Activity From Our Culture Unit Study
After looking high and low for toddler, preschool, and lower elementary props and printouts for teaching about cultures to my children this school year, I finally gave up on some pursuits and decided to make several of them myself.
I created a Cultures Around The World Puzzle. This is a visual aid to help the children see people and places of the world. In this puzzle, they can see how differently people might look, and how they are dressed, and see various places on different continents.
If you have a globe handy, set it out for the children to see. Let them turn it and talk to them about a place you know just a little about, such as spices and rice from India, or the great wall of China. Just begin with some simple facts to get this started.
You can make the puzzle we made, or make your own. One way to make your own is to use a piece of construction paper. Cut out various pictures from geography magazines and let the children glue them on the paper. Then cut out puzzle shapes or just cut out strips for the children to put back together.
After you have your puzzle ready to go, take some time to play with the puzzle, noticing the different clothing styles and continents of the people. Point out how the puzzle is a simple picture of the globe they looked at earlier. Discuss these different things with the children.
This activity is appropriate for young children, up through early elementary. Younger children will need assistance, but this is good to do together and model for them how to put the pieces together. This activity could also be used with children with disabilities, and with an ESL program.
If you would like to make this puzzle with your kids, here is the link
Cultures Around The World Puzzle
If you would like to share how you used this puzzle with others, please link your blog back to this article. I am glad for you to benefit from it. Please do not sell it, or distribute it in anyway. It is for your personal use only. Thank you.
Print the puzzle on heavy cardstock, or thin cardboard. Laminate the pieces if you want them to last a long time. Older children may be able to cut out the puzzle, but younger children will need the adult to do this for them. Young children may also do better if you make this puzzle chunky, like putting it on carboard. Another idea is to cut the picture into strips, or triangles and rectangles, for the younger children to reassemble.
I wish I had a puzzle machine, so the cutting process would be a whole lot simpler. But this is only nine pieces, and it is still do-able by hand.
After playing with the puzzle, take some time to review pictures, available on the internet, about people around the world.
(I have made some additional printables for games to go along with this, and hope to have them ready for you to use soon. I realized after printing them myself, there were some changes I could make to improve them, so it will be something I will work on as I find time.)
I have posted some links to pictures from the internet from people around the world below. While viewing different pictures, allow the children to ask questions about what they see. Ask them about colors of clothing, or food, or what the people are doing. Ask about any buildings, environment (dessert vs farmland, farmland vs. fishing in oceans or lakes, etc.), or landmarks they see. These details will help the children gain more information about how the people in the pictures might live.
There are thousands of pictures available. I selected a few that drew my interest, however feel free to be adventurous and look further than what I have shared here. I really like the fact these pictures have a google map of the earth and you can really get a sense of location of where people live in this activity. You could use this activity more independently with older children and highschool students to enhance geography
and social studies. The main website is http://www.panoramio.com/map/
Here are some specific pictures I found interesting. You can click on the picture after it comes up for a closer, enlarged view. You can also click on the google earth map after the picture comes up, and see where in the world this is located, and by zooming out just a little you can see the topography of the land, mountains, rivers, ocean, and more. SOOOOOO COOOOOOL !!!!
PICTURES from Panoramio:
people riding camels in Moraco
houses on a street in Italy
houses in Greenland
kitaa Greenland a school building and children are playing outside.
houses in Indonesia
a street in China, look at all the bicycles and look at how the roofs look different than in the US. Explain how in China many adults ride bicyles to work and to the store/market. Many of the grocery stores, as in several countries, are outside open markets.
Street in China
China, rice paddies on the sides of mountains. Ask the children if this would be hard work to plant and harvest the rice
housing and rice paddies in China
Mongolia, ask the children how they might live differently, if they lived where this photo was taken.
Crowded Narrow Street near a market in India
Indian Village You can see someone carrying a heavy load on their back and children playing near some goats.
Nepal Public Bath
Nepal Public Street people selling lots of things
children in bangledesh
Street in Israel
After looking over the pictures, allow the children to play with the puzzle again, and listen for new observations they make about how the people might live. You should see your younger children begin to understand that people all over the world have similarities and differences from the culture or ethnic background of your children. You should also see improvement in their puzzle skills as they practice putting the matching pieces together. You should see improvement in your older children’s comprehension of specific peoples from various places.
We also created a matching envelope to store our puzzle pieces in. The envelope is 5″ x 8″ regular card size. I used a leftover envelope from a box of Christmas cards. This is very handy if you plan to lapbook or notebook your cultural unit study. If you don’t want an envelope, a ziploc bag, pencil case, or recycled container will work fine.
My daughter, who is three, enjoyed putting the puzzle pieces into the envelope as much as playing with the puzzle. Good for eye hand coordination practice too.
Other ways to use this puzzle with different age students:
*Build a multicultural mobile with it.
Have the children color the back side of each puzzle piece with a different color.
Punch a hole in one end of each puzzle piece. Thread string or yarn through the
hole and tie the other end to holes in a reused lid or onto a plastic hanger or a
stick. You will need nine pieces of string of different lengths for the pieces and
one additional one for the top of the mobile. Hang it up for the children to enjoy.
*Glue the pieces onto construction paper, poster board, or a file folder to display the
*Have the younger children count the pieces, one through nine, as they help
put the puzzle together.
*Have the younger children identify the colors on the puzzle.
*Have the older children identify what continent or country the people represent as you
put the puzzle together.
*Put velcro tabs on the back of the pieces and let the chirdren put them onto a felt
board. This is a very good activity to practice dexterity and coordination for children
who need more practice.
We used this activity as part of our Culture Unit Study. It would also go well with other geography studies, history studies, ethnicity and multicultural studies as well. In upcoming months we plan to do the geography study Expedition Earth from Confessions of a Homeschooler, and World Cultures from Hands Of A Child and we will pull out this activity again for those.
If you would like to read more about our Culture Unit Study we have been working on through out this school year, please see these posts (and there is more posts to come as I go back through our pictures and find time to get them written, so che
International Food and Cultural Opportunities
Geography and Food Diversity
This post will be linked up with
ABC and 123