Sharing Culture with Your Host Siblings
One of the main reasons that parents want to host a foreign au pair is so that they can expose their children to a new culture. I believe that one of the best ways to do this is to incorporate culture into English lessons. You can do this on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.
Creating culture classes for your siblings can be fun and simple. When thinking of a new culture activity to share with your host child, try to remember some of the things you enjoyed doing as a child.
For me, I always loved when my mom would bake chocolate chip cookies. She would teach me which ingredients we needed, how to mix them together, and how to bake them. I feel that chocolate chip cookies are a staple in an American household. This is an activity that I have done many times with my students. Many of them have never made cookies so this is very special for them. With an activity like this you can teach the children the words for each ingredient such as flour, sugar, chocolate, etc. Then you can have them help you to measure all of the ingredients and put them in a bowl. Together you can mix up the batter and put the cookies into the oven.
Another activity that can be great to do with children is make play dough with them. When I was a child I loved making different things with playdough. I never knew how easy it is to make until I became a teacher. All you need for this activity is flour, water, salt, and oil. If you would like to make your playdough into different color then you can add food coloring to the dough. This is a project that is fun and exciting for children. One of the best parts is that it is non-toxic so you can do this activity with children of any age!
Holidays are also a great time to incorporate culture into your lessons. For example, during Easter you can dye Easter eggs and create and Easter egg hunt for your host siblings. During Halloween you can make Jack-o-lanterns or create your own Halloween masks. During Christmas you can make cookies for Santa, learn Christmas songs, or make Christmas dinner together.
These are just a few ways that you can add some fun and excitement into your language learning! Think of some of the traditions that you have in your family and pass them on to your host children!