Touchable Earth

Website review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Touchable Earth Website Poster Image
Kids showcase their cultures in short, categorized videos.

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Educational Value

Kids can learn about a variety of cultures by watching other kids show and tell about their lives. Kids from China, India, Iraqi Kurdistan, Mongolia, South Africa, Nepal, Romania, Russia, and Syria talk about their country, family, school, games, clothes, home, and more.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Touchable Earth gives kids an opportunity to learn directly from other kids about a select number of countries. Kids talk about their family, clothing, home, school, culture and more to showcase what their life is like through short videos and photos. At the time of this review, there are video collections for nine countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia. The website is available with English or French text and subtitles, though all the videos are in English. Touchable Earth is a not for profit organization funded by government organizations, corporate sponsors, and individual donors. The organization claims to be driven by a model dictating that all their information is taught by kids aged 8 to 11, with an equal representation of girls and inclusive of all identities. Note: At the time of this review, there was no privacy policy available on the Touchable Earth website.

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What's it about?

TOUCHABLE EARTH organizes its videos and photos by country: China, India, Iraqi Kurdistan, Mongolia, South Africa, Nepal, Romania, Russia, and Syria. Each country's collection begins with a welcome video in which kids introduce their country in English and their native language. Kids can then explore the different topics such as Family, Culture, Friends, Play, and School. Each video is roughly 15 seconds to 1 ½ minutes long and features kids showing where they live, explaining how to play a game, introducing their family, and so on. There are transcripts of the videos, as well as brief fun facts and/or thought questions.

Is it any good?

Kids from around the world are charming ambassadors who show viewers what life is like in their country. Videos cover most of the basics of everyday life that might interest kids such as family, home, school, and what kids do for fun. Cultural topics such as dance and music, and facts such as geographic location, flag, and national anthem help give kids a bigger picture of the country. Videos are mostly solid quality, and most kids speak clearly understandable English, but there's also a transcript just in case. Videos are often very short, which makes them easy to watch in bite-sized pieces, but sometimes leaves viewers wanting to see a bit more. Though the information gives a pretty well-rounded picture of life in each country, there are some missing pieces. For example, typical food would be great to cover. There are a few basic suggestions for discussion, but most are fairly superficial. Most of the deeper learning and discussion depends on the users. Overall, Touchable Earth is a lovely collection of videos that show kids how life is different in other parts of the world, but can also reveal some surprising ways that kids' lives are the same, no matter where they're from.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they see in the videos on Touchable Earth. Ask kids what seems really different from what they're used to and what feels familiar. What are they curious about? How can they find out more?

  • Explore a country or a theme together. Find out everything you can about one particular country, or research a topic -- such as folk dancing -- across multiple cultures.  

  • Help your kids become global citizens. Read books, watch movies, tell stories, attend festivals, look at art and architecture, or try food from a variety of countries and cultures across the world.

Website details

  • Subjects: Social Studies: citizenship, cultural understanding, exploration, geography, global awareness
  • Skills: Responsibility & Ethics: embracing differences, respect for others
  • Genre: Educational
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Last updated: June 29, 2020

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