Easy Kids Activity: Understanding Heritage
Explaining something as abstract as heritage to a young child can be a challenge. They may have some sense of their own culture, but often times they are balancing more than one. By helping your child understand and respect similarities and differences you will also help your child to understand who he is in the context of your race, ethnic group, culture, religion, language and familial history. In so doing, you will provide your child with personally meaningful information and also introduce concepts from anthropology, history, religion, and geography.
Here’s a very simple and quick activity designed to help you initiate this conversation with your children (that also works with their attention spans!):
- Photos of various items/traditions that represent Assyrian heritage (see our photos below for ideas)
- Photos of various items/traditions
- Optional (see #5 below): scissors, glue, poster board
- Shuffle photos of Assyrian and non-Assyrian heritage. Place them into a face-down pile.
- Before starting, ask the children to define the world culture. They may have some ideas. Here is the simplest definition for a child: Culture is the way people live. Observable aspects of culture include language, clothing, celebrations, art, and food.
- Have children alternate picking up a photo from the pile. They should be asked to identify what’s pictured in the photo, and then decide if it’s an example of Assyrian heritage. The photos should then be divided into two piles (Assyrian and non-Assyrian heritage). We ran this activity in a large group setting. Each child was given a photo and told to keep it face-down until it was their turn. When prompted, they showed their image to the group and identified the object—often prompting laughter (i.e. a photo of sushi got the loudest laughs)—and together the group decided whether it was representative of Assyrian heritage. If the answer was yes, the child then added the photo to our board.
- Once you’ve identified all the examples of Assyrian heritage, allow the activity to lead into a discussion. Some sample questions: Which of these items are things we do/use everyday? Which of these traditions are your favorite?
- Optional: Encourage children to create a collage using the photos.
- Looking to go paperless or save ink? Consider using an iPad to display the photos. Create a photo album with the images (be sure they’re mixed). In this case, consider making a chart where children are encouraged to write down items that are part of Assyrian heritage. (In a large group setting, try a PowerPoint presentation).
- Another alternative is to create and print a worksheet with these photos and ask children to circle those that can be categorized as Assyrian heritage.