Some of the fondest memories we hold in our hearts are those from our childhood. It was a time of learning, exploration and awesome discoveries. It was also a time we formed some of the most important views on the many aspects of life. After all, every experience was a new one and readily absorbed by our young curious minds.
When I was 8 years old, our elementary school had an International Day. The fond memories I made on this day are ones which still carry with me in my adult years. It was a very exciting event for all the children. We were dressed in our ethnic outfits, and each of us carried a personalized passport which we decorated the day before. We then eagerly “traveled” from classroom to classroom — each one representing a country from around the world — learning about their unique foods, language, lifestyle and everything else that tickled our imaginations. We also collected stamps in our precious little passports from each country we visited. By the end of our whirlwind travels, we settled down in the library for a delicious meal of international foods shared by the participating students.
Oh, what a day we had!
For many years, I wanted to recreate this fun experience for the younger generation of children. I felt it could provide them with a positive outlet to learn about the various people and places which makes our world so very interesting. So, after over a decade of remaining dormant, it’s finally come to life!
I’m very excited to introduce to you this cool printable passport created in collaboration with my talented friend, Kung Pik Liu of Sakina Design and made possible right here by Yvonne Maffei of My Halal Kitchen. Now you, too, can “travel” around the world with your child or student by simply printing and assembling this My Around The World Passport, and using your imaginations! The sky is the limit…
We want it to be your child’s window of opportunity to learn about the world around them – creating a love for one another, understanding for our various ways of life, and celebrating our diversity. The possibilities of how you can use this passport are endless!
To get started, I encourage adults to gather suitable resources such as an age-appropriate children’s world atlas, a large world map and/or globe. Use them as a means to explore new places, new people and new cultures with their children. Feel free to use the wonderful free resources readily available at your local library or found online. You can also check out my Homeschool Social Studies Pinterest board dedicated to this topic, which is brimming with fun, easy geography-based activities, educational websites and many free printables.
(The Paper Dolls Around The World printables used in the photo below can be found here)
The Around The World Passport consists of passport pages and stickers which can be printed in color at home or at an affordable print shop.
My Around The World Passport Directions
Simply print and assemble the passport (PDF below) according to instructions, select a country, decide what you would like to research about this country and do a fun activity to enhance the learning experience. At the end of each country’s “visit”, your child receives a sticker on the passport and can move on to another country of his/her choice.
My Around The World Passport PRINTABLE PDF:
My Around The World Passport
Ideas and Activities
The purpose of the following activities and ideas is to help make this project fun and engaging to create a memorable experience. You can make the activities as simple or as details as you and your child prefer. Depending on their age and interest, you can customize the project to cater to the child and their learning style as well. Remember, these are just suggestions. Feel free to apply your own creativity and unique ideas to this project.
Here are some suggestion of areas which you can explore with your child(ren) or students:
- Language– Learn about language(s) spoken in your country. What is their national language(s)? How many are there? Find some common phrases you can learn and share with others!
- Geography – Learn about the natural land formations of the country. Are there deserts, mountains, valleys, forests, rainforests and many lakes in the country? What is the temperature like? Are there any major bodies of water near this country?
- Food – Learn about the staples of the country. What are some traditional meals and foods they prepare? Are they different or similar to the foods you eat? Share your newly discovered recipes. Try making some of these dishes or meals and invite some friends over!
- People – What are the main religions in the country? What are some of the types of jobs people have in the country? What are some common roles in their family? What do they do on their free time? Is there a Muslim community in the country? If so, where and do they have a mosque? What does their mosque look like?
- Children – What is life like for a child? How long are the school days and what subjects do they learn in class? What type of games do children like to play on their free time? What are their roles in the family? Write a creative passage in the perspective of a child in that country. What would life be like for you if you were living there?
- Clothing – What are some of the traditional clothing of people in the country? What types of fibers are commonly used? Create some fun costumes which people wear in the country. Play dress up!
- Transportation – What are some of the main means of transportation used in the country? Why? Try building one of the means of transportation commonly used here.
- Arts & Crafts – Learn about some of the materials and styles people use in their artwork in the country. Create a fun traditional craft from the country. Create a colourful mask, ornament, wall art, vehicle, model of a traditional house, country map commonly found in the country and the list goes on. Be creative and have fun!
You can keep this project within the family or extend it with other participating families. This is also excellent to use as a supplement in the classroom or as an aid for homeschooling/home-education. Again, these are just suggestions. Take your time; this activity can be extended over the course of one month or even several months to a year. You can make this as expansive as you wish!
- Family – A simple project with the children in the family. Collectively focus on a new country every week or two. Learn one fascinated fact about each country using the suggested list of activities above. Issue out stickers once a country of focus is complete.
- Community – Get the community and other families involved. Let each family prepare a presentation on a selected country based on the suggested activities above and display all the information gathered on a colourful collage on Bristol board. On a planned day, gather together with the families and share all your fascinating findings! Then children can swap stickers on their passports and enjoy some yummy international foods. Fun! This can also work well for homeschoolers!
- Worldwide – Create a pen pal network with other participating families around the globe and encourage your children to explore other countries by make new international friends whom they can communicate with and swap country stickers via snail mail. Send each other little snippets and samples of life in your country which can be added to your passport. Use the list of activities for ideas.
- Classroom – Assign individual passports to all your students and use it as a means to explore various countries around the world for Geography class. Have an international day party after all your “travels” in which the students share ethnic meals from their respective cultures.
The true purpose of this passport and on-going activity is to encourage children to learn about the world and people around them which will help broaden their perspective in so many ways. With this passport, you can offer your children fun, engaging activities to introduce them to the many unique lifestyles of others and develop a sincere respect for them. It’s this multicultural diversity which makes our planet one beautiful mosaic, gleaming colours from all corners of the Earth. Let them explore what the world has to offer and build a mutual understanding for their neighbors in this global village we share together. Encourage the ideas of peaceful coexistence and community building. The values we instill in our children and students while they are young are what will make a difference tomorrow. These children are our future. So, let’s work together to nourish brighter, cooperative citizens of society for the sake of humanity.
Afterall, it was Mark Twain who said,
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
So, are you ready for a trip of a lifetime? Let’s go with this Around The World Passport! Share with us in the comments below how you plan on using this passport. Do you you have any other creative twists to the activity which you’d like to suggest and share with the MHK readers? Let us know! We’d love to hear about it.