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Take a virtual family holiday with this kids’ world travel guide filled with fun facts, easy craft and cultural activities that helps teach them geography.
There’s no denying the benefits of travel, from meeting new people and trying delicious foods to the simple pleasures of escaping your daily routine. An overseas holiday may not be possible right now, but teaching your kids about the world is. Whether they’re learning from home or on school holidays, little ones will love this guide to fun craft and cultural activities that take them around the globe without leaving the living room.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics may have been postponed, but why not get set for the rescheduled 2021 Games by getting the kids to learn a little more about Japan? Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, is appropriate for a wide range of ages and there are lots of free online tutorials to follow. If you’re trying to avoid excess screen time, the Melissa & Doug On the Go Craft Set Origami Animals comes with everything you need, from paper and instructions to pictures of the final result.
If your children love to be in the kitchen, try making sushi. Do all the chopping and cooking yourself, then let them get their hands dirty assembling the rolls. This is an engaging and educational activity with a family-friendly outcome: lunch!
They may have seen pictures of the Eiffel Tower, but could your children point to Paris on a map? Introduce them to France by helping them place a pin on a cork board map. You can then identify the six neighbouring countries you could travel directly to from there: Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain. To give them a sense of France’s overall size, challenge them to find Australia and then compare the two.
A pack of coloured paper and popsicle sticks are all the art supplies you need to make French flags. Cut equal-sized strips of blue and red paper, then glue them to a white sheet, leaving a strip of the same size exposed in between. Use a couple of the sticks taped together to make a flagpole and fix your flag in place. Then, when the kids are feeling too fidgety to focus, a family screening of Disney’s Ratatouille is a great way to wind down and be transported to Paris.
Food is the easiest way to discover a new culture – and most kids love pizza – so use mealtime as a teaching tool. If your kids are older, have them help you make pizza or pasta for dinner. With little ones, a packet of playdough takes the place of real ingredients. Create a pizza base with brown, then add a red layer of sauce, pieces of capsicum with green, onion with white, cheese with yellow and ham with pink.
Start teaching your kids some Italian words and phrases by creating simple flashcards with blank card and markers. Write the Italian translation of easy words your kids use often – think fruits, animals and vehicles – then ask them to draw a picture below. Flick through the cards and repeat the word with them as they recognise their drawing.
There are 54 countries in Africa, so start by encouraging your kids to count them all on a world map and read the name of each aloud. When they land on South Africa, quiz them on all the animals they can think of that live there – lions, giraffes, elephants, hippos, zebras, leopards, hyenas and more. If you need to, guide them towards movies that feature African animals, such as The Lion King, or take the opportunity to watch it together and make notes.
To bring the film to life, set up a safari scene with air-dry clay and coloured paper. Mould animals and trees with the clay, then paint them – the models make lovely keepsakes long after the play has ended. Then create an African landscape with shapes cut from paper – think a blue waterhole or river, yellow savannah and green bush.