The arts are essential to a well-rounded education. They help people to understand and appreciate different cultures, develop creative problem-solving skills, and encourage self-expression. And yet, in many households, the arts often take a backseat to more “practical” pursuits like math and science. If you’re looking for ways to promote culture and the arts in your own home, here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Make a trip to the library or local museum.
Most public libraries offer free or discounted tickets to local museums and cultural events. This is a great way to expose your family to new and different things without spending a lot of money. Libraries also have a wealth of resources that can be used to learn about other cultures and histories.
Spend some time exploring these with your family on a regular basis. For example, you could plan a weekly trip to the library and spend an hour or two exploring different topics. You can learn more about other cultures, customs, and traditions through these.
In addition, many libraries have special events, like story time or art classes, which are perfect for introducing your family to the arts. They can also provide an excellent opportunity to meet other families who share similar interests.
2. Check out international films and TV shows.
Technology has made it easier than ever to access media from all over the world. Use this to your advantage by exposing yourself and your family to new cultures through film and television. You might be surprised at how much you have in common with people from other cultures once you start seeing the world through their eyes.
For instance, if you have a Netflix account, you can search for films from different parts of the world and watch them together. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, why not host a “dinner and a movie” night where your family watches an international feature film followed by a discussion about its cultural relevance?
Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of the wealth of educational programming available on public television channels. Programs like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood are great for introducing your kids to different cultures in an age-appropriate way.
3. Encourage your children to express themselves.
Even if they’re not interested in pursuing the arts professionally, encouraging your children to express themselves creatively can still be beneficial. It’s a great way for them to explore their identity, release emotions, and build self-confidence. And who knows? They might just develop a lifelong passion in the process!
For starters, you can enroll your kids in Kindermusik classes which focus on helping children explore music and movement. Or, if your child is more interested in visual arts, consider signing them up for an art class or providing them with supplies to experiment with at home.
Consider creating a dedicated art or craft corner in your house if you have the means. Display artwork from different cultures and invite your family to create their own pieces. Hang up colorful fabrics and paintings, as well as traditional artifacts. This will help your family appreciate the rich diversity of the world around them and remind them that art can be enjoyed in many different forms.
4. Plan a cultural outing to a place of interest.
There’s no need to travel far and wide to experience new cultures—chances are there are plenty of cultural gems right in your backyard. Take some time to research what’s available in your area and plan an outing that everyone will enjoy. You might even want to make it an annual tradition!
For example, if you live in a large city, you could visit a fair dedicated to the country’s history or culture. Or maybe there’s an ethnic district nearby where you can explore unique shops and restaurants that represent different cultures.
No matter what kind of outing you plan, try to make it interactive, so your family can really dive into the culture. This can mean anything from attending a traditional dance performance to learning a few words and phrases in another language.
5. Cook dishes from different cultures together.
What better way to learn about another culture than by taste-testing its cuisine? Cooking together is also a great opportunity for quality family time and bonding. Not to mention, it’s usually pretty delicious!
Start by researching some recipes from different cultures. Then, gather the ingredients and invite your family to join in the fun of preparing the dish. Ask questions about where the food originates from and what makes it unique.
If you’d rather leave the cooking up to someone else, why not try exploring an ethnic grocery store? It is a great chance for family members to learn about different ingredients and products, and you can also purchase an array of items from around the world.
There are endless ways to promote culture and the arts in your household—it just takes a little creativity! By making an effort to expose yourself and your family to new things on a regular basis, you’ll open up a whole world of possibilities right at home. Who knows? You might even discover some hidden talents along the way!