Most families don’t have the funds to fly the whole brood across the globe, let alone the whole country. But that doesn’t mean your children shouldn’t learn about who and what’s out there.
Thanks to Amy Norman and Stella Ma, there’s now a fun and easy way (Jennifer Garner is a fan!) to teach your little ones about other countries and states.
To help get kids excited about geography, the two moms created Little Passports, a kids subscription service that sends monthly packages full of cool activities about different cultures, major landmarks, historic events and more.
Ready to explore the world with your tots? Norman and Ma share some helpful tips that you can follow without ever leaving your hometown. Check them out below:
Pull out a map. Take turns closing your eyes and picking a spot on the map. Then open your eyes and read the country’s name and capitol, and then discuss where that country is in the world e.g. how close is it to the U.S.A., to the equator, or to the North or South Pole.
Try a new recipe. Cooking can also be an excellent learning experience. If you plan on visiting a state you’ve never been before, find a recipe that is traditional to that area and make it with your family. For example, N.Y.C. and Chicago are famous for their pizza and California is known for their authentic corn tortillas.
Share old travel photos. Did you visit somewhere special in your teens or even as an adult without the kids? Whether it was a ski trip in the Rockies or a visit to the Eiffel Tower, pull out those old photographs and share your stories with your children. You can take it a little further by pulling out a map or globe and showing your child the location in relation to where you live.
Explore music from other cultures. It’s easy to forget that a lot of American music was influenced by all the many people who came here from other countries. Give your child a lesson on a specific genre — jazz is a good one because it has a rich culture and history — by borrowing books and CDs from the library. You can also attend a local concert so they can see and hear the music performed live.
Courtesy Little Passports
Take a virtual trip. If your budget doesn’t allow for a journey that involves a flight and a passport, traveling the Internet can be just as educational and rewarding. For example if you have Irish ancestry, search the Web for cool facts (history, traditions, foods and more!) and photos of Ireland. The Little Passports Pinterest page can also help you visually explore a specific country.
Watch foreign films. Movies are a very powerful way to introduce your kids to other countries. Do a quick Web search on the best family-friendly foreign films and then set a date to watch at home. Once the movie is over, spend some time discussing not only the plot, but the cultural differences you noticed. Also keep an eye out for local kids film festivals. They often include foreign movies that are worth seeing.
Attend a cultural festival. Many cities hold events that celebrate different cultures and they’re often rich with experiences that feel just as authentic as being at the real thing. For example, Seattle holds an annual Bastille Day Festival to celebrate France’s Independence Day. And every July, Denver and Boston host the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival. On Labor Day, the West Indian Day parade makes its way through Brooklyn complete with beautiful floats from every island.
Courtesy Little Passports