American Cultures for Children

Tim discovered a series created in the 1980s, hosted by Phylicia Rashad on different cultures in America.  It’s aimed at elementary school children, and it explores a myriad of cultural backgrounds within America, from Arab-American to African-American to Irish-American to Japanese-American.  She simply states in each one that all of us belong to at least one culture, and many of us belong to more than one.  She encourages children to ask their parents and grandparents about their cultures, the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the music they listen to, and the holidays they celebrate.

 

The formats vary, but they all show traditional foods and costumes, give a basic history of the immigration from that country to America (i.e., the potato famine in Ireland), demonstrate a basic craft reflecting traditional arts, and have the children sing a song with a traditional singing group. Each one teaches children a few words from the original language, spoken by children from a variety of backgrounds.  Our kids are mesmerized by it, and afterwards request to try the foods and do the crafts shown.

Unfortunately, these were released on VHS and have not been rereleased in DVD format as far as we can find.  But we often see them on Amazon or similar sites for very reasonable prices.  We’ve found it to be an excellent resource for teaching our kids about other cultures, as well as beginning to give them an awareness that different cultures have historically experienced life in America in vastly different ways.

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