I love summer activities that keep us busy and having fun, but also give us the opportunity to learn new things. Several years ago I came up with our “Passports Around the World” days to help us have some summer fun and it’s something my kids love to do. I made them each a passport and we “visit” different countries around the world, learning about them and doing some fun activities. For weeks before summer started, my 10-year old has been asking me when we can start our “travel days.”
Summer Journey Around The World
We start the summer by filling out our passports with all the “personal” information and adding a current photo. Then, we get ready to travel! Sometimes we do just one day of activities and other times we make it into a whole week full of fun, breaking up the activities across a few different days. The great thing is you can keep this activity as simple as you would like, or take it to a more involved level.
We always start out by looking up the country and finding it on our globe or map. Then we look up the flag and add our flag sticker. You could also draw the flag in the little box if you would like. Next, we use Google to discover all sorts of neat things about the country and fill in our passport books. Finally, we celebrate and have fun doing some activities from our “destinations” country. I try to incorporate at least one food / meal from each country as well as doing some type of activity related to our “destination.” Some fun things we’ve done are dancing, singing, crafts, basket making, and more!
Discovering With our Passports
The following questions are included in the passport book. You can look these up and learn about them, then fill out your passport:
- How far away is our destination? How would we get there? Check Google to see how many miles from home your destination is and look up how long would it take you to fly there?
- What is the capital city?
- What languages do they speak there?
- What animals are native to this country?
- What is the climate like at our destination?
- Do the kids go to school? What ages do they start? How long is their school day and their school year?
- What religions are common in this country?
- What foods do they eat?
- What holidays or special days do they celebrate?
- What are some aspects of their culture?
The opposite page of the passport is blank, with the name of the country and a place you can put your flag sticker (or color your own flag if you would prefer.) We like to use this space to write down additional facts or fun things we learn.
Some of the things we like to look up are:
- traditional clothing
- common occupations
- traditional games that are played
- famous landmarks
- popular places to visit
The kids love to use Google translate to look up their names or some short phrases in the native language and learn to say them and write them out.
We are Latter-day Saints and my kids also love to look up what churches and temples our Church has in that country as well.
In addition to learning about each country, we love to do some activities related to the country or the culture. Here are some activities ideas:
Cook a food from this country. Make a whole meal or try out a traditional dessert.
Learn a few key phrases in the language or look up sign language for this country and learn some signs (check YouTube for videos they can watch and listen to)
Do a country-specific craft or activity. Here are a few ideas:
- Do some origami when you study Japan
- Weave baskets when you “visit” Chile
- Make chef hats and whip up some French bread when you learn about France
- Do a koala craft for Australia week
- Do a pyramid craft when you learn about Egypt
- Listen to some British music when you go to England
- Make your own Leaning Tower of Pisa when you study Italy
- Create some paper nesting dolls for Russia week
- Make some beaded jewelry when you learn about Mexico
- Learn some Irish dancing when you have Ireland week
- Make some paper fans or Chinese lanterns or Chinese New Year snakes when you visit China
- Create a rainforest when you study Brazil
- Play some Fussball when you learn about Germany
- Do some Maori art when you go to New Zealand
- Take a virtual tour of some of Canada’s national parks when it’s Canadian week
To Make Your Passport
To make your passports, simply print out the files below:
Passport Cover (I recommend using cardstock)
Passport Flags & Travel Stamps (use sticker paper, or cut and paste with a glue stick)
I’ve also created the Passport Pages in a blank format so you can choose to visit whatever destinations you would like.
After printing, cut the pages horizontally along the center line and then fold into a book. Be sure the photo and personal information page is the first page. This will put the map on the last page so you can mark where you’ve traveled to.
Have the kids fill out their info and attach a recent photo to the first page, then you’re ready to go!
When our adventures for each country are over we add a couple of passport stickers and get ready for our next trip.
It’s so fun to learn about other places and cultures. Maybe someday we’ll get to actually visit some of them, but in the meantime, our virtual tours and fun little home-made passports make for a fun activity to fill the long summer days.
May your summer be filled with joyful “journeys”
P.S. (from my son) a post-script from my 10 year old… When he saw I was posting this he said, “You should tell them on the blog that they can make a Rubik’s Cube flag for each of the countries.” So, there it is – if you have a Rubik’s Cube lover, they’ll love the extra challenge! (Simply Google Rubik’s Cube flags and you’ll come up with some fun instructions to help you out.)