What Makes Up the Children's Culture?

Infants continually absorb knowledge, much of which constitutes children's culture in society. What does this consist of?
What Makes Up the Children's Culture?

Last update: 12 March, 2022

When we speak of culture, we usually associate it with the works of art, history, or customs of a certain community. However, it’s difficult for a child to be attracted to these things. There’s another aspect, the children’s culture, which suggests an educational vision to bring them closer to their roots and those of other peoples. There’s also their own culture, generated by them and for them.

According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, culture is the set of ways of life and customs, together with knowledge and the degree of artistic, scientific, and industrial development in an era or social group.

This last aspect is fundamental in the vision we’ll offer today: Culture belongs to specific groups in a certain time and space.

Culture directed towards children

The educational vision of children’s culture provided by adults is aimed at instructing them on the elements that make up the society in which they’re inserted. These can be:

  • Symbols
  • Historical characters
  • Religion
  • Customs
  • Beliefs
  • Literature
  • History
  • Clothing and tools
  • Music and art
Children playing musical instruments.

Children’s culture often incorporates fantasies and magical powers to their myths in order to achieve a greater impression and thus motivate them to be interested in it.

This process is deepened both at home and at school. Through the different subjects, children gain access to different aspects of their culture, such as literature and history.

What does children’s culture consist of?

The other form of culture that children perceive is the one constituted by themselves. Now, how can it be that children are creators of their own notion of culture? The answer is simpler than it seems.

They do it through their daily activities. Many of them are even innocent games. For example, the definition of roles, rules, and strategies to play at a playground, the songs they invent or the rituals that children create to cast lots constitute a legacy that has been passed from generation to generation for years.

The same thing happens with stories and urban myths. The bogeyman, the legend of the rainbow, or the story of the werewolf are familiar to all children. There are also others that are circumscribed to a town or neighborhood.

All these things we cited above, almost unintentionally, constitute children’s culture.

Where does children’s culture manifest itself?

Our children receive cultural elements (their own or those of others) almost constantly. This can occur through the relationships they establish with other people or what they consume through the media.

Muslim girls reading books.

We’ll list the main producers of culture for children:

  • Children’s literature: Being young, children are very prone to listen to stories. Especially if they have elements of fantasy and magic. Literature takes advantage of this condition to narrate real stories in a way that’s educational and appropriate to the maturity level of children. Examples: Comics, stories, collections, etc.
  • Audiovisual content: As with books, children absorb very quickly what they see on television, movies, or the Internet. This is due to the great stimulation of the senses that these produce. It’s a great opportunity, therefore, to present educational and entertaining stories and to bring them closer to the cultural background of their community. Examples: Series, movies, videos, video games, etc.
  • Music: Characteristic songs and dances are a great channel for transmitting knowledge to children. Who doesn’t know the nursery rhymes that children learn in preschool today, even though many years have gone by? They persist because they’re a cultural feature of our community.
  • Art: As with music, culture can also be instilled in a child through images. These can be found in books, magazines, and many online sites. Art, in addition to all the benefits it brings, will allow your child to have a mental graphic representation of past civilizations or events.

“Culture belongs to particular groups in a certain time and space.”

Children’s culture starts at home

Finally, we must remark that it’s not best to wait until the child starts school to become interested in learning about their roots. From the age of two or three, they’re very susceptible to hearing and seeing everything we have to offer and tell them.

If we approach it from an early age, we’re likely to awaken in them a passionate interest in some activity or to learn more about some topic.

In addition, it’s also important that they recognize aspects of other cultures and, above all, that they know how to accept and tolerate them respectfully.

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  • Gil, A., Feliu, J., Rivero, I. & Gil, E. (2003). ¿Nuevas tecnologías de la información y la comunicación o nuevas tecnologías de relación? Niños, jóvenes y cultura digital [artículo en línea]. UOC. http://www.uoc.edu/dt/20347/index.html
  • Díaz, M., & Arriaga, C. (2013). Canciones tradicionales en el aula infantil: En busca del patrimonio heredado. Espacio y Tiempo: Revista de Ciencias Humanas, (27), 107-122.

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