Teaching an around the world preschool theme is a fun and effective way to teach preschoolers about different cultures and countries. Download these free around the world lesson plans and start teaching today!
Around the World Lesson Plan Activities
FAQ About Teaching an Around the World Preschool Theme
A child is never too young to learn about cultures and countries. Luckily, there are many activities to teach your preschooler an around the world preschool theme.
Try cooking recipes from around the world and encourage your preschooler to explore other countries through the arts. Be sure to include many books (there’s a list recommended in this post). Finally, try teaching your child a foreign language and celebrate international holidays.
Even children as young as toddlers can learn about the world, different countries, and other cultures different from their own. Young children will benefit from exploring cultures through art, food, and holiday celebrations. Toddlers can also learn new words specific to a different country, like geezer, chips, football, or bin.
Culture is a pattern of behavior shared by a group of people in society. Culture is often shaped by environment, religious beliefs, language, food, music, and art. For example, a person who lives in a cold, mountainous region of the world will have a different culture from someone who lives in an arid desert.
But culture can also change over time and becomes influenced by groups of people coming together. Think of this very simple example: oftentimes, when two families join together through marriage, holidays become fused with traditions that come from both sides of the family. (By the way, sharing traditions is a great way for preschoolers to learn about different cultures and experiences that are meaningful to their peers.)
Important Info about these Around the World Lesson Plans
These around the world lesson plans for preschoolers are just one theme in a set of over 40 that will become a part of my free Learn At Home Preschool Lesson Plans.
The Learn at Home Preschool Lesson Plans are a set of free lesson plans you can use to teach your preschooler at home.
Each set of lesson plans is centered around a weekly theme and includes a minimum of 16 activities that can be done throughout the week. They are designed to be done at home with parents, but many preschool teachers are using these lesson plans, too!
Just glance over the lessons each day, gather the very few materials needed, and you’re ready to go!
All the preschool learning activities are quick and easy to set up, requiring very little (if any at all) prep and only require the most basic of household materials. This makes them especially easy for parents to implement…and this makes preschool teachers happy, too!
These activities also work wonderfully in the classroom, and if you’re a preschool teacher who is remotely teaching you can send these lesson plans to your student’s parents.
Activities in Around the World Lesson Plans for Preschoolers
These free preschool lesson plans feature hands-on learning activities in all the most important content areas in preschool. They include literacy activities, math and science activities, sensory and art, safe online activities, as well as other playful learning activities. Read all about them below.
Literacy Activities for an Around the World Theme
Packing Visual List – Practice “packing” a suitcase for a trip. What will you need to bring? Help your preschooler draw and write the sounds they hear for the items they’ll bring. Encourage them to think outside the box. Ask questions to help your preschooler determine what things they will need. Do they want to go somewhere cold or hot? How long will they be staying? What kinds of clothing will they need to bring for their location? Will they be doing anything or going anywhere special while there? How about a toothbrush or bedtime stories?
Sun Name Craft – Although we live in all corners of the world and have different time zones, we all share the same star: the sun. (Read about how the sun influences culture in this article). Invite your preschooler to make the sun by cutting a circle out of yellow paper or using a paper plate. Cut out yellow strips of paper for the sun rays and encourage your preschooler to write a letter from their name on the end of each ray. Glue the rays onto the yellow circle to create a bright sun.
While creating this literacy craft, talk to your preschooler about different names they know. What are their friends’ names and family members’ names? Talk to your preschooler about how names are special and how they can reflect different cultures and traditions.
Teach your child about different cultures with picture books!
One of the best ways to teach young children about different countries and cultures is by using high quality picture books. Look for children’s books with beautiful illustrations to help bring out the details of the text.
Math and Science Activities for an Around the World Theme
Paper Cup Pyramids – Using small or large plastic cups, invite your child to build a pyramid tower. Show your preschooler the pyramids of Egypt and model stacking the cups on top of each other to make the large pyramid shape. Once done, count together all the cups that you use!
Or for an added challenge, have your preschooler first count out 100 plastic cups. (Do this by counting sets of ten cups.) Then challenge your preschooler to build a pyramid that uses all 100 cups. This is the perfect challenge for preschoolers because they will begin building and run out of cups, or have left over cups, and then they have to figure out how to modify their design to use all 100 cups.
If you are a kindergarten teacher, this is an amazing STEM activity for the 100th day of school.
Beaded Necklace – Cut a piece of string about two feet long and grab some beads of any shape. Invite your preschooler to string beads on their own unique necklace to represent their culture. You can try something like this: red beads represent holiday traditions, blue beads represent favorite family foods, yellow beads represent religious traditions, and so on.
This activity can be done on a larger scale with wooden lacing beads and used as an activity during circle time. Each day, add a few beads until you have created a class necklace. Take it one step further and invite your helper of the day be the one to add that day’s bead and wear the necklace that day.
Longest Wall STEM Challenge – Grab some blocks and challenge your preschooler to build the longest wall possible. Show some images of long structures like the Great Wall of China. This activity is a surprising challenge because preschoolers have a tendency to want to build up, not sideways. Building the longest wall also requires preschoolers to navigate their creation around obstacles in the way, like chairs and tables. Make this activity even more challenging by adding more parameters, like having to make the wall three blocks high–no more and no less.
Don’t forget picture books that are all about maps!
Maps are one more thing to add to your around the world lesson plans. You’re not limited to traditional maps, either. Try some of these picture books, board games, and puzzles that all feature maps and map skills.
Playful Learning Activities for an Around the World Theme
Skin-Toned Playdough – Mix white playdough with brown and even a little bit of yellow. Do this several times and notice the difference in colors. Share with your preschooler that everyone around the world has different skin colors and that is what makes us special and unique.
Cultural Foods – Go to an ethnic market or supermarket and try new foods from various countries. Many ethnic markets will sell prepared or packaged foods, which means that enjoying a meal from another country with your preschooler can be quick and easy. If possible, take your preschooler to the ethnic market and invite him or her to choose a handful of items to try. You might be surprised at what your preschooler ends up liking. Shrimp-flavored chips? Seaweed-flavored candies? Thick, tangy udon noodles?
Building with Blocks – Look up buildings on the internet and share the images with your preschooler. Challenge your preschooler to try to build them with blocks. Get creative and build “water” around the base or add people to their block cities. Here are some famous buildings to consider: the Empire State Building, the Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Coliseum, or the White House.
Social-Emotional Activities for an Around the World Theme
All Are Welcome – Go to YouTube and listen to the book All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold. Discuss the stunning illustrations and focus on the flags on the lunchroom page. Discuss the significance of the flags and the countries they represent. Encourage your preschooler to think of ways to make everyone always feel welcome, whether they are at school, a playdate, at a restaurant, etc.
Around the World Market – Host your own Around the World Market! Invite your preschooler to use food containers to sell cultural foods. Most grocery stores have an ethnic aisle where you can purchase food items from various countries around the world. Go shopping together and pick out items that your preschooler is interested in trying. Then, use those food containers to set up a market for dramatic play. If you have a toy register or play money, incorporate it for more hands-on math learning. Encourage your preschooler to sell the items and “make” the food items to serve.
Just Plain Fun Activities for an Around the World Theme
Where in the World? – Check the labels on things around the house for where they were made and then look for that place on a map or globe. Go even further by looking up some locations on the internet and looking at images. Use small dot stickers to mark the map for where items were made, and discuss with your preschooler how some countries produce a lot of commodities and why that might be.
Hola, Hi, Bonjour – Practice saying hello in different languages with this song. Invite your preschooler to practice saying hello to friends and family in a different language.
Pilot Dramatic Role Play – Encourage your preschooler to pretend to be an airplane pilot and play follow the leader. Set up chairs and sit in the cabin for takeoff and landing. Develop oral language skills by asking your little pilot where everyone is traveling. What things might they see out the window of the airplane as it approaches its destination?
Safe Online Activities for an Around the World Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the book Me On the Map by Joan Sweeney. After reading, invite your preschooler to draw a map of their own room or house. Encourage them to share where they would like to travel on the map or where they like to spend time and why.
Where Are You From? Song – This catchy song introduces new countries and traditions to young children in a simple and fun way.
Schools Around the World – This book and video is a quick view of what school looks like around the world. Invite your preschooler to ask questions about their clothing and their school set-up. How is it similar to their own school experience? How is it different? Which school would they like to spend a day in and why?
Pen pals are an amazing way–like really, really amazing–to learn about other countries and cultures. You can match your preschooler with a pen pal from the United States or from another country with the Kids for Peace: Peaceful Pen Pals Project link below.
Download Your Free Around the World Lesson Plans Here
Think your preschool will enjoy learning about other countries and cultures? Download these free preschool lesson plans by clicking the image below.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.