May
20
2015

Summer Activities with Little Passports!

Summer is just around the corner and you may be getting a little worried about how to keep the kiddos busy. We asked a few moms to share how a Little Passports subscription can help! Our friend Amanda from House on Holiday has given us a wonderful description of how she and her son enjoy Little Passports, and how it keeps him active and learning while school is out. Read about their Brazil adventure below.

Keep the Kids Busy this Summer with Little Passports!

Summer in Alabama is extremely hot and humid, and when school is over you will find most children drinking lemonade and enjoying their days near a sprinkler, pool or lake. However, there are some days when the heat is a little too much and you must bring the children indoors to escape the sting of the summer sun. These kinds of days make the perfect opportunity to take your child on an imaginary journey to a land far, far away with the Little Passports World Edition subscription.

Kids Love Receiving Mail

My son, Ocie, is always excited when he learns he has received a new package from Sam and Sofia. The first thing we do is pull out the world map, place the pin sticker on the new country to mark our visit, place the flag stamp in his passport and the country sticker on the blue suitcase. Now we are ready for takeoff!

The souvenirs from Sam and Sofia are perfectly suited for little explorers. For example, the Brazil package contained a chunk of amethyst that Sam and Sofia found while visiting an amethyst mine. We examined the sparkly rock with a magnifying glass and talked about how it can be made into beautiful jewelry.

Share Your Own Connections

The next thing I do is read the letter from Sam and Sofia to my son. We look up photos of some of the landmarks that are mentioned in the letters online, which my son finds fascinating. My husband and I have always enjoyed traveling the world, so sometimes we are lucky enough to have our own photos of the destination that we can show our son.  Below are photos from my husband’s trip to Brazil (Clockwise from top left:  sunset over the Amazon River; a baby sloth; birds flying over the Amazon River; a piranha).Fun with Activities & Recipes

The puzzles and activities included in the packages are fun and educational. My son learned new Portuguese words with the Brazil package and practiced saying some of them to his cousins.

The recipes included in the Little Passports packages are a great way to escape the summer heat and spend quality time with your child. Our Brazil package included a recipe for a yummy chocolate treat known as Brigadeiro. My son helped me measure the ingredients and roll the balls of chocolate into the chocolate sprinkles. Once the recipe was complete, we were able to enjoy a sweet afternoon treat.

The Boarding Zone

The boarding pass included with each package includes a code for accessing online games at the Little Passports Boarding Zone. The Brazil edition had an online soccer game. However, soccer is also meant to be enjoyed outdoors, so we braved the heat and had a soccer game of our own in the back yard! On his trip to Brazil, my husband had picked up a Brazilian soccer jersey as a souvenir for my son, so we dressed him accordingly.

Fun Ways to Explore the Destination Further

I research each country further to gather ideas for crafts and activities that can be used to complement each Little Passports package. I am usually able to find materials in my home that can be used without having to go buy anything. For example, in our Brazil package we were introduced to the Amazon Rainforest, so I had the idea of creating our own rainforest in the wooded area behind our house. We gathered up all of my son’s stuffed animals and placed them in the trees and on the ground. I then found rainforest sounds that could be downloaded to my phone and played through loud speakers. This made our imaginary rainforest feel even more realistic.

I also had glitter visors and colored feathers left over from a previous craft project, and used these to create a Brazilian Carnival headdress. I downloaded some Samba music on my phone, played it over a speaker, and attempted to dance with my son as we sported our new headdresses. He was not too thrilled about the dancing, but we still had fun with it and it was a great way for us to spend quality time together!

 

Amanda House is a wife, mother, full time human resources professional and part time photographer. She and her family enjoy traveling, and in her spare time she blogs about their adventures across the globe.

 


 

 

Start your own adventure! Save $15 on a 12-Month Plan with code: BUSYKIDS15

Looking for more summer activities? Check out some more below!

Make Your Own Recycled Tin-Can-Robot!

Shake It To Make It: Easy Ice Cream Recipe

 

 

Discount is only valid on a new 12-Month Plan. It is not valid on renewals, and cannot be retroactively applied to past orders.

May
18
2015

Fun Facts About the Tower of London!

The Tower of London

The Tower History

The Tower of London is a medieval castle that has served many purposes. It was a royal residence, an exotic zoo, and was eventually turned into a prison! Let’s rewind and start from the beginning with William the Conqueror who was the Tower’s first resident. He built the castle in the 1070s as a place to stay when in London, as well as for protection, though the original castle was only two stories high!

Next came William II, who built a stone wall around the castle in 1097, followed by Richard the Lionheart, who added a moat for extra safety during his reign (1189-1199)! The castle had a few more residents, including Kings Henry III and Edward I, who expanded the castle to look much like it does today. Check out some fun facts below.

Tower of London Fun Facts

The Ravens at the Tower of London

• From the Wall Walk (a path along the top of the massive wall which built to protect the Tower and its residents) you can see the famous ravens. No one knows when or why they arrived, but legend has it that if any of the six birds ever leaves the Tower, the kingdom will fall. Don’t scare them away!

• For about 500 years, the majority of England’s coins were made at the Tower of London. The place where coins are made is called a ‘Mint.’ Originally, the coins were made by hand, with workers using a hammer to stamp the design onto the blank piece of metal. Later a machine called a screw-press was used. By the early 1800s, a bigger space was needed and the Mint was moved out of the Tower to a new building.

• The Tower houses the Crown Jewels, a set of priceless jewels which includes the famous Star of Africa diamond and the Imperial Crown.

The Royal Menagerie

A menagerie is a collection of wild or exotic animals. The first record of animals being kept at the Tower dates back to 1210, during the reign of King John (1199-1216). Back then, you could find all kinds of animals from all over the world, from lions and kangaroos to elephants, polar bears and ostriches. The Menagerie was a popular attraction, giving visitors the chance to see animals they would otherwise have never gotten to see. Due to safety concerns–for both the animals and caretakers– the Menagerie was closed in 1832, and the animals were moved to the London Zoo.

The Prison

Anne Boleyn

The Tower of London’s prison held some of Great Britain’s most infamous inmates. One of the most famous prisoners was Anne Boleyn, the second wife of  Henry VIII. Other famous royals included Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for just a week, and two princes, Edward and Richard, who were only 12 and 9 years old! In the late 18th and 19th century the tower was used less commonly for prisoners.

Want to know more about England? Learn with our World Edition: http://bit.ly/1FuoUze
May
14
2015

Raising Global Citizens: A Mom on the Move!

We love talking to moms around the world. We find it fascinating to learn about the variety of activities offered to children around the world and compare them to what we have at home. It is also a great inspiration for thinking up new activities to do with the kiddos, or even a way to learn about kid friendly destinations when planning our next vacation!

Each country and culture is filled with wonderful new adventures, so when we met our new friend, Rachel Hackett, a mom and a blogger who is currently living in Germany, we couldn’t wait to ask her a few questions!  Rachel has been on the move with her family for almost 7 years, living in Germany and Kuwait. Hear her story below.

Little Passports: What’s it like to be an American raising kids in Germany?

Raising Global Citizens - Germany
Rachel Hackett: Germany is a dream for raising children! The entire nation puts a strong emphasis on child-friendly and family oriented experiences. There is always a playground within walking distance in any direction, more adventure parks than I can count, and endless opportunities to explore nature, gardens, castles and ruins. Because winters here can be long and cold, they even offer elaborate indoor warehouses full of bouncy castles, climbing domes, indoor mazes and go-carts. Germans also choose not to limit their outdoor time to just warmer months. As a German friend of mine stated, “There is no such thing as bad weather. Just bad clothing.” Ha! That is exactly the mentality of the culture. Snow gear is required in German schools, as even in the snow and freezing temperatures kids are outdoors playing!
Raising Global Citizens - Germany
The best part of raising my kids in Germany is the opportunity for travel and hands-on learning. We can talk about the Eiffel Tower and then drive 4 hours to see it! Questions about London? Let’s go! We have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to many places thanks to living in such a centralized European location.

LP: Your husband is ex-military. What was it like moving from place to place with your family?

RH: First, I’d like to send a HUGE thank you to all of those that serve this great country! Without your sacrifice and courage our freedoms would not exist today. Secondly, I’d like to give a loud, standing applause to all of the spouses left behind to continue on as normal, taking care of their children and home (though now acting as both parents). Often times your sacrifice gets overlooked, but I see it and I say, ‘Thank you!’

As for our family, my husband had fulfilled most of his military commitments before our children were in the picture. Not long after our first child was born, his military obligation ended and he accepted a position in Kuwait as a contractor supporting the military. Due to that decision, we have been following his career around the globe! The process has been both exciting and terrifying!

In Kuwait, our family did not have base privileges, nor was military family allowed on base, as at that time it was considered a war zone. Nevertheless our family WAS there, completely immersed in the local culture! All in all we have been overseas now for almost 7 years and have moved a total of 7 times! The daily challenges and adapting can be stressful, but there’s also excitement at every turn!
Raising Global Citizens - Germany

LP: Where is the most interesting place you have lived?

RH
: I think Germany is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, but I’d have to say that Kuwait was most interesting solely because it was incredibly different than what I was used to. Other than my honeymoon, Kuwait was the first country out of the United States I had visited (nevertheless lived), and it was quite the shocker at first – but an amazing adventure!
Raising Global Citizens - Kuwait
• We experienced desert lands and the beach! This includes lots and lots of sand along with scorching temperatures and even the occasional sand storm!

Raising Global Citizens - Kuwait
• We visited the Kuwaiti Towers!
Raising Global Citizens - Kuwait
• We participated at the camel races (which was quite the ‘happening’ event)!
Raising Global Citizens - Kuwait

We used Kuwaiti Dinar in monetary transactions (which is almost 3.5 times stronger than the U.S. Dollar, by the way)!

We witnessed Ramadan on an annual basis! Ramadan is one of the holiest Islamic festivals that falls on the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar. During this month, Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours, and instead spend their time focused on charitable activities such as helping those in need. Muslims consider Ramadan as an opportunity to pray to gain forgiveness for the sins they have committed. Though our family is not Muslim, legally we had to abide by the law and also refrain from eating and drinking in public during daylight hours.

We got accustomed to their traditional attire! Men wear dishdasha’s (a full-length, white robe with a center opening) and women wear abaya’s (a full-length, long-sleeved black dress) & hijab (a hair piece that covers their hair and neck). Some women even wear a burqa (which covers their entire face).

We experienced their mosques and calls to prayer 5 times per day! This was such a cool experience for me! Though we never actually entered a mosque during prayer time, you couldn’t avoid the calls to prayer if you tried! They were heard from every corner and even in stores. It was common to stop while shopping to pray. Even large, chain stores had prayer rooms and areas to remove your shoes.
Raising Global Citizens - Kuwait

LP: As a mom, how do you encourage your kids to learn about the world and other cultures?
Raising Global Citizens
RH: It’s almost impossible for them not to, as they have not actually lived in The States since they were less than 1 year old (my daughter even having been born here in Germany and never been to The States)! We also have extended family from South America, so my children are continually exposed to other languages, currency, attire, and cultures. I think our biggest challenge is that because cultures are so different from place to place, there are a lot of questions asked and a lot of answers given. We encourage the spark of curiosity and diversity! We have programs (such as Little Passports) to guide us even further into other cultures, and not only explain to our children, but show by example that one way is not right or wrong, but different! Our children mimic our optimism (or negativity) toward how we view other ways of life and other parts of the world! Though we have a lot of differences, we really are all the same!

 

Simply Rachel is a DIY, Family,, & Lifestyle blog, founded in November of 2014. Written by Rachel Hackett, a self-proclaimed ‘Type A’ creative junkie & homeschooling mom, Simply Rachel chronicles my passions while revealing the illusions of being a Supermom.

 

 

Loved this? Check out the rest of our Raising Global Citizens series below:

Raising Global Citizens in Paris!

Raising Global Citizens in Montreal!

May
11
2015

Explore the Animal Kingdom with Preschoolers!

Exploring the Animal Kingdom with Finger Puppets!

Last month, subscribers to our preschool edition, Early Explorers, received their packages and discovered a very exciting world theme: Animals!

Early Explorers explores a new world theme each month, and our Animals package was a popular one, as everyone knows that kids love animals! The package includes an activity booklet, a Flashlight Adventure, and more, including our Finger Puppet kit with seven animals from around the world. They’ll be practicing their animal noises all day.

 

 

 

The fun begins with choosing which animal puppet to put together first. The assembly is super fast and easy so your kiddo will be ready to put on a puppet show before you know it!

 

Check out the step by step below:

1. Lay out your finger puppets and choose your favorite one to open. Carefully help your kiddo remove the pieces from the bag.

2. Put together all the pieces of your finger puppet. Start by peeling off  the stickers and applying them on the puppet, your kiddo might want to try this step themselves (don’t worry, they are easy to stick and unstick). Next, loop the band through the holes to complete the finger puppet.

3. Place you fingers inside the loop from the top of the animal, so that your fingers act as the feet. Walk with your fingers, and watch your finger puppet come to life!

4. Repeat steps 1-3 with the remaining finger puppets!

Want to start your preschooler’s Early Explorers adventure? Click here.

Want to know more about Early Explorers? Learn more below!

Explore World Music with Preschoolers!

Read the Reviews for Early Explorers!