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Welcome back for Lesson #3, Tips for Exploring From Home!
Family life gets pretty busy pretty fast. It can feel overwhelming to figure out how to start exploring at home, much less exploring away from home!
Here are some of my favorite ideas for virtual travel that are simple, family-friendly, and suited to a variety of ages. You won’t need any special materials, and you can easily incorporate them in bits and pieces throughout your day.
I suggest trying out one or two at first, and then building from there!
- Get out a map or globe. Even if you can’t actually go to a place in person, it’s fun to figure out where it’s located. And just looking for it is sure to spark conversations about things like topography, continents, borders, and more.
- Cook together. One of the most fun things about traveling is the food! We love making recipes from different places we’re studying to help us get excited and learning about different resources that are available. This is a great opportunity to help kids learn some kitchen skills through travel activities for kids from home!
- Learn about art. Few things better describe a country’s culture and history than art. Pick an artist, genre, or time period and ask questions along the way. Google has an incredible database of digital collections of art museums.
- Play or watch a sport. Different sports are popular in different parts of the world. If you can, it can be fun to test out badminton if you’re studying India or bandy if you’re learning about Russia. If you can’t do it yourself, you can always YouTube a clip of others playing it!
- Watch a movie. Speaking of YouTube, everyone will be delighted to watch a film about a different place. It can be anything from a fictional tale that takes place in a different country, a short video giving an overview of a place, or even a documentary about a country’s animal life.
- Read books. This feels like a no-brainer. Read all the books! This is surely the best and easiest of the travel activities for kids. Of course, there are non-fiction books explaining everything from history and culture to language development, but don’t feel limited to those. There are plenty of fictional tales that give insight into a culture, or even guidebooks can be fun to peruse. If you’re library is closed, consider a digital subscription like Scribd or Epic, or even audiobooks.
- Listen to music. Pull up your Spotify app and pump out some traditional Irish folk music or Moroccan gnawa music. Or perhaps you can turn on some Met nightly opera streaming while doing some quiet reading. Sure, it’s different and will be unfamiliar, especially to little ears that may be accustomed to Taylor Swift. Still, it will expose everyone to new rhythms, instruments, and feelings.
- Do a craft. This can easily connect to the artists you may also learn about, or you could do some watercolor painting in time to the music from above. Or if you all work better with dimensional work, you could use these building toys to create shapes similar to those of a particular artist. You could also experiment with some traditional handicrafts, print out photos from a destination to make a collage, decorate a flag, or just color some pictures. The opportunities for art travel activities are endless!
- Discuss currency. Currencies are fun to explore, and are great for math work of all ages. Younger children can craft some play money to count in single digits, while later elementary students can practice multiplication and division with conversion rates. Even teens can work through problems of economics, currency depression, and more.
- Write. Try nonfiction informative writing after studying up on a country’s history or a famous person, or try spinning a narrative tale that takes place in a certain location. You could also work in multiple assignments by writing about initial thoughts, and then rewriting to correct any misconceptions.
- Play a game. This can be a game specific to a destination (such as kongki noli if learning about Korea, or badminton if learning about India), or it can just be a general geography game. Or you could try an online game like Geoguessr to try to figure out different destinations!
- Look at photos of historic sites. Imagine what it would be like to explore them, or draw pictures of those places. Learn about their place in history and why they are important.
- Build. Use some favorite building toys, of create a skyline out of cardboard boxes, tape, and markers. Or try making a diorama!
- Practice your language skills. Pimsleur is our very favorite language learning program that works through listening to conversations, just like you’d learn a native tongue. Duolingo is a great and free way to pick up a few phrases in different tongues.
- Do family history. It’s especially fun being connected to a place – research your ancestry and delve into whatever background you find!
- Do a service project. Voluntourism can get really tricky in terms of how helpful it actually is. Usually, it’s much more effective to raise funds from home, so this is a perfect opportunity to still help out without having to travel anywhere. Discuss opportunities with your kids to raise money to support a cause they care about for a perfect travel activity for kids.
- Discuss different peoples, injustices, and misconceptions. We all have biases and preconceived notions at times, and kids are no exception. The important thing is to discuss them head on to combat racism and isolation. After all, the greatest purpose of travel is to connect with peoples, communities, and cultures around the globe. Having those hard conversations at home is an excellent first step.