How to Hold an Epic Group Cultural Day for Your Kids!

It's easy to expose your kids to the wonders of the world when you join forces with friends. See how fun and easy it is to do by holding a Group Cultural Day of your own! 

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I received free products for this post from Oriental Trading in exchange for writing a review.  All opinions are my own.

If you've been around here much at all, you know that we love exploring the world. 

We've spent the past two years taking fun "trips" as a family from the comfort of our own living room with the Passport to Fun gift I gave G for Christmas one year.

Then last Christmas, our shepherd Hezzie joined the family and took us on a whirlwind tour as we joined him on his Amazing Journey Around the World in search of baby Jesus.

Because Gv enjoys these little cultural adventures so much, I thought it would be great fun to take a little hop around the globe with our homeschooling pals.

We held our first Group Cultural Day last week and Gv is already asking when we can take our next pretend flight!

Flying the friendly skies!

Holding a Group Cultural Day can be as simple or as complex as you feel up to. My lazy self was planning to keep things on the simple side, but the creative mom who graciously hosted the event at her home added something special to our day that made everything way more fun for the kids:

A plane! How cool is that?

Her idea wasn't complicated, but it was so much fun. She picked up a few tri-fold presentation boards to tape together, then printed off all sorts of photos taken from airplane windows to stick along the sides of the plane. 

Each window had a different view! Some showed the wing, some the sun, some clouds, and some snowy mountains below!

Little chairs were lined up and given seat numbers, then there was a special spot up front for the pilot to take, along with an appropriate photo view.

Boarding the plane and finding the seat that matched her ticket.

But before boarding the plane, our little group assembled in the "waiting area" with their carry-on bags for an introduction to the world. 

I'd discovered some fun tools over at the Oriental Trading site to help make this trek more fun and pulled out the first one to go along with my spiel:

I dubbed this plush globe "Hug-A-World" (Any GG fans out there get the reference?) The continents and all the labels are backed by velcro!

We talked about the Earth and how it's covered in water and land, then how those splotches of land are called continents. We talked about our little spot on the globe and then Gv and I taught them all the "Continents Song" for a memory aid. We repeated the chorus while looking at a children's atlas and then turned a few pages further to see how many different countries are on each continent.

Continents Song
(Sung to tune of Ten Little Indians)

North America, South America, Europe, Africa
Asia, Australia, and Antarctica
I can name all seven continents
In this great, big world!

Then it was time to board our flight to go visit some of those countries!

Creative Mom had printed out (& even laminated!) tickets for each child with seat numbers on them. She stuck these all in a cup so that the passengers could draw their ticket before each flight -- sitting in all the seats over the course of the day was much more fun!

She'd also had each child draw a number when they arrived, deciding the pilot order for the day. We had the perfect amount of pilots for each flight, so everyone had a chance to don the cap and steer the plane!

Gv actually got to be the first pilot! As you can see, she really enjoyed steering the plane!

Once everyone was seated and the safety instructions covered, we took off from our home here in Florida to head to our first stop, The United Kingdom.

At the start of this flight, each child was given one of these fun Passport Notebooks to record travel memories in. Since most of our little guys aren't confident writers just yet, we showed them all a photo of the flag and had them do their best to draw it in their books.

While the artists were hard at work, I read my book selection for this country, to give them all a little introduction:

Each mom chose one or two countries to present. Dividing up the work like this meant less stress on everyone!

We landed and headed into the dining room for further exploration. I'd baked up some scones so the kids could sample some food and then we made a little wooden grenadier craft.

Scones were a super-simple snack for this day.

To make the scones, just mix 2 cups of flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder (make your own!), and a pinch of salt together in a bowl. Cut in 1 Tablespoon butter, then add in 1 Tablespoon honey, 1 egg, and 1 cup milk until just combined. Throw in a handful of chocolate chips (or dried fruit) and then pat into a flat mound on your baking mat and cut into triangles. Bake 15-20 minutes at 450 degrees (you might need to let them go a bit longer if you want them firmer, but I wanted mine soft.)

These couldn't be easier to create! Grab some flat peg clothespins, plain old markers or acrylic craft paint, and black pom poms. Glue a pom pom on the top of the clothespin, then draw on a face and color the red coat and black pants.

I'd gotten ahold of these fabulous bookmarks to give out to the kids. Since I only had a few from each location, I decided to ask the group to share facts about the country after we visited in order to earn that bookmark.

This cutie earned herself a bookmark on the first stop!

After that, it was back to the plane for our next flight. New seats were chosen, a new pilot took over the controls, and we all hopped on over to France.

We had a map similar to this that was great to hold up and show the kids during their flight to the next country!

Creative Mom had found a fabulous book for this flight, which I loved so much, I now want to get:

She also came up with the perfect craft + food activity, where the kids built their own little Eiffel Towers using sugar wafer cookies and frosting.

Cookies and frosting? The kids jumped right into this activity!

This was a challenge, but completely appropriate for our group of 3-through-7-year-olds. The first ones to get their tower to stand earned a France bookmark.

I'm not sure if more frosting was used for construction glue, or for eating...

Back to the plane we went, this time, off to Germany. While the kids colored their flag in their passports, the next Wonder Mom walked the kids through a nonfiction book on the country that was full of great facts and photos.

After they landed, they were able to enjoy homemade spätzle and some German cookies (similar to thesewhile hearing this classic tale from the Brothers Grimm:
The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Italy was up next, where our kids got to hear Amazing Mom read this beloved children's book:

Strega Nona

They then had a lesson in pasta types -- sorting them and gluing them onto a paper to take home. This was a brilliant idea -- so easy to prep, yet so fun for the kids!

We then left Europe for Asia, where Fabulous Mom read them a fun travel tale before filling everyone's tummies with delicious Chinese take-out for lunch.

She also had the kids make cute paper lanterns while she shared all sorts of interesting facts about the country. With all that great information presented, the China bookmarks were in high demand!

Our next flight headed down under. Creative Mom read another fantastic book:

And then displayed a bit of genius by carting the kids outside to run off a bit of energy. She'd printed off some typical Australian animals and slid the photos into one of these cubes. Each child had the chance to roll the cube while the whole group jumped, ran, or crawled around, pretending to be that animal.

By this point, we were all getting a little tuckered out, but everyone returned to the plane and we headed off to explore our final country, Mexico.

I read this great book:


And then had the kids cut out their own papel picados out of tissue paper.

The passengers then collapsed into their seats as we took our final flight back home.

I passed out bookmarks for the countries we didn't visit (incentive to explore those at home!).

I'd gotten these adorable finger puppets to give out as an award for whoever could share the fanciest fact from the day, but after over four hours of traveling, these jet-setters were all just ready for a nap. 

I'd also gotten this fun magnetic maps skills game to help everyone practice directions, but we decided to save that to play with on another day.

We headed home to collapse from jet lag, but the day was a huge success. The kids were engaged and interested through every stop and we all agreed that it would be fun to do again in the future!

Creative Mom folded up the airplane and the kids are already looking forward to the next time she gets it out in the future.

Consider gathering a group of friends together to hold your own Cultural Day! Split up the countries and have everyone choose a book to read, a dish to share, an activity to try and you've got a great day all planned! Be sure to grab some fun extras from Oriental Trading and you're guaranteed a day that your kids won't soon forget!

Have you ever held a Cultural Day like this before?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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