5 ways to teach Arab children cultural pride

The Arab community is very large, encompassing 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, a region called MENA.

Each of these countries in MENA has its own traditional customs, clothing, and religion. Some have histories full of colonization, while others have had their fill of dictators.

While MENA is full of beauty, intelligence, history, smells, and people, what ties them all together is language.

The Arabic language is one of the most beautiful to hear and speak.  It not only binds us to each other but also to our grandparents, with the lands they loved so much.

Arabs have always had wanderlust and have made many countries in the world their homes.  One of those is the United States of America, when an Arab first arrived in 1528.

In an election year, the American biased media has bombarded the public with negative press about Arabs.  Below are 5 ways to teach Arab children to be have cultural pride in their heritage. This post does contain affiliate links.

The media loves to lump the Arabs with the Islamic religion, no matter if they happen to be Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or Bahá’í.  If you were to believe the right wing television news, all Arabs are responsible for 9/11, the conflict in Israel, creating Daesh, blah, blah, blah (three words made famous by an Arab).  They are confused with the Sikhs, spoken to in Spanish when they are in California, and have GO HOME spray painted on their cars.

Show children this educational book on Arabs and their positive and long contribution to American history.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

Years ago it would have been hard to imagine, but in today’s politically charged reality, children are becoming victims at school.  Schools that should be safe places where children are taught tolerance and respect.

Enough, I say. Show children that it takes all kinds of people to make a society, just like it takes all kinds of apples.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

I hope you enjoy the 5 ways that I wanted to show my daughters to be proud of about our community. I want to teach them that it’s important to be proud of roots, because they ground you.

xxx

1. Arab Food 

Hospitality is big to Arabs.  Big.

It’s common practice that you must refuse any food three times before your hostess leaves you alone.

Would you like another helping of couscous?  No thank you.  Would you like another helping of couscous?  No thank you.  Would you like another helping of couscous?  No thank you.

Arab food is the best cuisine in the world.  The MENA world is known for spices, grains, sauces, hummus (an Arabic word that means crushed chickpeas) and desserts.

On this blog, I’ve posted a number of Arab food recipes you can try with your own children.

Shakshuka

Hot Algerian Lasagna

Lebanese Lentil Soup

Libyan Sharmoula

Palestinian Spinach and Lentil Soup

Egyptian Tomato and Chickpea Soup

Libyan Mubatan

BaklaWa Pops

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

More can be found on Yummy Arabic Food.

This is a favorite Arabic cookbook that is manageable with kids. The illustrations are eye pleasing and the font is easy for them to read.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

2. Arab Music

Most Arabs love music.

Arabic beat is characterized by an emphasis on melody and rhythm, as opposed to harmony. I tell my daughters to compare it to American jazz. Many first heard of MENA music when it hit main stream as Sting performed with Cheb Mami, a raï performer from Algeria, in his song Desert Rose.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

There are many more modern day Arab musicians. Arab traditional music has been around since the times of the crusades.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

Many musical instruments were first invented in the MENA. For example, the oud is the modern day ancestor of the guitar.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

While most Arabs are not fans of bellydance, many Arab countries have traditional dance customs. In the North Africa, the tahtib is performed, while in Levant it is the dabke.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

A great way to introduce Arabic music to young children is nursery rhymes.   I highly recommend Layli Layli by Sana’ Mouasher

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

3. Arab Education

Arab’s dedication to education spans centuries, having been the inventors of universities and papyrus, a predecessor to paper.

Enter most Arab homes and you will find books in every room. Among the minority groups in American, Arabs tend to be the highest educated.

You can find 99 books for children to learn more about the Arabs in the MENA on this list.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

My company produced an Arabic Alphabet Animals poster that would be a welcome addition to any nursery or children’s playroom.  The animals and letters are fun, colorful and playful, giving children a sense of joy to look at them. This past year a new Arabic colors poster also debuted.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

4. Arab Crafts

Creating a craft together is a great way to learn about a new country.  Check out these Arab League countries crafts.

Arabs have been crafting together for thousands of years.  Pick up these books to read about the painted walls of Sa’dah, Yemen or the intricate delicate details of embroidery in Palestine.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

Check out Crafty Arab printables that celebrate the MENA culture, including coloring pages in Arabic.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

 

5.  Arab Art

There are so many amazing Arab artists in the MENA history.  Check out a few Crafty Arab Artists.

Arab men and women have always felt the need to document their experiences in paint, clay, illustrations, fabric, bronze, and hundreds of other mediums.  In 1994, the National Museum of Women put out a beautiful catalog to go with the ground breaking Forces Of Change exhibit that focused on contemporary Arab art.  

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

Museum walls can be great inspiration of our past. But if you want to teach children how to think outside the box, check out this book on Arab Spring graffiti to show them how to look for art in the world around them.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

Have some fun with children by creating art using Arabic letters. Start with this fun tutorial on Arabic Initial String Art.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

xxx

Arab children should be taught self love, and how to take pride in the language that binds them to history. This pride will help manifest as an umbrella to deflect the negativity that is raining around them.

5 Ways to teach Arab children cultural pride by A Crafty Arab

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