Have you ever wondered what influences a person to be kind, to show tolerance and acceptance of others’ differences? One of the basic factors is knowledge of other human beings; this is essential to being able to understand other people. Such understanding also shapes our attitudes to visitors and immigrants coming from different corners of the world, especially in homogeneous countries where the same culture and symbols dominate and cultural diversity is less broad. Let’s talk to children about what they think of people who come to Poland from different countries and what they hear about them on television and on the streets. But before we start the conversation, let’s play “the wind is blowing …”
We can play this game outdoors or in a big room. The players should form a circle and then mark the place where they are standing as appropriate to the location of play, e.g. they could sticky tape a note of their name to the floor, or take off their shoes and use them to mark their spot. One child is the leader and stands in the middle of the circle without marking a place. When everyone is ready, the leader says “the wind is blowing and those who … fly away”, each time inserting a new trait or description that applies to themselves and others, e.g. those who have a brother, who drank milk at breakfast, who go swimming, and so on. Encourage the children to think of traits that don’t just describe physical appearance.
The leader and everyone to whom the leader’s statement also applies should leave their place and walk/run to a different one. In this way, one person will be left without a place and should stand in the middle of the circle. The game now repeats and the new leader says “the wind is blowing …”, filling in a different trait that describes them. The game ends when every child has had a chance to be in the middle, or when you run out of time.
After the game, you can start a conversation with the children using the questions below:
- What was happening during the game?
- What did you find out during it? What are the traits you share with your classmates? Did you notice any differences between you?
- Why is knowledge of other members of your society so important? Is it useful to know about people living in different countries? If so, why?
- What does the game tell us and what should we try to do so that our society can be kinder?
This post is co-funded within the framework of Polish developmental aid programme of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland.