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Guides for Grownups​

Exploring Cultural Holiday Traditions through Play

12 December 2023

3 min.

The festive atmosphere of Christmas brings natural excitement and anticipation, especially among children. They look forward to annual traditions like decorating the Christmas tree and adorning the house with lights.

However, not every family celebrates in the same way, and this difference can spark curiosity in children when they notice their friends or classmates have unique holiday practices. Understanding diverse cultures and traditions is a vital part of a child’s growth and education.


Understanding diverse cultures and traditions is a vital part of a child’s growth and education. The holiday season offers a perfect opportunity to teach them about the many and varied global celebrations, helping them to understand and appreciate the different ways their friends and classmates might celebrate. Through play-based activities and thoughtful discussion, we can guide the younger generation in understanding and appreciating the diversity that makes our world so vibrant. Continue reading to discover how to utilise the power of play in educating children about the world’s rich cultural celebrations.

Role-Play and Storytelling

Role-playing can be a powerful method to help children grasp the nuances of different cultures. Utilising dolls and figurines, parents and educators can craft narratives that showcase how various communities around the world celebrate their unique holidays.

Children can engage with the lighting of the menorah during Hanukkah or learn about the Lunar New Year through these interactive sessions, gaining knowledge through experience.

Dolls and role-play toys also become tools for storytelling, a method that naturally resonates with children. By creating stories that include celebrations from different cultures, storytelling through role-play helps to broaden children’s horizons.

This method encourages them to ask questions, share their thoughts, and deepen their understanding of the world’s diverse holiday traditions.

Puzzles and Interactive Learning

Engaging children with interactive games and puzzles that highlight world geography and cultural celebrations can stimulate their curiosity and enhance their knowledge.

A jigsaw puzzle that features different corners of the globe and those unique world characteristics not only serves as an educational tool but also provides a hands-on learning experience that is both fun and informative.

Creative Arts and Crafts

Crafting is an excellent activity to engage children’s creativity while educating them about different holidays. Providing materials and guidance for them to create their own Kwanzaa candles or design Bunter Teller paper plates, for example, allows them to actively participate in the learning process, reinforcing their understanding of these cultural practices.

Building a Foundation of Respect and Curiosity

Incorporating these educational activities into playtime lays the groundwork for a more inclusive and knowledgeable generation. Encouraging a sense of respect and curiosity about the world’s diverse cultures and traditions contributes to a richer, more compassionate society. It also equips children to respectfully navigate the diverse world of their friends’ and classmates’ traditions and cultural practices.

To Summarise…

The holiday season is ripe with opportunities for learning and cultural exchange. Play becomes an important tool to guide children in exploring and understanding the myriad of ways people around the world celebrate their heritage and beliefs. Fostering a global awareness that transcends the festive season nurtures open-minded, thoughtful individuals ready to embrace the world in all its diversity.