As an immigrant from India, one of my constant endeavors is to familiarize the kids with their cultural roots. It's not easy when they are being brought up thousands of miles away. Here are some fun ways I try, to bring my kids closer to their cultural values:
1. Theater: on a recent trip to India, I was able to take them to a puppet show organized as part of the Svanubhava 2013. The story-Prahalada was based on Indian mythology and was depicted very well for little ones to follow. While I did have to act as the translator through the act, my kids loved the program and came out with the knowledge of the art of string puppetry.
2. Games: You'll often find games lke Carrom and table tennis in India. Now you can find many of these games sold online or in some of the local Asian grocery stores. This trip I was thriled surprised to find some engaging board games on Cricket- which is by far the favorite sport in India.
3. Books: I grew up in India on a diet of Amar Chitra Katha - Indian mythology, religion and history presented in comic book format. I invariably sift through the titles and pick up some for the kids when we are visiting India. What surprised me was that I was able to find many of these titles online and even in my local library in NJ!Some of the titles that my kids have enjoyed are Tenali Rama, Panchatantra and Akbar-Birbal stories.
4.Festivals: It's impossible to celebrate all the Indian festivals so we have picked a couple which we make a big deal of at home. I have realized that for my kids no festival is complete unless it's celebrated with family or friends. So in our house we celebrate Dassera by keeping a traditional display of dolls and Diwali by lighting traditional lamps and sharing sweets. What thrills me is that the kids look forward to fthe annual celebrations as much as the adults do. If you can also time a visit to India during a festival - that experience takes it to another level for the kids.
As a parent, I have learnt that you can't really force any values or traditions on your children. My only aim is to expose them to some of the things I was exposed to when growing up but do it in a fun way so that there is least resistance from the other side!
What are some ways you expose your kids to their cultural roots and traditions? Do share!