Kids are naturally curious about their surroundings – they would ask about the different things, places and people that they see, and different sounds and languages that they hear. The subject of diversity can in fact spark amazing conversations with our kids.
Well, what better way to start introducing the topic of diversity to children than with the beautiful verse no. 13 in Surah Al-Hujuraat, where Allah says:
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Al-Hujuraat:13)
It’s important to let our children know that Allah has made the world a very special place because of people’s differences; we look different from one another, we wear different clothes, we live in different kinds of houses – it makes the world an interesting place to live in! I like to use easy analogies, like their favorite food for instance. What makes the food taste so good is the different ingredients we put together, right? The same thing goes with people – the human race is beautiful because of our differences! 🙂
There are many engaging ways to let kids explore the subject of diversity, here are some of them:
- It can start with something as simple as putting up a world map or placing a globe at home. Talk about the different places/countries on the map, such as the climate, landmarks and landscape. My pre-schooler has been obsessed with maps since he was 4, and everytime he hears something about a certain country, he would check his little globe to find out where it’s physically located (and that’s usually the beginning of a loooong conversation about that particular country).
- Show pictures of different classrooms around the world. Let them see how kids from other parts of the world sit and learn in the classroom (honestly, I think even we grown ups would find this eye-opening). It would most likely invite questions like “Why don’t they sit on chairs?” and so on, so be prepared for an exciting Q&A session with your kids!
- Attend cultural events or local exhibitions with your kids when possible. This is a great way to expose kids to different cultures without going abroad.
- Okay this is one cool idea that I still have yet to try but really worth sharing: encourage them to connect with their peers through international pen-pal or e-pal programs. Many programs would require the kids to register through their parents so it’s a pretty safe medium to communicate in.
Make our kids understand that it doesn’t matter where we come from or what we look like, and therefore they should respect these differences and always be nice to their friends, classmates, neighbors and others around them. Remind them that Allah loves people who are kind to each other :).