Relating to Other Cultures through Play

Experiencing different cultures has always been a priority for me. When I was a teenager, I hosted in a number of exchange students and even traveled to Japan as an exchange student myself. I was always amazed how even though we spoke different primary languages with both of us knowing very little of the other person’s language, we were able to communicate, and create special bonds and memories. Even though cultures and languages vary around the world, many of the ways that we have fun are the same or very similar. As a teenager, I remember sharing special memories doing the things that we both loved like playing piano, dancing, or playing with toys (for example traditional Japanese and Canadian toys).

This was my experience as a teenager, but as I got older and have been able to observe my nieces, nephews, my own daughter and friends, I have noticed that this is their experience as well.

My husband’s family is French and we are a primarily English speaking family, although, I am teaching my daughter some French. Whenever we get together, the kids love to play with each other. Even if they don’t always understand each other verbally, play helps them to express themselves and they always end up having a great time.

In my experience language and culture has never been a barrier to learning or friendships. Instead, it has been a great opportunity to learn and grow…as both a child and adult!

To end, here is a quote that I love and that I feel shares my experience learning from other cultures perfectly! “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”Plato

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