Long before we had kids, my husband and I traveled a lot and lived abroad. I knew that when we had kids, we wanted to travel as much as possible with our children. Raising them as global citizens is at the forefront of our parenting.
But right now, our summer travel plans abroad have halted. That does not mean, however, that cultural learning has to stop. It just means that we have to travel the world in a new way for now. Home-based world travels is a fun activity that also adds value to your homeschooling and distance learning programs.
Here is how you can travel around the world with your kids from home until we can travel again.
Step One: Create A Passport
All world travelers need a passport. Have your kids create their own by using construction paper and create a booklet. Make the outside using a colored piece of construction paper and then have several blank pieces of different paper inside. Kids can decorate the cover and now use their personalized passport to travel the world.
In addition to using this passport to get a “stamp” for each country they visited, they can also use a page or two for each country to take notes about what they learn (see step four.)
Step Two: Pick a Country
Pick a country to study for a day, a few days, or over the course of the week. The length of time for each country would depend on the ages of children. For younger kids, I would probably keep it simple and just do one country over one day with simple versions of the following activities. You could also do one activity per country for the younger ones. For older or school-aged kids, you can go further in-depth with the activities below.
Step Three: Find the Country on a Map or Globe
Once you have chosen your country, have the children find it on a map or a globe. It might be interesting for them to point out where they live and where the country is that they are studying. Is it close or far? What continent is the country in that they are studying? Is it near the ocean or land?
Step Four: Learn Facts about the Country
Kids can research online or in books some fun facts about the country and then use these facts to have some fun. Facts include:
- The language
- The capital city
- The country flag
- Major landmarks
- Any facts about kids such as favorite games, toys, snacks or foods
- Cultural clothing
- Population and size
Use the Passport: Have your kids make a copy of the country flag using construction paper or draw it in their passport. They could also use their passport to take notes about things they learn about games, toys, foods, clothing, and transportation.
Make a Venn Diagram: Older kids could also make a Venn Diagram to note what kids like to play and eat in the country they are studying and what they like to play and eat. The diagram helps them see which things are different and how they are similar. Teens could even use this method to discover differences and similarities in fashion and music.
Play a Game: If the country has a fun indoor or outside game, kids could research the rules and see if they can play it.
Make a Craft: You could also come up with a craft related to the country you are studying. For example, if your kids are studying England, little ones could make a double-decker bus with construction paper or, if they are studying Japan, try their hand at origami. Grade school kids could make a pyramid if they are studying Egypt out of boxes and recyclables. Or if there is a particular toy that is simple, they could try to recreate the toy using recyclables.
Step Five: Learn a Few Words in the Language of the Country
It would be great for kids to learn a few basic phrases in the country they are studying, such as “hello,” “goodbye,” “please” and “thank you.” You may even be able to find a cartoon for your kids to watch in that language on YouTube.
Step Six: Play Music from the Country
If you can find music common from the country they are studying, you could play it while kids are doing the activities or have a dance party. Does the country have any special dances? It might be fun to look it up online and learn some steps.
Step Seven: Make a Snack or Meal from the Country
Food is a great way to learn about a culture, and a fantastic activity to involve kids. As part of the learning, kids could help make a meal, snack, or special treat from the country they are studying. It would be great for lunch or an afternoon break.
Step Eight: Take a Virtual Tour, Watch a Movie or Read a Book
Many of the major museums, zoos, and landmarks around the world are hosting virtual tours right now. You could easily find one related to the country you are studying to add to your project.
You can also watch a movie related to the country or culture you are studying together as a family. Or you could read a book.
The best part of this exercise is you can do all of this for one country or you could do one activity for each country. You could even put each activity in a different room of your home, so kids really do “travel the world” for each experience. There are so many ways you could travel the world from home right now. This list is just a starting point.
Though we can’t go out and experience other countries in person right now, we can still give our children the world. By inspiring them to discover world cultures from home, we can keep their wanderlust alive and foster their development as global citizens.