Around the World in Queens: Teaching Kids About Different Cultures

Queens is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the entire country. Why not take advantage of this fact by touring some neighborhoods that boast thriving populations with culture, food and fun to explore! You can take your kid on a trip around the world without ever stepping foot outside of Queens! Parents, brush up on your history as your child will probably have lots of questions. These little excursions are a great way to teach kids about culture, religion, history, migration and more. It’s also a great tie in to some of the topics they may be learning in school.


Jackson Heights, accessible via the V, R, G, E, F, 7 to the Roosevelt Avenue station has been called Little India. Start your day by catching a Bollywood Film at the Palace Theater located at 73-7 37th Road. Afterwards, head for some yummy food at one of the many Indian buffet restaurants such as Delhi Palace, 3733 74th St. Next, stop into an authentic Hindu temple such as Chamunda Swami, located at 3741 77th St. and lastly, commemorate your Indian adventure by picking up a souvenir at Butala Emporium, located at 3746 74th Street. A great book about India to read with your child is The Road to Mumbai by Ruth Jeyaveeran.


Head to Astoria for a lesson in Ancient Greece. You can get there via the N train to 36th avenue through the last stop at Ditmars. Check out statues of Athena, Socrates and other famous Greeks at Athens Square Park located at 29th street and 30th Avenue. Next, pay a visit to the Greek Cultural Center located at 2680 30th St # B2. The Center produces performances in theater, music, folk dance, shadow Puppet Theater, and workshops for all ages. To see a modern Greek church, check out the ornate stained glass windows and intricate artwork inside Saint Demetrios Cathedral located at 30-11 30th Drive. Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, there are several delicious and affordable places to sample yummy Greek delicacies like the classic gyro at Opa Soulvaki (2844 31st St) . Lastly, round out the day with some delicious Greek desserts like Baklava next door at Yaya’s Bakery (28-46 31st St). When you get home, you can check out Greek Myths for Young Children by Heather Amery to reinforce what you saw on your Greek Adventure.


Simply hop off the 7 train at its last stop in Main Street Flushing to experience Queen’s answer to Manhattan’s Chinatown. Some say Flushing’s Chinatown is even bigger than the original. There are tons of great places to eat, shop and more. For a real life lesson in Eastern Medicine, check out the Shun An Tong Health Herbal Co. at 135-24 Roosevelt Ave. There are countless places to eat in Flushing’s Chinatown, for some authentic cuisine check out Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan located at 42-47 Main St. After your meal, step into the Flushing Mall for curios and souvenirs at 133-31 39th Ave. Before you head home, be sure to browse the open air produce markets or stop into Hong Kong Supermarket (37-11 Main St) to pick up some Chinese ingredients to recreate your feast again at home. Your little one will also love seeing the colorful fruits and veggies that probably can’t found at your neighborhood market. The Empty Pot by Demi is an acclaimed children’s book about China that you can check out with your kid after your trip!


Christine Gibson