Helping Mission Friends Experience the Culture of the Missions Areas
Culture is the food, language, clothing, tools, music, art, customs, characteristics, symbols, and beliefs of a specific location or area. Missionaries immerse themselves in the culture of the area where they live and work. How can preschoolers experience the culture of the missions areas they are learning about?
Mission Friends Leader provides different activity areas and activities. These activities relate to the missionary and/or the culture of the missions area. How can you enhance these cultural experiences?
Preschoolers can be notoriously finicky eaters. Choose simple recipes from the culture that preschoolers might be willing to try. Cultural finger foods for tasting might include fruits, vegetables, and snack foods. Search online for preschooler-friendly recipes from the missions area. Sometimes tasting activities are included in a session activity or on the Extra Activities page.
Preschoolers can repeat simple words and phrases from a language spoken in the missions area. Words for family (mother, father, sister, brother), animals (cat, dog, cow, sheep), and missions (God, Jesus, Bible) are great words to teach to preschoolers. If there are no provided activities related to language, search websites that translate simple words into other languages—some even provide audios of correct pronunciations.
Show preschoolers pictures of people dressed in the traditional clothing of the missions area. Provide ways for preschoolers to dress in simplified versions of this clothing (for example, wrapping cloth around their heads or wearing shawls).
Some people in missions areas use different tools for everyday tasks than what most preschoolers see in their daily lives. Show preschoolers pictures of people grinding grain, pounding flour, and so on. Encourage them to copy these motions. Try performing the same tasks using materials found at church or home.
Show videos with people from the missions area singing, playing instruments, and dancing to worship and traditional music. Encourage preschoolers to sing along, play an instrument, or move to the music.
The missions area may have popular art forms such as painting murals, weaving baskets, or making jewelry. The Art activities in Mission Friends Leader often provides simplified versions of these cultural art forms.
Each culture has customs for home life, eating, child care, and education. Preschool activities can help them experience these customs. Songs and games popular in the missions area may be included in Mission Friends Leader.
Characteristics and Symbols
Preschoolers can experience the culture through pictures of the location, animals, plants, and flowers of the missions area. Use these pictures as backdrops for block building or as inspiration for pretend games.
Without going into complicated facts about world religions that are too abstract for preschoolers, focus on missionaries sharing the love of Jesus with the people of the missions area.
Looking and sharing through the eyes of a child will make the culture of the missions areas come alive for preschoolers!
Written by Suzanne Krein