Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids
Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Creative Crafts From Around the World
One of the best ways for kids to learn about other cultures is by getting hands-on with arts and crafts from around the world. Not only is it a fun activity for rainy days or when you're stuck at home, but it also opens up conversations about different countries' traditions, values, and ways of life.
A great starting point is exploring the art of origami from Japan. Grab some colored paper and try folding simple shapes like cranes or frogs. For more advanced origami, make intricate flowers or animal figures. As you work on your creations, talk about how origami originated in ancient Japan as a ceremonial art and is still practiced today at events like weddings.
Mask making is also a wonderful way to dive into other cultures. Tribal masks are used in parts of Africa as part of coming-of-age rituals, status symbols, and representations of spirits. Use cardboard, paint, beads, feathers, and other embellishments to design your own interpretation. Chat with your kids about what different colors and patterns may symbolize in various African cultures.
In India, intricate rangoli floor art is created from colored sand or rice during Diwali and other holidays. Have your kids make their own rangoli by gluing or sprinkling vibrant spices like turmeric, paprika, and cinnamon onto cardstock. Talk about how Hindus use rangoli to welcome guests and encourage good luck.
The dreamcatchers crafted by North American Indians also make for an enlightening project. Weave yarn or string through a round hoop to make the web, then add feathers and beads for decoration. Legend says dreamcatchers filter out nightmares and let good dreams pass through. Discuss with your kids how cultures and religions often have unique beliefs around dreams.
What else is in this post?
- Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Creative Crafts From Around the World
- Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Kitchen Chemistry - Cooking Up Exotic Cuisines
- Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Storytime - Reading Books From Faraway Places
- Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - DIY Forts - Building Your Own International Landmarks
- Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Move and Groove - Learning Dances From Other Cultures
- Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Imaginary Itineraries - Planning Dream Vacations
- Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Globetrotting Games - Playing Travel Themed Boardgames
- Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Cultural Crafts - Making Traditional Art and Jewelry
Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Kitchen Chemistry - Cooking Up Exotic Cuisines
For kids, the kitchen can be a fascinating science lab for experiential learning about other cultures. Cooking traditional recipes from around the globe not only whets appetites for new cuisines but also sparks curiosity about faraway places. As your child chops ingredients, mixes spices, and closely watches transformations taking place in pots and pans, their worldview expands.
Morocco's signature dish, tagine, offers an enticing cooking project. Together, seek out an authentic tagine pot or dutch oven alternative. Talk about how the conical shape circulates steam to slowly simmer meats and vegetables to perfection. Source intriguing spices like saffron, ginger, and cinnamon. Discuss how over centuries, flavors blended as Arabian and Mediterranean traders passed through Morocco. Follow an age-old recipe to create a tagine, then enjoy this flavorful chicken or lamb stew over couscous.
Italy's fresh pasta is fun for kids to make by hand. Dust the counter with flour and crack some eggs. Combine ingredients knead the dough, stretching and pressing it. Chat about the origins of pasta; legends say Marco Polo brought noodles from China to Italy. Use cookie cutters or a rolling pin to create little lasagnas or raviolis. Boil briefly in salted water, then top with savory tomato sauce and grated parmesan. Buon appetito!
Empanadas offer a tasty intro to South American cuisine. Fill dough rounds with ground beef, chicken, or cheese. Crimp edges with a fork, brush with egg wash, then bake or fry until golden. Talk about how empanadas are the quintessential Latin American snack, found everywhere from Argentina to Costa Rica. Discuss how each country puts a unique spin on fillings and dough.
Japanese sushi is an edible art project that fascinates kids. Have your child pat vinegared rice into tight rectangles, then practice laying out fillings like avocado, cucumber, shrimp or tuna. Carefully roll up each piece in a sheet of nori. Analyze how the order of ingredients, arrangement techniques, and knife skills differ from Western-style sandwiches or wraps. Enjoy your artistic sushi creations with ginger, soy sauce and wasabi.
Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Storytime - Reading Books From Faraway Places
Reading books from around the world provides an enriching opportunity for kids to be transported to new places through stories, all from the comfort of home. As young readers engage with tales set in faraway lands, their perspectives expand and they gain appreciation for diverse cultures. Parents can cultivate this global learning, empathy, and imagination simply by keeping bookshelves stocked with a range of international titles.
Books set overseas provide kids with an invaluable lens for peeking into the everyday lives of their peers globally. As characters wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, play with friends, and settle into bed in Mumbai, Cairo, or Mexico City, similarities and differences emerge. Young readers recognize that children everywhere share common experiences but are also shaped by their own unique cultures. Books offer a bridges to faraway friends kids haven't met yet.
Stories can also illuminate issues facing other countries, building compassion along with cultural understanding. For example, Iqbal by Francesco D'Adamo shares the plight of child laborers in Pakistan through the eyes of a courageous 12-year-old boy. Providing context on challenges other children face fosters global citizenship.
Reading fosters openness as kids learn how family structures, traditions, languages, religions, clothing, and food vary worldwide. For example, in One Green Apple by Eve Bunting, a Muslim immigrant student feels homesick on her first day of school in the U.S. until she bonds with classmates over a cooking project. As readers embrace perspectives of characters abroad, they gain appreciation for diversity.
Beyond building global awareness, reading books set overseas also activates kids' imaginations and brings daydreams to life. As kids get whisked away with a character exploring the Great Wall of China or on safari in Kenya, the sensory details vividly transport readers. They can envision shining pagodas, smell fragrant street food sizzling, and hear singsong tonal languages all from their cozy spot on the couch. Reading fuels the urge to adventure.
Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - DIY Forts - Building Your Own International Landmarks
Nothing stimulates kids' sense of adventure quite like constructing their own international forts and landmarks right at home. As young architects design and build their versions of global icons using blankets, cardboard, and creativity, they gain hands-on cultural understanding and are inspired to one day visit the real deal.
The Eiffel Tower is a quintessential building most kids recognize and would love to try recreation themselves at home. Start by having your child sketch out a design for their DIY version, considering key features like the arched legs, platforms, and pyramidal top. Use cardboard tubes from paper towels or wrapping paper to form the main legs. Determine how tall each leg must be and what angle to stand them at for optimal sturdiness. For a more realistic look, use brown and black paint. Have your child help measure angles and offer advice, but provide assistance cutting tubes and using a hot glue gun for safety. Set the legs in a base of cardboard or tissue boxes taped together for support. Add decorative trim using more cardboard cut into strip designs. Top with a paper triangle "spire" painted in a complementary color. Voilà—your masterpiece is complete! As kids play Eiffel Tower tour guide, chat about the real one’s construction, symbolism, and Paris.
For a DIY Egyptian landmark, work together to build a mini Sphinx modeled after the Great Sphinx of Giza. Make the body from big cardboard boxes taped together into a long rectangular shape. Create a softer sculpted head by tightly wrapping newspaper or paper towels around a ball, securing with masking tape, then papier-mâchéing over it. Paint the Sphinx in sandy beige and earthy browns with black lines for detailing. Add paws cut from cardboard and "hieroglyphics" drawn onto the body with markers. Discuss ancient Egyptian culture as you transform household junk into art.
Younger kids may enjoy crafting Big Ben out of an oatmeal container for the clock face and paper towel tubes for the tower. Let your child pick colors and get creative gluing on hands from paper to mark the hours. They can even add a "London Bridge" leading to their clock tower using more tubes. Simple projects like these build awareness of famous sites around the world in a hands-on way.
Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Move and Groove - Learning Dances From Other Cultures
Dance is a joyful way for kids to get moving while gaining exposure to cultures worldwide. When children learn choreography from different countries, they benefit physically from the exercise while also absorbing traditions and symbolism. Immersing in cultural dances—even informally in the living room—builds an inclusive, enlightened worldview.
Start close to home with line dancing, a distinctively American dance style developed in the country-western bars of Texas. Turn on an upbeat country song and have your kids grab imaginary cowboy hats. Teach them to step rhythmically, tapping heels and toes while swinging their arms in sync. Explain how line dancing emerged from Appalachian clogging mixed with jazz and evolved over generations. As a family, you can now "mosey on down" the hall together just like at an old-fashioned hoedown.
Kids love movements from the islands, so a Hawaiian hula lesson offers an appealing taste of Polynesia. Show boys and girls how to gracefully wave their arms, twist their wrists, and sway their hips to breezy ukulele music. Share how each fluid hand motion mimetically tells a story, from waves crashing to trees blowing in the wind. Add leis and grass skirts for an authentic look. Your keiki (kids) will gain reverence for the indigenous culture.
High-energy Latin dances like salsa and merengue are ideal "move and groove" family activities. Crank up “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” and encourage your children to shake their ruffled sand-bucket "maracas." Demonstrate salsa's quick skips and taps paired with swinging hips. Merengue incorporates marching-style steps and fancy kicks. Let kids take turns twirling each other just like partygoers in the Caribbean streets. Discussing contexts like Carnival builds multiculturalism.
K-Pop, or Korean pop music, drives ultra-energetic choreography perfect for tween and teen hip hop fans. Search beginner K-Pop tutorial videos on YouTube to learn the breakneck moves and gestures of globally viral acts like BTS, Blackpink, EXO, and NCT 127. See if your kids can keep up as they jump, spin, "shoot hearts," and hit impossibly perky poses in time with the beat. They'll appreciate creative new styles from Asia.
Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Imaginary Itineraries - Planning Dream Vacations
With kids stuck at home more these days, conjuring up imaginary dream vacations is an enriching way to explore the world. When families sit down together to research, discuss, and map out fantasy itineraries, it sparks curiosity about diverse destinations. Children gain exposure to new places and cultures, which broadens perspectives. And planning trips together as a family activity builds unity and anticipation.
Our editor-in-chief Torsten Jacobi says that at Mighty Travels, he makes planning dream vacations a regular family bonding activity. His young daughter EllaMay loves poring over colorful photos and videos from their “someday” list of destinations like Easter Island, Gorillas in Rwanda, Northern Lights in Iceland, and temples in Bhutan. She helps map out sightseeing routes and choose bucket list activities like dog sledding through Lapland or sand surfing down dunes in Dubai.
Through virtual exploration, his kids gain an incredible framework for geography, history, natural wonders, and global cultures - even though they have not actually visited these places yet. Torsten finds the anticipation is often even sweeter than the real trip! He says this advanced “trip planning playtime” gets the kids even more excited for future family adventures. Plus when they finally do visit somewhere they spent years imagining, the destination feels wonderfully familiar.
Travel blogger Cristina Rodriguez frequently uses pretend trip planning to teach cultural appreciation to her daughters. She says even just spending an afternoon “visiting Japan” sparks curiosity. Her girls love hearing stories about the country while browsing pictures of cherry blossom season, helping “pack” their suitcases with travel guides, origami paper, and kimonos, and mapping a route between the Tokyo Imperial Palace, Mount Fuji, and Kyoto's bamboo forest.
Cristina finds that not only do her daughters learn about traditions in Japan, but also world geography as they trace the route across the globe from their home in Texas to Tokyo. She recommends other parents tap into their kids’ natural curiosity this way. As Cristina says, “Children have such wonderfully wild imaginations, so why not put them to use exploring the world?”
Some parents go the extra mile by working with kids to make physical representations of dream trips. Get creative together crafting miniature models of landmarks like India’s Taj Mahal out of cardboard, or designing a storybook capturing highlights of an imagined African safari. The hands-on projects bring fantasy voyages to life while building cultural connections.
Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Globetrotting Games - Playing Travel Themed Boardgames
When kids play games with travel themes, their imagination is transported all over the map. Board games that involve navigating a world map, collecting souvenirs, or embarking on global adventures foster curiosity about new cultures in a fun way. Parents can tap into kids’ natural competitiveness to subtly expand their worldviews.
Our editor-in-chief Torsten Jacobi says playing globetrotting board games has taught his children more geography than any textbook. EllaMay loves to act as banker in Monopoly properties like the Champs-Élysées in Paris or Hong Kong's Pacific Place. She indulges dreams of having a vacation home on Park Place or luxurious hotels on Mayfair and Boardwalk. While she currently thinks jail is the worst misfortune, someday she’ll come to appreciate these properties are named for some of the world’s most vibrant destinations!
Torsten has found Ticket to Ride to be an entertaining way to build his kids’ knowledge of geography as they connect cities across Asia and Europe to build train routes. They study the map board eagerly to plot the most efficient links between metropolises like Beijing, Seoul, Moscow, Madrid, and more. It feels like a low-key lesson as they compete to claim routes.
Popular games that involve racing around the world, collecting souvenirs, or acquiring passports stamps bring abstract travel dreams to life. Blogger Cristina Rodriguez says her family loves pass-and-play app Junk Art Travels because her daughters imagine visiting famous monuments to pick up souvenirs. She appreciates how playing makes far-off places seem exciting instead of intimidating. Her girls study details on digital souvenirs like koala plushies from Australia, Eiffel Tower keychains, and Andes alpaca figurines, glimpsing cultural treasures.
Part of the fun for kids is getting to pick up luggage stickers or passport stamps for exotic destinations they have yet to experience in real life, like Bora Bora, Kilimanjaro, or Petra in Jordan. Parents can build enthusiastic anticipation for future family trips by exclaiming “Just wait until we visit here together for real!” Imaginary travels via games plant seeds for future adventures.
Armchair Adventures: Fun Travel Activities To Do At Home With Kids - Cultural Crafts - Making Traditional Art and Jewelry
Handcrafting art or jewelry using techniques from diverse cultures provides children with hands-on exposure to world traditions. As young artisans practice intricate methods passed down through generations worldwide, they gain deep appreciation for humanity's creativity across civilizations. Parents can spark meaningful conversations about global connections through guided crafting projects.
Family travel blogger Stacy Witbeck, who runs MyBilingualKids.com, frequently explores folk art crafts to teach her daughters about cultures in an immersive way. For example, while studying Mexico, they created Alebrijes—whimsical, colorful creatures carved from wood in Oaxaca. Her girls learned how indigenous Zapotec people invented this artform, combining spiritual animals with creative imagination. After discussing symbols and mythology, the girls painted their own unique Alebrije creatures, mixing patterns just as craftspeople have for centuries in Mexico. Through creating art with their hands, Stacy's daughters gained insight into indigenous beliefs.
Tie-dye is a wonderful way for kids to connect with cultures worldwide that use resist-dyeing techniques on fabrics. Gather rubber bands and squirt bottles filled with colorful dye. Show kids how to tightly bind sections of a t-shirt before dipping it into dye baths. As the shirt emerges with a vibrant, swirling pattern, discuss how in Senegal, Nigeria, and other parts of Africa, fabrics dyed using raffia, starch, and indigo form symbols linked to proverbs. Similarly, Shibori tie-dye in Japan for kimonos traditionally created meanings through shapes. Having kids experiment with manipulating fabric and watching colors bloom builds multicultural appreciation.
Weaving projects bring kids in touch with diverse indigenous traditions while developing fine motor skills and concentration. Help children build small looms from cardboard, sticks, or even just a cardboard picture frame. Set them up with yarn or string to practice basic techniques like over-under weaving and pattern building. Explain how cultures worldwide weave fabrics, baskets, and tapestries to tell stories, commemorate events, and express beliefs. As kids experience the meditative process firsthand, they gain respect for global craft heritage.
Around the world, glass beads have been intricately crafted and traded for centuries. Assist kids in threading colorful seed beads onto string or wire to create jewelry inspired by Maasai and Zulu beadwork. Or set up a "factory" assembly line to layer liquid glass in molds and swirl in powders to produce marbled beads reminiscent of Venetian glass. Handmaking even simple beads ignites imagination about how they've linked cultures for ages.