This post is part of the School’s Out! Top 10 Summer Blog Hop (see below for details).
Disclosure: I received a complimentary Little Passports starter kit for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.
I am so excited to be participating again this year in the School’s Out! Top 10 Summer Blog Hop. Last year I wrote about the Top 10 Ways to Learn Through Travel. As much as I am an advocate for traveling with kids, the truth is that there are many ways to explore the world without having to leave home! So if travel isn’t in the forecast for you this summer (or even if it is!) here are some great ways to explore with your kids right in your own community.
10. Read Global Books
On of the best (and easiest!) ways to travel the world with your child is through books – the original virtual travel! If you are looking for some great recommendations, be sure to follow the Read Around the World Summer Reading Series from Multicultural Kid Blogs, as bloggers share favorite global books for the whole family.
9. Get Online
With the wealth of information available online these days, it’s easy to include global learning into your home! Of course there are the wonderful PBS Kids, National Geographic Kids, and Discovery Kids. But you can also use technology in creative ways to connect with other kids around the globe.
8. Shop at an Ethnic Grocery Store
The boys and I love to shop at our local Indian store. It’s an easy yet powerful way to immerse your child in the sights and smells of another culture. And don’t forget the tastes! I like to let my son pick out a snack or drink from the shelves that we can try. It’s also fun to go shopping for ingredients for global recipes you are trying together (see #6 below!) I adore this idea from The Golden Gleam – turn your visit into a scavenger hunt!
7. Visit Museums & Cultural Centers
Take an afternoon to explore a local museum or cultural center – and they don’t have to be the obvious ones! Most communities are dotted with little gems tucked away where most people might miss them. (Why is this??) But only a little searching is needed to find these wonderful resources. They are designed to teach the community, so they typically have wonderful interactive displays for children and often cultural events that whole family can participate in.
6. Play in the Kitchen
Cooking together is a great way to explore cultures, as you experiment with new dishes or continue family traditions. Children can experiment in an environment where they feel safe, yet they are still getting a powerful sensory experience from another culture. I love that my picky eater has sampled dishes from around the world, and even helped make them! I am lucky enough to be participating in the Around the World in 12 Dishes series – check out our latest recipe, from Croatia!
5. Organize Cultural Play Dates
Cultural play dates are a fun way for children (and their parents!) to learn about the world, through games, crafts, and food. Most importantly, they create lasting bonds of friendship with other little world citizens. To get started, you could do a play date around a holiday or focus on a particular country. You can find many ideas for your play dates on our Multicultural Kids’ Crafts Pinterest board.
4. Host an Around the World Summer Camp
Take your play dates to a different level by hosting an Around the World Summer Camp! Pick one country per day to focus on, then choose crafts, games, songs, and snacks to go with each. Here are sample days and resources.
3. Discover Great Educational Materials
Thankfully, there are many global education materials today, such as wonderful books, globes, maps, and games. Our family is in love with the Little Passports program. It’s interactive and fun, and kids will love receiving mail each month about a new global destination. My son instantly gravitated towards the little suitcase, passport, and camera that came with the kit, and I can’t count the number of times he pulls out the maps and spreads them out on the floor whenever we mention another country. Luckily, the maps are very durable, since Baby loves to walk on them, too! This program is great for engaging kids and helping them see themselves as global travelers.
2. Befriend an Exchange Student
Of course, if you can actually host an exchange student, it is an invaluable experience for your kids. But even if you can’t make that commitment, you can still befriend foreign students, who will appreciate connecting with a local family. Often they are happy to share about their culture at a play date!
1. Watch International Sporting Events
Whether the Olympics or the World Cup, sports are a fun way to teach kids about other countries. Now with the World Cup, my son loves identifying flags and finding the countries on the map. We are also playing along as part of the World Cup for Kids project from Multicultural Kid Blogs, by learning more about the participating countries. Each time a team plays, a blogger writes a post about some aspect of that country – a recipe, game, etc. We are representing Costa Rica and Iran! You can also find educational worksheets to go along with the games, such as the World Soccer Cup 2014 Activity Pack.
How are you exploring the world with your child this summer?
This post is part of the School’s Out! Top 10 Summer Blog Hop organized by This Reading Mama. For a full list of all the amazing posts in this series, visit the main page. Be sure to check out Top 10 Ways to Learn About the World with the World Cup and Top 10 Tips for a Road Trip with Kids.