Raising a Super Hero

a blog by Penyo Pal

Turn shopping into country-hopping: 6 ideas to try with your kids

In her Stanford Crash Course on Creativity, Dr. Tina Seelig instructed the class to turn a trip to the mall into a new exercise.  As I sat on a bench people-watching I watched a tired Mom trying to pacify her 3 preteens while trying to check out, another playing referee between her 2 girls, and finally one young Dad that had clearly given up and kept his kids quiet with Angry Birds.  There has got to be a better way….and there is. Turn a trip to the mall, into a new way to stretch their minds and teach them about global connections.

Here’s a collection of simple activities to keep yourself sane the next time you take the kids to the mall …in fact we’ll do you one better, keep the kids learning while you shop!

Ages 4 and upAges 8 and up 

There are of course other common sense rules that will make your trip enjoyable including keeping the trip short and keeping their bellies full,  but for the most part these are some ideas to get you rethinking a trip to the mall.  It is really incredible we can purchase scarves made in Thailand, electronics manufactured in Japan or bags made in Italy all at the local shopping mall.  Take advantage of that to teach your kids about the power of globalization and how they may be connected to countries in ways they never realized.  So don’t stress and don’t fret, the next tim you need to go to the mall you can turn shopping into country-hopping!

Kids or Cash? Stories from the Kind Dragon’s Mouth on his mistakes

Just a small town Prairies boy, livin’ in an oil-rich world. Took some entrepreneurial risks, and rose to worldwide fame.

W.Brett Wilson’s life would give Journey’s original lyrics a run for its money. Between beautiful companions, a network of powerful friends, and a formidable start to an impressive legacy of philanthropy, Wilson has all the ingredients of the Canadian dream and then some. Seriously, the guy has part-ownership of a NHL hockey team – that definitely qualifies him for Canadian rockstar statu! But alas, this isn’t a Disney fairytale because I’m sitting in a packed room on a cold November evening watching the celebrated Wilson share the ups and downs of juggling parenthood of 3 now-grown kids with the pursuit of wealth.

I thought nothing of the cheeky title, The Naked Entrepreneur (for all you wandering minds, it was very PG), until Wilson started speaking…and I realized I was witnessing a man, who to many is success in human form, humbly bare his soul.

Flickr: GoodNCrazy

Here are Wilson’s lessons on navigating the choice of kids or cash loosely distilled:

The silence in the room remains awkward for one second before the audience peppers Wilson with questions about investing and his Dragon’s Den deals to ease the mood. The real meat of his message is hard to swallow– there is real collateral damage that can happen from too much focus on career success. In his case he unwittingly chose between kids and cash, and it’s something that seems to still burden him today. Seemingly on cue, he left the audience with a perfect mantra: “Work hard but family really hard.

5 ways to take your kids "travelling" for < $1

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page $0.00 - Global - Suitable for 6+ with parental guidance 
Credit: Chefinyou.com

A very wise and anonymous person posted the question ”what do people eat for breakfast outside of the US?”  What resulted was a glorious gallery of delicious foods from 77 people around the world.  Your children will love visually sampling breakfast from Japan, Germany and everywhere in between. Be forewarned, you may never be able to look at sugary cereal the same way again!

$0.00 -China & India - Suitable for ages 10+ with parental guidance 
Credit: Adrian Fisk

British photographer Adrian Fisk started a neat project called iSpeak, where he travelled around the world taking photos of what’s on the minds of young people around the world.  His first stops were India and China where he captured youth with photos that can help put a face (or twenty) to the  foreign countries for your kids.  Some of our favourites include 24 year old Jiang Min’s line ”I want to walk my own path” and  19 year old Suman Kanal’s ”I want to "hug" the world with love & care."

$0.00 (with a $25 loan) - Global - Suitable for 10+

Okay so we’re cheating a bit here, with this one you do need $25 to get started.  Your kid gets the chance to learn about entrepreneurs like Rosemary from Kenya who needs $600 to grow her store, and Divina from the Philippines who needs $275 to buy fertilizers for her small farm.  Your kid can choose an entrepreneur to make a $25 loan to, and together, with other lenders help them meet their goals.  The cool part is receiving the updates from these entrepreneurs as they pay back the loan.  Chances are, your kid will get hooked and find another deserving entrepreneur and idea to loan the money out to afterwards!  This is a fantastic introduction to entrepreneurship, crowdfunding and small business.

$0.00 - Global - Suitable for 12+
Credit: 50p1q

Beginning in New Orleans in 2008, Fifty People One Question has documented the dreams and thoughts of people in the US and UK on film, and seven thousand more from the world wide web.  This will challenge your kids to think about some tough questions while also providing them with the chance to peek into the brains of thousands around the world.  This one will get Mom & Dad thinking hard too … This is a great introduction to philosophy and happiness.

$1.00 -Global -Suitable for 8+ 

Give your child $1 and ask them all the things they can buy with it.  You might get answers like a pack of candy or a plastic toy from the Dollar store, but use the opportunity to share with them the value of $1 and what it can purchase around the world.  They’ll be shocked to learn that they could get 8 cups of milk in Kenya or 87 tablets of Penicillin in Ghana.

So stop chewing on your nails as you think about the bills and tuition payments, save a buck or two when it comes to raising children with global minds.  O.W. Holmes Jr. once said ”a mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions” so spend the next rainy day or cold evening stretching your minds with your children….for less than a buck!

If you have any other tricks or tips under your sleeve for low-cost ways to raise globally-minded kids, connect with us at hello at penyopal.com.