Sarong by Quek Hong Shin
- Jayden & Janelle Series by Harsha Dadlani-Dhalani and Seema Dadlani-Ramchand
2. Learn with food
Food has the extraordinary ability to connect people regardless of background or age. Most cultures usually have a specific type of food unique to them. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love food? Bring your little ones on a hawker food cultural tour around Singapore’s diverse cuisines as they learn about the origins and history of each dish.
Culturally Singapore offers cultural experiences like local food tours and cooking workshops for you and your little ones to experience how to cook yummy local food or make traditional Peranakan kuehs!
3. Visit cultural landmarks, festivals and museums
Immerse your children in the culture and history of Singapore’s iconic heritage such as Haw Par Villa, Kampong Glam, Little India, Chinatown and many more. I’d recommend checking out Singapore’s Tourism Boards list of attractions and landmarks to discover and experience Singapore’s diverse heritages, displayed in the wide array of cultures, races and religions.
4. Learn the language and dialect
There’s a saying that you can’t learn a language without learning about its culture. And vice versa.
In Singapore, in addition to the 4 main languages we converse in (English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil), there are also a variety of Chinese dialects such as Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka, and Hainanese.
Based on a 2015 General Household Survey, only 16.1% of Chinese spoke Chinese dialects most frequently at home. The percentage of young people who are able to understand or speak dialects fluently has also drastically decreased. But with the loss of a native dialect, comes the lost of an entire heritage.
To preserve this part of the Chinese Singaporean culture and identity, you can take dialect classes with your kids as a unique family bonding activity!
LearnDialect.sg offers Hokkien, Cantonese and Teochew classes for beginners of all ages. They also produce engaging free online content you can use to enhance your knowledge about Chinese dialects to impart to your kids!
Say What! is a card game designed to help you learn dialects and languages in a fun and engaging way. They have a variety of Chinese dialects, Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin, foreign languages such as Korean and Japanese, as well as Singlish!
5. Get crafty with your little ones!
Children learn better when they’re having fun! Art is so intrinsically intertwined as an integral part of every culture and heritage. Embarking on a craft project together to explore traditional arts, is a great and fun way to engage your kids to learn about the culture, heritage and history behind it.
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At Culturally, we offer customised hands-on cultural experiences for you and your loved ones to enjoy and have fun whilst learning about other cultures!