With the number of languages being spoken at home exceeding 400, it’s no surprise that Australia is a country thriving with cultural diversity. Children are naturally curious and begin to notice different races, ethnicities, and languages from as young as six months of age. With so many cultures making up our beautiful country, where do you even start in terms of introducing your children to them?
Cultural diversity is defined as people who identify with particular groups based on their place of birth, ethnicity, beliefs, or country of origin. Introducing kids to different countries and cultures from a young age and explaining the way things work in different parts of the world can help them better understand and celebrate different cultures and people, and any similarities that may be shared. Exposing your kids to different cultures may sound tricky, but it can be worked into your daily routine by incorporating simple and fun activities that you can do together.
Incorporating Cultural Diversity
• Reading stories together – Reading together with your children has a huge range of benefits and helps with the development of literacy and language skills. Pick a book with a topic about a culture different to your own.
• World map – If you don’t already have a map of the world, now’s the time to buy one and hang it on the wall! Use it to explore the countries together with your child. Explain to them what the climate is like there, what people eat there, and what animals live there – your little ones will have many questions and this map will help put the world and its cultures into perspective.
• Cook authentic recipes – Teriyaki chicken, beef tacos and butter chicken curry are just a few authentic recipes that are both easy to prepare and loved by kids. As a plus for you, you can find easy-to-prepare simmer sauces and seasonings for many of these recipes in most supermarkets.
• Learn cultural etiquettes – This one is more suitable for older children. Cultural etiquettes are interesting to learn even if you don’t plan to travel to the country in question, and it may take you by surprise how different table manners or gestures can be in other cultures.
• Money – If you’ve done some travelling in the past yourself and collected foreign money over the years, invite your kids to count or play with it. Don’t have any foreign money? Play-money works, too.
• Observe holidays – Many countries and cultures observe different holidays than Australia. Why not do a little bit of research and discover the holidays celebrated in other countries?
• Learn the language – Of course, you don’t have to learn the entire language, but learning simple phrases like “I love you” in another language can be educational and fun to learn.
Discovering Culture in Townsville
Museum of Tropical Queensland
One fantastic way to introduce older children to other cultures is to bring them to the museum. The Museum of Tropical Queensland showcases a State Cultures and Histories collection which is comprised of objects which are significant to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including masks, jewellery, musical instruments, and more. As you pass by the exhibits, take some time to stop and read the stories attached to these historic items.
Townsville Cultural Festival
Hosted by the Townsville Intercultural Centre, this event takes place in year in August at James Cook University, featuring rides, on-stage entertainment, traditional food stalls, and much more for the whole family to enjoy.
The event is child-friendly and an ideal way to discover the cultures of the world in a fun way, with family entertainment being provided all day long.
Townsville’s Street Art Walking Trail
One fantastic way to introduce your kids to culture is taking them for a stroll around the city to marvel at the beautiful artworks that paint the walls all around. Many of these works were completed by artists from all over Australia and even the world. Pieces such as Girroogul and the Soap Tree and Wulgurukaba and Bindal can be found in Townsville’s CBD, and tell a story as well as taking your breath away.
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery
If your family enjoys art, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery makes a fantastic outing. The City of Townsville Art Collection showcases a range of views, narratives, and ideas from national and international artists. The multicultural collection features work from Australian Indigenous, European, Melanesian and other worldwide cultures. One of the main aims of this collection is to educate, enrich, and
Mungalla Aboriginal Tours
Learn about the rich Nywaigi Aboriginal culture at Mungalla station. This is an educational and informative day out, though it would be more suitable for families with older children. Examine artefacts, try your hand at throwing a boomerang, and visit the homestead. Hear stories from the traditional owners of the land and enjoy a tour of the region and its rich historical and cultural history.
Townsville has a number of multicultural organisations and clubs to bring people together and celebrate their culture.
Townsville also has a huge range of restaurants offering cuisines from all around the world. Why not step out of your comfort zone and try something new? Some options around Townsville include Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Thai, Italian, French, Pakistani, Greek, and more. If your kids are picky or reluctant to try something new, start off with dishes that are kid-friendly such as ramen, spring rolls, quesadillas, or spaghetti, to name a few. You may be delighted to discover something new that your child loves.
Next time you’re not sure what to cook, read, or where to take the family this weekend – consider exploring a different culture and opening the minds of your kids to the many wonderful and diverse communities of the world!