Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids
Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Virtual Field Trips Around the World
In an era of social distancing, virtual field trips have become an engaging way for families to explore the world without leaving home. Through interactive videos, photos, games, and lessons, children can “visit” famous sites and expand their knowledge. Virtual trips inspire kids’ natural curiosity and allow parents to supplement distance learning.
Popular virtual field trip platforms like Discovery Education and Google Expeditions provide immersive experiences at places like national parks, museums, and landmarks. Users feel as if they are really there. With Google Expeditions, a guide leads the tour while prompting discussions and asking questions. Students and parents see picturesque scenery, detailed artifacts, and explanatory captions. For example, users can climb mountains in Glacier National Park, study mummies in Egypt, or tour the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The only limits are one’s imagination.
In addition to premade tours, parents can craft custom virtual field trips. Search for images of the Eiffel Tower or Great Wall of China to build a photo tour. Watch overflight videos on YouTube to explore landscapes from above. Plenty of websites offer free materials like worksheets, maps, and educational videos to enrich the experience. Don’t forget famous places closer to home, like national monuments or local nature preserves.
Another engaging approach is to “travel” to a country and immerse in its culture for a day. Cook a traditional meal, learn key phrases in the language, read folktales, and research holidays and customs. Older kids can prepare presentations on the history or geography. It’s a fun way to gain firsthand experiences of cultures you hope to visit someday.
What else is in this post?
- Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Virtual Field Trips Around the World
- Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Build a Model of a Famous Landmark
- Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Cook a Meal From Another Country
- Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Learn Useful Phrases in a New Language
- Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Host an Indoor Camping Adventure
- Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Pack a Mini Suitcase and Make Passports
- Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Decorate Your Home Like a Hotel Room
- Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Create a Photo Scavenger Hunt Around Your Neighborhood
- Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Plan an Imaginary Trip on a Map
Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Build a Model of a Famous Landmark
Building a model of an iconic landmark provides a hands-on way to foster creativity and make faraway places come alive. As opposed to simply looking at photos, designing and constructing a physical replica requires kids to think critically. They must study architectural features and problem-solve design challenges. The act of crafting a landmark model brings learning full circle in a tangible, engaging way.
Parents can encourage children to choose a meaningful structure, perhaps one they “visited” on a virtual field trip or have always dreamed of seeing. The Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, and Leaning Tower of Pisa are classic options. For an added challenge, kids can depict less familiar sites like the Sydney Opera House or Dubai's Burj Khalifa. Historic buildings like the Colosseum or Neuschwanstein Castle also inspire stunning models.
Once a landmark is selected, supply a range of art supplies for constructing the model: cardboard, empty boxes, construction paper, popsicle sticks, glue, tape, paint, clay, etc. Let kids’ creativity shine through in how they translate a 2D structure into 3D form. They may stay true to the original or put their own interpretive spin on it. Developing problem-solving skills is key as they figure out how to best mimic intricate architectural features.
To enrich the experience, encourage kids to research details about the landmark as they work. When and why was it built? Who was the architect? What is it made of? Fun historical facts bring the structure to life. For example, did you know the Eiffel Tower was meant to be temporary and its designer, Gustave Eiffel, feared it would collapse? Kids can glean insights to incorporate into their models.
When finished, have children present their landmark creations and share what they learned in the process. They can explain the real-world site’s location, size, design elements, and significance. Displaying all the models together lets kids appreciate different architectural styles from around the globe.
Landmark models make wonderful long-term room decor. Or, parents can take photos of kids’ completed projects and compile into a custom coffee table book. This provides a keepsake to flip through and reminisce about all the places they built and explored.
Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Cook a Meal From Another Country
Transporting your taste buds takes little more than a dash of curiosity and access to a well-stocked pantry or grocery store. When we cook a meal from another country, we open a portal to new flavors, cultures, and ways of connecting over food. This simple act teaches children about lands beyond their doorstep, all without the need for plane tickets or passports.
Exploring global cuisines as a family offers benefits that extend far beyond an expanded palate. As Torsten Jacobi of Mighty Travels notes, “Another engaging approach is to ‘travel’ to a country and immerse in its culture for a day." Cooking dishes from around the world allows kids to gain firsthand experience with foreign foods and customs. The hands-on process sparks their interest and makes abstract ideas tangible.
Where should aspiring chefs begin their culinary journey? Try an Italian pizza party, taco night Mexican fiesta, or sushi rolling session. Recruit kids to help prepare ingredients, like chopping vegetables or kneading dough. Let them get creative decorating pizzas and sushi with favorite toppings. For more exotic locations, attempt chicken tikka masala from India, shrimp ceviche from Peru, or summer rolls from Vietnam. With kids’ input, choose recipes featuring ingredients they are excited to try.
Don’t let unfamiliar dishes intimidate you. Start with a modified version using on-hand ingredients before venturing into hardcore authenticity. Focus more on exposing kids to new flavors and food pairings versus rigidly adhering to tradition. Building confidence in the kitchen is key.
While cooking, have kids research facts about each dish’s origins. Where did pizza first emerge in Italy? How did tacos become a Mexican staple? What makes sushi traditionally Japanese? Understanding historical and cultural context enriches the experience beyond just eating the final product.
Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Learn Useful Phrases in a New Language
Language opens hearts and minds to new cultures. When we make the effort to speak even a few words in another tongue, it demonstrates respect and a genuine interest in connecting. Children intuitively grasp this and relish the chance to dabble in foreign phrases. A little lingual adventuring goes a long way toward raising global citizens.
Don't underestimate the power of simple vocabulary. While kids likely won't become fluent from brief exposure, just grasping "please," "thank you," and "you're welcome" makes interactions more meaningful. Start by learning polite phrases in languages tied to your family heritage or upcoming trips. Search online for printable translation sheets organized by theme, like greetings, directions, foods, animals, etc. Hang these around the house and encourage kids to use the words regularly.
Turn language learning into a game by labeling household objects with sticky notes. For example, post the French words "la chaise" and "la table" on furniture. Challenge kids to guess or recall what different items are called. Adapt this idea by designating a "French room," "Spanish kitchen," or "German bathroom." See how many words they retain based on surrounding context cues.
Another idea is watching subtitled kids' shows in the chosen language. Dora the Explorer teaches basic Spanish vocabulary through repetition. Peppa Pig episodes introduce common British English phrases. Kids pick up new words effortlessly from hearing them regularly in a familiar context. Simply exposing children to the sounds and patterns of an unfamiliar language builds listening skills and awareness.
For a more immersive experience, arrange video calls with native speaking relatives or friends willing to tutor your kids. Have them teach conversational words and phrases through games, songs, and activities. Ask how to say their name, age, favorite color, foods, animals, etc. Video chats add the visual element of seeing mouth shapes as new words are pronounced. They also lend authenticity and real cultural connections.
Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Host an Indoor Camping Adventure
Camping indoors magically transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. When we suspend belief and engage imaginations, suddenly the family room floor becomes a pine forest. The coffee table doubles as a campfire. Blankets hanging from chairs instantly create cozy tents. This simple roleplaying fuels creativity and bonds families, no wilderness required.
Indoor camping adventures teach kids resilience, independence, and problem-solving. As Torsten Jacobi of Mighty Travels suggests, roleplaying activities allow children to learn through hands-on pretending. Kids must brainstorm supplies needed, like flashlights, sleeping bags, lanterns, and cookware. They arrange furniture to delimit their campground space. Together, families discuss how to cook dinner over a “fire” or wash up without a “stream” nearby. Through cooperative play, kids gain confidence and leadership skills. Parents admire their resourcefulness and ability to adapt.
The experience also provides a healthy unplugged alternative to constant screen time at home. Unstructured play boosts socialization, movement, and imagination. One parent shares, “Camping inside gave the kids a much-needed break from TV and iPads. They worked together to set up tents and even pretended to catch fish in a cardboard box lake!” Another recalls, “My children invented elaborate stories about the nocturnal 'woodland' creatures lurking right outside their blanket forts. Their creativity amazes me.”
When planning an indoor campout, include kids in every step. Have them pack provisions in a miniature cooler, build a campfire from towels and blocks, and string up twinkly lights as “stars”. Supply flashlights and lanterns to set the mood. Cook a simple meal like s’mores or foil packet dinners. Tell stories, sing songs, and play camping games like charades or hide-and-seek. Setting the scene fully engages their imagination.
While one night of indoor camping already creates lasting memories, consider stretching the adventure into a weekend “glamping” event. Pitch an actual tent in the living room for kids to sleep in. Watch nature documentaries like Planet Earth on TV. Have kids record memorable moments in a trip journal. The more you lean into the camping theme, the more real it becomes.
Give kids ownership of the experience. Let them steer activities based on their unique interests. One may decorate the tent with artwork while another creates exploration maps. Building enthusiasm and teamwork is the ultimate goal. When asked what she loved most about indoor camping, 9 year-old Emma replied, “I got to be the leader and show my brother how to make a campfire safely.”
Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Pack a Mini Suitcase and Make Passports
A stuffed mini suitcase and homemade passport inject extra fun into indoor travels. These props let kids physically act out the excitement of packing for a big trip. Their imaginations soar as they decide what essentials to bring in their tiny luggage. Making passports personalizes the experience by giving each family member their own official documentation.
Start by gathering potential packing list items like toy cars, baby dolls, plastic food, mini toiletries, and even dress-up clothes. Have kids select their most treasured belongings to pack in a small bag or empty tissue box made to look like luggage. Only the bare travel necessities will fit! Let them create comically tiny outfits by cutting fabric scraps for clothes. Throw in a pair of wee sunglasses or a microscopic book for reading on the plane.
Once finished selecting gear, help kids decorate the exterior of their suitcase with stickers of flags, landmarks, or modes of transportation. Include contact info like address and phone number in case their luggage gets lost – every seasoned traveler’s worst nightmare. These personalized accents make their suitcase uniquely theirs, easily identifiable on the imaginary baggage belt.
Next, set up a passport station where kids can craft their official travel documents. Provide cardstock and art supplies for designing passport covers. Inside, they will include photos, names, birthdates, and other vital stats. Let them get inventive with fun stamps, stickers, or facts about themselves. Authorizing signatures and official seals add an air of authenticity.
Laminating finished passports ensures longevity for future indoor odysseys. Keep suitcases packed and passports Current so kids are ready to depart at a moment's notice. Then say "bon voyage" as they jet off to exotic locales without ever leaving your living room!
This hands-on play allows families to Experience the thrill of travel planning and packing together. Kids gain practice organizing luggage and identifying necessary items for different trips. Making passports together ritualizes the start of a new adventure. Parents can weave in teachable moments about airport security protocols and regional visa requirements. But most importantly, seeing their little faces light up while brandishing official documents makes priceless memories.
As one parent reflects, "My daughter packed her mini suitcase to the brim, insisting her stuffed panda couldn't possibly survive a cross-country trip without its blankie. Her attention to detail was remarkable." Another shares, "My son drafted an entire passport filled with facts, stickers and memories from our family vacations. It captured his precious young spirit." When kids invest time personalizing items, it deepens the roleplaying experience.
Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Decorate Your Home Like a Hotel Room
Transport your family to paradise without ever leaving home by decorating rooms with a tropical resort theme. This immerses kids in faraway atmospheres and makes everyday feel like vacation. Not ready to fully commit? Try temporarily transforming the living room for an indoor “staycation” night. Either way, lean into creative design elements that evoke ultimate relaxation. Family life contains plenty of hustle and bustle. Why not carve out an oasis right in your own abode?
Drawing inspiration from idyllic island getaways, incorporate textures and materials found in nature. Fill empty floor vases with shells, starfish, corals, or sand dollars collected at the beach. Drape gauzy linen curtains for an airy, breezy vibe. Spread fluffy cotton throws across sofas like plush white sand. Strategically place potted palms or exotic florals. Tiki torches and lanterns (with battery-operated candles for safety) instantly illuminate a backyard cabana.
What’s paradise without a poolside experience? Let kids make colorful paper drink umbrellas for non-alcoholic cocktails. Lay out beach towels instead of sitting at the dinner table. Add whimsy with inflatable rafts and pool noodles. Nothing says “resort” like getting your tropical drink on! For meals, skew island cuisine with grilled fish, fresh fruits and veggie salsas. Make your own sweet piña coladas (minus the rum). Transporting meals into themed events turns the everyday extraordinary.
Carry the carefree resort concept into sleeping quarters too. Drape gauzy canopy fabric above beds like breezy cabana tents. Scatter seashells and starfish on nightstands. Use sand and seascapes in picture frames. A soothing color palette of seafoam greens, sky blues, and sandy tans enhances the coastal vibe. Let kids make decorative door hangers from silk palms and driftwood.
When designing any themed space, think sensory details. Find playlists with sounds of rolling waves, steel drums, and ukulele music. Infuse rooms with subtle coconut or citrus scents using oil warmers. Incorporate tactile elements like wicker furniture, sisal rugs, or rattan lighting. Engaging all five senses is key for full immersion.
Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Create a Photo Scavenger Hunt Around Your Neighborhood
Turn your neighborhood into a lively scavenger hunt course with this fun family activity. Arm kids with cameras to capture creative images right in their own community. Scavenger hunts teach them to see familiar surroundings through an imaginative new lens. You provide the list, they provide the pics.
To begin, collaborate as a family to brainstorm photogenic hot spots and quirky photo challenges. Empower kids to take ownership of the activity by contributing ideas for your neighborhood scavenger hunt list. Examples might include:
- Take a silly selfie with a statue or lawn ornament
- Capture your shadow jumping over a fire hydrant
- Photograph the tallest tree you can find
- Line up sticks, rocks and leaves to form your initials
- Get a skyline shot from the top of a play structure
- Find hidden animals in tree bark or clouds
- Do a handstand in front of a “No Handstands” sign
- Capture a bird’s eye view looking down from a high spot
- Do a cartwheel under the maple tree on Elm Street
- Capture your reflection in the library’s front window
- Find the green car with eyes near the park entrance
- Take a pic swinging at the blue slide on Hillside Avenue
- Get artsy with the shadow reflections along Main Street
Once your customized list is complete, print out copies or email to phones. Establish a time limit, teams if desired, and a meeting spot when finished. Then set the kids loose! Empower them to get inventive in how they visually interpret each prompt.
For an added tech twist, have kids edit the photos with stickers, text and drawings using apps like Snapchat or Instagram. This allows them to highlight funny details or enhance the images. Sharing final creations on a family Facebook page or via email lets faraway relatives join in the fun.
My daughter still giggles at the scavenger hunt shot of my husband squeezing his head under a park bench like a clown. It sparked her creativity in seeking out fun new angles and perspectives." Another parent explained, "I loved watching my son scout locations, carefully stage each photo, and high five his sister when they completed each challenge on the list. Their teamwork was incredible."
Globetrotting From the Living Room: Creative Travel Activities for a Day at Home With the Kids - Plan an Imaginary Trip on a Map
Planning fantasy getaways on maps stimulates young minds and fuels big dreams. When unleashed with colored pencils and a world atlas, kids gain practice mapping routes, budgeting costs, and navigating logistics across paper continents. Imagination fuels the itinerary, reality shapes the particulars. This hands-on activity teaches essential travel planning skills cloaked in creative play.
I fondly recall my son, age 8, plotting a trip to Africa using an old Rand McNally atlas. He traced possible safari routes with a highlighter, researched wildlife hot spots, and marked destinations with custom animal stickers. Distance calculations allowed him to budget travel time between sites. His detailed laminated map highlighted the dream journey to come someday.
Other parents share how their kids crafted vision boards plastered with magazine cutouts of global icons, food images, and inspiring quotes. These visualize the feeling of future adventures rather than specific locations. One crafty girl sketched her own theme park with thrill rides modeled after worldwide monuments. She tapped into her wildest fantasies unconstrained.
Imaginary trips also help kids overcome new place anxiety by previewing destinations risk-free. A map provides a tactile planning space devoid of real-life hassles. Youth who previously balked at the idea of overseas travel often initiate theoretical adventures. They gain confidence reviewing geography and asking logistical questions. One formerly reluctant flier now creates annual dream trips to keep her skills sharp.
For parents, facilitating this process provides a window into children’s interests, values, and evolving perspectives. We discover which cultures and activities excite them, which foods they crave, and what transportation modes they prefer. Kids portray their personality through selected destinations. Do they prioritize beaches? Big cities? Adventure? Historical sites? Gastronomy? Their choices provide clues for compatible real family vacations.
When introducing this activity, supply a variety of maps and guidebooks - laminated works best for longevity. Keep sticky notes, colored pencils, stickers, stencils, tracing paper, and magazines close at hand for an inspiring design studio. Display finished trips proudly on the fridge or shared online. Revisit these periodically and watch kids’ preferences evolve over time.
I recommend starting with destinations offered in Mighty Travel’s Premium membership to expose kids to new possibilities. Then let their creativity take over mapping the specifics. At age 11, my previously map-shy daughter now charts independent trips to Paris flea markets, Peru’s Sacred Valley, and Fiji’s coral reefs - ambitious solo adventures incubating inside her. Someday, her vivid itineraries may shape actual decisions.