22 Ways to Explore the World With Kids in 2022 (without leaving home)
With what still feels like a lot of uncertainty around COVID making us feel too anxious to make any big travel plans, I have been thinking about little weekend activities that we can look forward to that might help us feel a little bit like we’re traveling and exploring new places and cultures. Here are 22 of my fun resolutions for 2022 that are different ways to explore the world with our kids without having to go far from home. I hope to check off as many as I can and plan to check back on this list every month for inspiration! Would love to learn from your ideas, too!
Definitely starting with all the yummy food related was to explore, but I also found some fun internationally inspired games and ways to explore art, music, and more!
- Bake croissants for a French-inspired breakfast - Baking croissants is a meditative experience for me. I know some people find baking recipes too prescriptive and prefer cooking, but I love being able to just follow the rules/instructions to a T. Fun fact: I went to pastry school at night after work when I lived abroad and since then have loved making croissants and Argentinian medialunas. I get a little stressed when baking croissants with kids because I’m totally a rule follower and worry about how forgiving the recipe will be, but now that our kiddos are a little bit older (3 and 5), I’m excited to embrace whatever the outcome is! My favorite recipe for croissants comes from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco and can be found in this book. You won’t regret making a few of the ham and cheese variation!
- Enjoy a fika with friends and family for a Swedish-inspired break - When I worked at Kraft Heinz, I was super lucky to get to work on all of the company’s coffee brands and learned a little bit about Swedish traditions while working on the Gevalia brand. The fika is essentially a Swedish coffee break - it’s something that Swedes make a priority almost every day and tends to include coffee (or tea) and a baked good. Most importantly, fika is about slowing down a bit and savoring the break, whether with a friend, family member or on your own. I think this would be really fun to do on the weekend with the kids. This post from thekitchn.com has some fun recipes for fika, and I’m thinking Chokladbollar may be the perfect level of complexity for making with kids!
- Make a picada for an Argentinian-inspired dinner - The picada is an appetizer/charcuterie board situation that is popular in Argentina, and I’m all about any excuse to have a cheese plate for dinner! I will likely add some tango music in the background for extra fun. Por una cabeza is a wonderful song that will sound super familiar, but you can also search anything Carlos Gardel on your music app to set the mood for a picada!
- Get takeout at a local Indian or Ethiopian restaurant - My peeps are relatively picky eaters, but I am still trying to at least expose them to new foods. Even if they don’t eat much, I'll be sure to enjoy it!
- Pick a fun destination and draw it - Drawing with our kids is one of my favorite activities! I think part of it is the calm and part of it is that it’s so fun to learn something new. I’ve never been super artistic so drawing is definitely not a strength, and I love practicing it with my kids. I LOVE Art for Kids Hub on YouTube, and all of the Usborne drawing books. And I was super excited to find this cute drawing book, How to Draw Cute Stuff: Around the World, that not only teaches kids (and adults like me) how to draw things from around the world but also provides a little historical knowledge about the place.
- View photos of past trips and let them help make an album - I’m totally behind on album making so I think it would be fun to help the kids pick photos for an album. They love looking at photos of themselves as babies so I think this will be a hit.
- Learn new songs in French, Spanish and Russian - Au Feu Les Pompiers is my daughter’s current favorite French song, and it’s so amazing how closely it seems little kids can replicate the accents they hear in songs/videos so I’m really hoping we can learn some more! In Spanish, we’re still learning all of the songs from Mis Primeras Canciones Tradicionales en Español. In Russian, I’m hoping we can figure out a less scary version of Bayu, bayushki bay.
- Have a dance party featuring salsa music or a Bollywood night- a dance party always changes the mood at our house, but I’m not always great about featuring music from other cultures. A note to self to do a little salsa night and maybe a Bollywood night as well!
- Watch Mickey Mouse in another language - our son loves watching Mickey Mouse shorts on Disney+. They don’t always have a ton of talking, but I think it’d be fun to play a few for him in another language and have him guess what the language is! Will let you know how this goes!
- Virtual museum tour - Our son is starting to be very intrigued by my laptop…eeek! So I think he would love exploring the Met kids website. It looks like a lot of fun, and I need a reminder to myself to set up some time to do this together!
- Make up some games to use our globe more often - We have an awesome globe at home that is not getting nearly enough use! I’m hoping we can play some short games incorporating it - maybe pick a country and then learn how to say hello in the language of that country or pick a country and think about what time and season it is there. Just simple quick things, but I’d love to use this more!
- Play pass the parcel - Pass the parcel is a British party game that is kind of a combo of a white elephant gift exchange and musical chairs. A gift is wrapped in lots of layers or reusable fabric. Sometimes gifts are packed in between layers. During the game, music is played and whoever is holding the gift when the music stops removes a layer of wrapping. They get to keep anything that was in that layer. This might even be fun to do with just different snacks on a day that needs a little bit of extra excitement.
- Play Semut, Orang, Gajah or Ant, Person, Elephant - This would be a fun way to switch up our traditional rock, paper scissors game. The ant (semut) is represented by pointing your pinky finger, a person (orang) is represented with the pointer finger, and the elephant (gajah) is represented by your thumb. An elephant can trample a person, a person can step on an ant, and an ant can get into an elephant’s ear and bite and annoy the elephant.
- Watch the winter Olympics - I’m so excited to see the ice skaters in this year’s Winter Olympics. I think watching the Opening Ceremony with the kids could be a really fun activity and am setting a reminder now for Friday, February 4th - looks like we’ll be able to watch on NBCOlympics.com
- Learn to salsa - If we get stuck at home one day, I’d love to sign the kids up for this Outschool Latin dance class! I’m not sure how they’d like it, but could be a fun way to break up the day, and I’d love to learn alongside them (or in the background lol as I feel like parents aren’t really the audience for Outschool).
- Play badminton or cricket - Our kids got a really fun badminton set for the holidays, and it’s a perfect opportunity to talk a little about sports that are less common or visible here in the US but are super popular abroad. Badminton, in particular seems, to be pretty big in England, Denmark, and across Asia!
- Visit Fredericksburg - We’ve lived in Austin for almost three years but have yet to explore some nearby destinations. It’d be fun to make a big deal out of a day trip - maybe even let the kids pack their luggage or backpacks, special snacks, the whole deal! There’s so much to see in the United States without leaving the country and plenty even within an hour or two of Austin.
- Have an internationally inspired picnic - I love this article about picnic foods from around the world - the Kenyan inspired one sounds especially fun. It’d be fun to make a big deal out of a picnic trip once it warms up a bit more.
- Explore Yoto stories - I’m so excited about the mini Yoto player - it’s a new holiday purchase for us, and so far it has been so fun! I am so excited about this little audio book player and can’t wait to checkout the Ladybird Ancient Rome stories for kids! You can also listen to them on Audible without a Yoto player.
- Ask our librarian for recommendations! - This is a reminder to myself to ask our librarian about their favorite travel/exploration books for kids. Librarians are my heroes, and I totally need to remember this more often! I’ll share what I learn!
- Listen to Spanish kids radio - There are some really cute kids radio stations that we need to check out! Cosquillas specifically is one that features Spanish songs and stories for kids that is on my list to check out.
- And finally, daydream about the next big trip hopefully someday soon - I feel like I haven't even really thought much about this, but maybe it's time to start daydreaming! What's on your travel bucket list?