What a Wonderful World

Out of School Activities for Children Ages 5 - 12

Whether through arts, nutrition, sports or reading, there is a world of opportunities for out-of school learning. Photo credit: iStockPhoto.

Young people learn throughout the day--early to late and year round--and there are many opportunities to integrate global knowledge and skills in all areas of study and play. The afterschool field is experienced in developing understanding, tolerance, and appreciation of peoples and cultures among youth, demonstrating how the diversity in our midst can be a powerful point of departure for global learning.

Early Literacy
Since literacy and writing skills are a major concern of all afterschool programs, content could be internationally themed. Activities could encourage children to read stories from different countries by using books and anthologies, as well as video and interactive learning games featuring characters with an international identity (such as Sesame Street’s Global Grover). Children could read, discuss, and creatively respond to these stories. Technology connections could help children create their own storybooks or research and compare common elements in stories from around the world.

Food and Nutrition
Programs could enhance children’s exposure to world cuisines, providing hands-on experiences preparing international foods accompanied by stories about the cultural significance of dishes. Students could practice problem solving and teamwork as well as math and nutrition by examining the ingredients, literacy by creating menus, and science by studying plant and food production. Content on international social and economic issues as global food insecurity and trade could also be included. Culminating activities might include an international bake sale or cookbook of world recipes.

Games and Sports
Children could learn about the geographic, historic, and cultural elements of various sports and games from around the world. Activities could be built around a particular region/country and sport, such as Africa and distance running, or presented as companion projects to worldwide sporting events, such as the Olympics or World Cup. The study of world sports and games is a way to enhance children’s knowledge and appreciation of such concepts as fairness and gamesmanship, strategy and competitiveness, and play and leisure in other cultures.