Jul
1
2015

Exploring Australia and New Zealand with Kids

It’s almost fitting that the land Down Under is so hard to get to. Australia and New Zealand’s natural bounty, endless summers, and laid-back lifestyle beckon families around the world. But the long flight is worth the cost and the hours once you realize that everything you’ve heard actually isn’t over-hyped. The water really is that blue, the people really are that nice, and koalas really are the cuddliest animals.

Queenstown, New Zealand

The “adventure capital” of New Zealand, Queenstown is basically one big playground for both kids and adults. Start your visit with a gondola trip to the top of Bob’s Peak. Not only will you be rewarded with stunning views of the town and Lake Wakatipu, but you can get an adrenaline rush on the Skyline Luge (kids under 5 can ride with a parent). Zoom around the two tracks in your cart and take in the beautiful surroundings. After returning to the base of the mountain, refuel with one of the famous burgers from legendary Fergburger. Two doors down, Mrs. Ferg Gelataria provides the perfect sweet finish to a day of adventuring. For a scenic day trip, rent a car and head to Glenorchy, best known as Lord of the Rings territory. Here, you can go on easy walks and more challenging hikes as you picture hobbits and orcs wandering the forests.

Cairns, Australia

Cairns, on the northeast coast of Australia, is the only place in the world where two UNESCO World Heritage sites—the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest—sit side-by-side. A snorkeling or SCUBA trip on the reef is a must, of course. Most excursions last all day and will take you to a few snorkeling spots where you’ll see beautiful coral, angelfish, and maybe even Nemo! Next, explore Daintree, the world’s longest surviving rainforest—a whopping 135 million years old. This tropical wonderland is home to thundering waterfalls, picturesque valleys, and the Southern cassowary, a prehistoric-looking endangered bird. In between tours, you can cool off in the Esplanade Lagoon, a public pool in central Cairns where shallow waters and a play area make for a perfect kid-friendly outing.

Sydney, Australia

It should come as no surprise that Sydney is Australia’s most-visited city. The iconic opera house may be the crown jewel of Sydney, but that’s just the beginning of this metropolis’s beauty. Venture to Bondi Beach, where you can get a taste for surf life. Then take the coastal walk to Bronte, a nearby beach with an oceanside infinity pool open to all. You can also opt to take the ferry to Manly Beach, where wide, sandy beaches are ideal for picnics and building sandcastles. No trip Down Under is complete without seeing some of the indigenous animals, so don’t miss out on Featherdale Wildlife Park. Little ones will be excited to fill their park passports with stamps after seeing the Tasmanian devils, dingoes, and wombats. But the best part is how interactive the park is. Buy ice cream cones full of feed to entice kangaroos and wallabies with, and get a photo of yourself cuddling with a sleepy koala.

Melbourne, Australia

Melbs, as the locals call it, is a cultural destination on par with Sydney. Start your morning in the quaint neighborhood of St. Kilda at one of the many pastry shops lining Acland Street. Monarch Cakes has served old-school European treats here for more than 80 years. Very much a foodie destination, Melbourne also has a thriving street food scene. Try the dim sims at the South Melbourne Market, the large rolls of sushi hawked from Japanese walkups across the city, and the cute cafes hidden in laneways. If you could have only one educational visit on your trip, make it to the Melbourne Museum. Thanks to a recently opened, well-done exhibit on Aboriginals, the museum tells the story of the first people in Victoria through artifacts, art, and first-hand accounts. For another unforgettable learning experience, check out Scienceworks, where kids will marvel at images of outer space in the planetarium and do plenty of hands-on exploring.

 

Want to know more about Australia? Read more below!

Learn About Surfing in Australia

Jun
24
2015

Summer Activities for Kids!

Summer is here, the kids are on break from school, and you are dreading hearing those 3 words, “I am bored.”  Worry not, Little Passports always has your back! Keep the kiddos busy with our fun summer activities!

Make Handmade Ice Cream

Celebrate the hottest month of summer by whipping up delicious ice cream. Watch the kiddos shake, shake, shake until they have the perfect batch that they can enjoy from a bowl or eat right out of the bag! Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings.

 

Create Seed Paper Globes

Spend an afternoon creating seed paper globes. The best part? Once you’re done you can either give them  to friends and family or plant them in the ground!

 

 

 

Play our License Plate Find-It Game

Keep the kiddos busy on a summer road trip with this classic License Plate Find-It Game. Just print it out and watch the fun begin as they race to see who finds them all first.

 

 

 

 

Jun
24
2015

Summer Seed Paper Activity for Kids!

Looking for a fun summer activity for kids? Look no farther, create seed paper globes that you can give to friends and family! The globes can also be planted right in the ground, and then you can watch the flowers grow!

Seed Paper Globes

What You Will Need

  • 5-6 pieces of recycled paper
  • Food coloring (alternatively, use colored paper)
  • Seeds (small, thin seeds work best)
  • Biscuit cutter
  • Piece of screen material or a splatter screen
  • Cooling rack

Instructions

  1. Rip the pieces of paper into small bits and place into bowls. You’ll need one bowl for each color you want to use. For the globes, we used one bowl for blue and one smaller bowl for green.
  2. Add warm water and mix well so all of the paper is soaked.
  3. Add a few drops of the food coloring, as desired. (Alternatively, you can use colored paper and simply add warm water.)
  4. Let the paper soak in the water for 3-5 hours, or overnight.
  5. When the paper is well soaked, mix the paper into a pulp using a hand mixer (with an adult's help!), and then drain any excess water. Leave enough water to make sure the paper is very moist!
  6. Add your seeds to the pulp and mix by hand. Very small flower seeds, such as snapdragons or sweet William, work well. You could also use carrot seeds if you prefer to create an edible garden!
  7. Put the piece of screen material over the cooling rack. Place the biscuit cutter on the screen. Spoon some of the blue pulp into the center of the biscuit cutter and press down to fill the circle. Press and spread the mixture to make a uniform thickness of about ¼” thick. Add some ‘continents’ by pressing green pulp bits on top.
  8. Leave the screen in a warm spot and let dry for about 24 hours day. Next to a sunny window is best. If after 24 hours you find your globes aren’t completely dry, a hair dryer can help speed things along – but have an adult help!
  9. When your globes are completely dry, carefully remove them from the screen. Now, you can share them with friends and family or plant in the ground!

Want more summer activities? Check some more out below!

Shake It To Make It: Easy Ice Cream Recipe

Road Trip Activity Sheet

Jun
22
2015

Traditional South Asian Clothing: Sari

What is a Sari?

Sofia picked up a sari on her visit to India!

A Sari is a traditional South Asian garment that can range from five to nine yards! It’s usually wrapped around the waist withthe excess material draped over the shoulder. Typically, two long decorative borders run the length of the sari. Underneath the sari, a petticoat is typically worn and on top is a tight fitting blouse. Sari’s are available in a wide range of fabrics, including cotton, silk, satin and chiffon.  Some special occasion sari’s are even embroidered with real gold or silver thread!

Who wears Sari’s?

Women all around the world wear this beautiful 3-piece garment, but it is mainly worn by women in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,  Nepal and Afghanistan.

When are Sari’s Worn?

It takes art and time to skillfully place each corner, border and pattern of a sari correctly. That’s why, today, women typically save the effort for  attending special occasions such as a traditional puja ceremony, a wedding, or a lavish party.  Silk saris are usually preferred for grand traditional occasions and are meant to portray poise and sophistication.

However, there also women who wear sari’s in their day to day life as it is perfect for the hot climates of South Asia. The drape bares the midriff and creates a breezy feel for the wearer.

 

Want to know more about South Asian culture? Click below!

Celebrate Diwali with a Delicious Recipe

Celebrate Holi with a Colorful Powder Recipe

Jun
22
2015

Jet-Setting to Kenya with Little Passports

What’s the Little Passports World Edition all about? It’s more than just a monthly subscription – it’s a conversation starter for curious kids who want to learn about the world. We asked guest blogger Amanda Shaw, a writer and mom of three who writes about her kids’ adventures, to tell us how her family “travels” with Little Passports. Read on!

Going on an African safari is on my bucket list. Riding across the plains and through the grasslands in a Jeep, seeing those big, impressive animals (the ones that feature so prominently in storybooks!) in their natural habitat, meeting the people, learning new phrases and trying new foods: what an amazing family vacation that would be!

This month, our package from Little Passports brought us to the table to talk about lions and giraffes, hippopotami (and if you say “hippopotamuses”, you’re also correct) and more—and got us thinking about what it would be like to travel in sub-Saharan African.

First things first! A sticker on our well-traveled suitcase and another in the passport, and Noah’s ready to locate Kenya on the map.

The image of the giraffe on the postcard was a giveaway for Noah; he immediately started scanning Africa. I read the letter from Sam and Sofia to him, and by tracing his finger along the countries with a coastline on the Indian Ocean, it didn’t take him long to find the country that starts with a ‘K’.

What I love about this package is how it highlights the people of Kenya from the beginning. From Sam and Sofia, we learn a bit about the Maasai tribe, which is perhaps the most well known, but in the activities booklet, we also learn the names of several other tribes; and that gave us something to go on when we later searched online for photos of Kenyan tribal dress.

We finished up the letter which led us to our souvenir: paper made from elephant poo! (Oh, yes, my 6-year-old boy was overjoyed. And oh, yes, he smelled it.)

We decided it would be perfect for keeping notes of our questions as we went along. The Kenya activities were perfect for my kindergartner who is just learning to write. He diligently scrawled the names of the Kenyan tribes to find out the country we’ll be traveling to next.

After all that hard work, it was time for a game, so Noah used his Little Passports Boarding Pass to access the Kenya games online. His favorite was making his own flag and coat of arms based on his favorite things; he made one for his little sister, too!

Of course, that was the perfect lead-in to the craft. Now that he had a flag, he was ready to make a Kenyan mask: red for giving, ovals for strength, and bold lines for bravery. He even made a shield to go with it.

And later, as supper was simmering, we learned that the plural of hippopotamus is hippopotami or hippopotamuses; the plural of rhinoceros is the same or rhinoceroses; the traditional costumes of Kenyan tribes are colorful and practical for protecting the people from both heat and cold; and there are plenty of examples of Benga music to be found on YouTube. We rocked a few of them in the kitchen.

Read more from Amanda here:

Raising Global Citizens in Montreal!

Exploring Thailand with Kids!

Start your own adventure! Save $15 on a new 12-Month subscription with code: SUNNY15

Amanda Shaw is mom to three spirited children and doubles as Director of Content Marketing at Webrunner Media Group. On any given day, she dons a tutu or a hard hat and wields a Swiss army knife or the mighty pen.