Traveling to other places is one of the best ways for kids to develop an appreciation for other cultures, and to grow their understanding for communities and customs beyond those that they’ve experienced in their daily lives. This summer, big family trips might be postponed, but there are still many ways to share new and different cultural experiences with your kids without getting on a plane.
Even without leaving your own home, you can help your kids engage in immersive, hands-on experiences that creatively connect them with unfamiliar lands and people. Every month, our team of Atlas Crate editors and product designers research different countries around the world; studying fun facts, local games, impressive architecture, natural wonders, food traditions, and stunning places to visit.
To start your virtual trip, you’ll want to first choose a place to visit. Starting with one place will give focus to your research. Our editors choose locations with the intention of traveling on every continent. When you think about which country you’d like to explore, do you have a family member, friend, or former neighbor who lives in a different country? Whichever country you end up selecting, take the time to fully explore it.
We are excited to help you and your kids explore the globe—because taking the time to meet the people and places around us is a beautiful adventure.
Visit the Seven Wonders of the World (and More), Virtually
Amazing virtual tours exist for many of the world’s “bucket list” destinations. You can visit Macchu Pichu, take a walking tour of Italy’s iconic sites, marvel at the Taj Mahal, or explore the ancient city Petra, Jordan, all in an afternoon. Try googling “virtual tour” for your chosen destination — you may be amazed at what you can experience without needing to find your passport!
Take a Kid-Friendly Museum Tour
So many amazing institutions, from the Louvre to LACMA, have brought their collections online! On a virtual museum tour, your kids can see paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts in different collections around the world. Here is our list of 15 institutions that offer awesome virtual museum tours that kids will especially love.
Read Books About Other Countries
There are so many wonderful travel books for kids! Depending on your child’s age and interest, you might send them on a voyage via a destination guide or an inspirational travel story, a folktale or a photography book. Plus, there are all kinds of travel-focused activity books that can help keep kids learning. To start, you might check out a few of our favorites, like Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid; and the Lonely Planet Kids Travel Series. For a full list of kid-friendly travel books, check out this list from the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase.
Host a Geography Bee
Inspired by National Geographic’s Geo Bee, create a game that teaches world geography, then invite your friends to compete over a video call! To write the questions, you’ll want to start by selecting three countries to research. Divide the participants into teams, and have each team research five to ten facts about each country. Have one person from each team ask the members of the other teams the questions. [Do people buzz in? Write down their answers?] The team that answers the most questions correctly wins!
Listen to Music from Other Countries
Exploring different types of music can help kids connect with different cultures and help them feel more connected to one another! Putumayo Kids has become a beloved source of international music for children offering a wide selection of world music to families.
Learn a Dance
If listening to all that music makes you want to dance, find a virtual dance studio in the country of your choice. The Alvin Ailey Dance Studio offers online dance classes from Ballet to Afro-Brazilian, Samba and beyond.
Stamp collecting may seem like your grandparent’s hobby, but it’s actually a really cool way to learn about countries around the world (bonus: it could be a great way to connect with a grandparent too!). Since each country will usually have stamps that represent the things that make it special–famous leaders, legendary entertainers, iconic animals, and key historical figures and events– stamp collecting is both interesting and educational. You can find a huge selection of stamps from a variety of countries at Mystic Stamp Company.
Make a Travel Journal
Make a travel journal of places you’ve visited and want to go! Print photos, clip magazine images and fill the journals with vibrant collages of cool international stuff (ticket stubs and travel passes from past trips are fun to include.) For an online version, use Google Earth to draw maps, add your own images and collaborate with others.
Learn a Few Phrases in a New Language
Learning just a few words of a different language can be super-fun. Set a few easy goals (like learning how to introduce yourself to a new friend) for tangible results. You can find many online resources and apps to help you do just that: Duolingo includes bite-sized language lessons that make learning fun!
Connect with Pals Across the Globe
Send letters to pen pals all over the world! If you have family or friends in other countries, start a snail mail pen pal correspondence. But if you don’t, Snail Mail Pen Pals allows you to connect with new friends around the globe. Children International allows people to become pen pals with children living in difficult economic circumstances, and to sponsor them to help pay for education and other necessities.
Cook with Your Kids
To taste a country is to immerse yourself in it. There are so many fantastic cookbooks by expert chefs and home cooks around the globe. The kid-friendly cookbook Cooking Class Global Feast features recipes from different cultures. For more advanced cooks looking for titles about each different kind of cuisines check out Omnivore Books. They’ve got a terrific selection of cookbooks for kids and adults alike.
Subscribe to Atlas Crate
To further spark your kid’s sense of adventure and curiosity, consider a subscription to Atlas Crate. Atlas Crate is designed as an immersive experience to help children grow their understanding of communities and customs around the world. We also value the importance of using STEAM concepts as the building blocks for our crates to encourage hands-on, play-based learning.
For more global fun this summer, join our Atlas session at Camp KiwiCo where you will find FREE hands-on activities, videos, printables, and content about different places around the world.