What if you could travel with your child without leaving home?
Experiencing different places and different cultures is, after all, a fantastic learning experience for kids and grown-ups alike.
You teach your kids to open themselves up to new things, to appreciate what makes all the people around the world unique, and to find common ground with them too.
Bringing up future generations to be understanding, appreciative, and welcoming of each other is so very important!
But of course, jetting off to a new country every weekend is hardly possible.
We have work, the kids have school, there are doctor’s check-ups, grocery runs, homework to take care of, budgets to fret over.
Luckily, though, there are many ways of experiencing different countries and cultures right from the comfort of your child’s bedroom.
Here are a couple of ways you can travel with your child without leaving home (and why they’re wonderful learning experiences for your kids!)
6 Ways to Travel with Your Child Without Leaving Home
1. Read Books and Stories Set in Other Countries
An excellent way to travel all over the world with your kids is by reading books set in different parts of the world!
Kids especially love stories which feature kids who live in the country they are reading about because it allows them to relate much more to the story and the culture that way.
Some kids love to learn about the lifestyles and festivals of people living in, for example, Italy.
Pick up some travel books also that indulge you and your child’s imagination by picturing landmarks and activities that accurately portray how people in other countries live.
Some kids adore reading about a country’s history, the events behind its famous landmarks, practices and people – another excellent way of exploring culture.
In story books, you and your child can accompany the family in the book to the tomato festival in Spain, Chinese New Year Lion Dances, or the healing dance of the San people in parts of Africa.
By reading along, you travel with your child without leaving home!
In fact, reading immersive stories and books can be a great way of helping your child visualize information.
By exercising their imaginations in this way, they are building essential skills for memory and learning in the future!
Visual images are much easier to recall than text or audio – the best memory champions use pictures even to remember strings of random letters and numbers!
Researchers have also found that reading books and novels about other countries can help form new neural pathways in your brain.
As kids read about other cultures and countries, it helps improve their brain’s health and cognitive functioning because they are transported into another world.
All without leaving your home!
2. Learn the Language
As children grow, their brains are like sponges, soaking up new information at an extraordinary rate.
This means that they’re incredibly good at adapting to and learning new information and learning languages even more quickly than an adult!
So now is the best time to expose them to books that contain words from another language in them – because they will learn those new words so rapidly.
So, learning a new language at a younger age is a fantastic way of embracing new cultures without leaving
You can approach the challenge together and even take a course in order to learn Italian or Japanese or any foreign language you please.
By experiencing the learning curve together, you and your child can feed off each other’s efforts and enthusiasm to learn!
It can be a valuable activity to share and have fun and spend time together.
Learning a different language is actually scientifically proven to be good for the brain.
It helps activate specific parts of the brain and builds new neural associations that improve your memory and learning ability!
Starting early can also make your child more willing, receptive, and enthusiastic about learning new languages when they’re older.
3. Try New Cuisine
Food is a universal – and delicious! – language!
As you read books about other countries and cultures you can also bring the tastes of the world right into your kitchen!
Research different recipes with your child, get them involved in the process of shopping for ingredients, and preparing the meal.
This will build their excitement and interest in trying out foods from all around the world.
Kids are, after all, inherently curious, and much more willing to taste something unfamiliar when they’re younger.
Cooking is also an excellent learning activity that appeals to every child’s learning style as well and holds their attention for longer periods of time.
So, try out jollof rice one weekend, and Malaysian laksa the next, and authentic risotto the next!
Cuisine can say a lot about a country.
This includes how recipes and culinary influences crossed borders over the years, and how different countries interpret the same dish.
Learning and improving a skill such as cooking again helps improve your child’s brain health and memory.
4. Watch Foreign Language Cartoons and Videos
Watching foreign language cartoons and videos are another great way to familiarize yourself with a different country, it’s culture and language.
Japanese animation or anime are globally popular, the Canadian show Caillou is a favorite among kids, Robocar Poli is beloved in South Korea.
Not only do watching cartoons and videos help exercise the visual skills and imaginations of younger learners, but they also provide a gateway into a different world.
Your child gets to experience different values important to different cultures, as well as the ways in which they are similar to ours.
Watching shows in different languages also helps kids (and adults) more intuitively pick up a new language.
We see and hear it in action and it’s more physical, precisely like how you learned your first language.
5. Listen to Music from Other Parts of the World
Another great way of experiencing a different culture is by listening to music from around the world!
Music transcends language and is loved and cherished in every culture throughout the world.
Learning songs in different languages or and listening to new and different music are not only fun activities, but also help improve your child’s cognitive functions.
Many studies show that listening to and learning music can improve your mood and boost your memory.
Like books and film, music is also a story-telling medium.
You can explore everything from the instruments used to the time-period a particular genre came about in, to the translated lyrics.
You and your kids can learn a lot about the experiences and culture of different countries through their music.
6. Learn About Famous People from Different Countries
Our world has many incredible, inspiring heroes.
Some who lived hundreds and thousands of years ago, and some who are with us in the present.
Some impacted the whole world, and others made a huge difference in their part of the world.
Read books with information about heroes and heroines in other countries.
What makes these people unique?
What did they contribute to the world we know today?
Answering these questions can boost your child’s appreciation of different countries and cultures.
So include these types of books and explore stories about famous leaders, writers, artists, scientists, doctors, athletes, architects, musicians, and more.
You not only expose them to other cultures but also provide them with brilliant role models to look up to and aspire to be like.
And there you go! 6 ways you can travel with your child without leaving your home.
I hope you found these ideas fun, creative, and exciting.
Most of all, I hope are able to use all the tips on how you can travel with your child and show them the world even when it isn’t physically possible to do so.
Are you going to try any of these activities out?
Write in and let me know!
Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children’s books including If You Were Me and Lived in Italy.
Whether it’s pirates, princesses, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children. She lives on Long Island near her children and grandchildren.