This post is sponsored by Mattel, but all opinions are my own.

Every year on the first day of school we ask our son what he wants to be when he grows up. His answer varies from year to year as he grows and as his imagination and vision of what could be possible expands. Whatever he decides to be, as his mom I hope he grows up to make the world a better place.

We try not to shy away from world events, and talk about things that happened on the news as we go on our daily walk. The happy, the sad, the scary, we talk about it all. I want him to remember that there is a world beyond our patio, beyond his school, beyond the things we know. I want him to know the things he does can make a difference.

Now that he’s ten, finding age-appropriate ways to discuss what’s happening in the world and how his choices make an impact is easier. But how do you do that with a younger child? How do you get them to widen their gaze to see themselves as part of the whole world?

That’s where Thomas and Friends comes in. They aren’t just fun characters on a kid’s show; they are so much more than that. The show always has important lessons about character that kids from learn from. They also have some really great resources you can use to talk about global issues with your younger kids.

This video discusses the importance of water – sanitation, conservation and the many ways we use it. Kids need to know it isn’t just something that comes from a tap – some people don’t have enough, some people use too much and animals and plants rely on it.

The video short enough to be perfect for young kid attention spans so it’s developmentally appropriate. It also comes with great ideas for conversation starters, ways to integrate the topic into playful learning and an overview of the key themes of the video so you know what’s coming.

The great thing about Thomas and Friends is that it teaches in story format, it is interesting, entertaining and it has credibility with kids. Kids already trust what Thomas has to say and for young fans who look forward to the next episode, these brief videos are the perfect dose of learning fun. Learning doesn’t have to be boring and Thomas and Friends makes sure that kids are enjoying themselves while they learn.

There are six videos in total touching on a variety of themes to help turn the centre of your world into a global citizen. That’s six opportunities to help your kid grow in their understanding of the world beyond their own backyard.

Our son might not know what he wants to be when he grows up just yet, but I can see he’s growing into a part of the global community right before my eyes. As a mom, I find that pretty exciting. Which video will you tune into first?

This post is sponsored by Mattel, but all opinions are my own.

Alison Tedford is a Canadian freelance writer and mom. She documents her journeys in parenting, mental health and fitness on her blog Sparkly Shoes and Sweat Drops. Follow her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram @alisontedford