As an inveterate traveler, I find it really hard right now to be stuck at home without any actual place to go or plans for travel in the near future. Still, I’m an adult who understands the reasons we’re not traveling; my son, he just wants to “go”—somewhere, anywhere. Kids who love to travel or are used to getting out and seeing the world might be having a hard time adjusting to our current stay-at-home practices. How do you keep their wanderlust alive while sustaining a busy and entertaining environment at home?
One option to consider is having the kids make their own (pretend) passports at home, like Reddit user u/jconsos did, and then using them as a gateway to exploring other places and cultures, if only virtually.
While we’re not using our actual passports, making one at home is a creative way to help kids learn about the world, cut down on screen use, and just kill a few hours while having a good time.
Create the passport
You’re going to create a homemade booklet with whatever materials you have around your home: construction paper, printer paper, card stock, whatever. Include several pages inside so you can “visit” more than one country. Don’t feel like folding and gluing a booklet together? Take a blank journal or a notebook you have lying around and use that.
What can you add to the inside of the passport book? To begin with, you can have your child “stamp” the pages by adding the names of countries they might want to visit. Maybe they want to go a little deeper, adding some fun facts about the countries they want to visit. How much you need to help them gather this information and even write it will, of course, depend on their age.
Use your passport
Ask your kids where they would like to go, and plan a virtual trip together. There are many virtual tours you can take, from museums and landmarks to a virtual car ride. You could also research and plan an itinerary for a future trip. Maybe you want to visit Cairo, or your kids have always wanted to deep sea dive with the big fishes. There will be a time in the future to plan a real trip, but for now just enjoy the imaginary travel world.
If you’re planning to “visit” a foreign country you can also learn some basic words and phrases of foreign languages and practice them with each other.
Set the scene
Depending on the area of the world you have chosen to travel, you could play some music that’s native to the region. Also, a great way to get a good feel for places is by having meals that would typically be served there. And look, maybe you can’t whip up an authentic Italian pizza with the ingredients in your pantry, but you can approximate it with garlic toast and marinara sauce topped with melted cheese, and your kids will enjoy it just as much.
And there’s no need to stop there. Maybe you could make Buddhist temples out of LEGO or use popsicle sticks to create your version of Buckingham Palace. Obviously this is going to really depend on your child’s age, so you can get as involved as they want to be (or can be).
Get the family/friends involved
Share your travels on Zoom or FaceTime by inviting other family members or your child’s friends. Show off your passport, tell them about this new country you’re in and what the food is like; play some local music for them. The fun is in the sharing.
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