Here’s the post you have all asked me to share for a while – an ultimate recap of my favorite travel-themed activities with kids. So, let´s have a look at our creative playroom with a travel twist!

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Creative Travel-themed Activities With Kids

Travel-themed Activities With Kids

About this post

Since I love sharing sneak peeks of our creative playroom on IG Highlights, I often get questions on travel-themed activities with kids. Many of my blog readers are family travelers, so bonding over those fun travel-related ideas at home makes everyone beyond excited. In this article, I will show you how I have organized a creative playroom for my girls along with some unique ideas I have discovered around the world.

How it all started

While my blog is already a full-time job, my old readers would know that it all started as a hobby. During the first few years of motherhood, I had by my side a husband with a 9 to 5 job and senior in-laws with health problems. So, it was either hiring a nanny or taking a step back from work to raise my kids the way I wanted. That perfect balance of combining motherhood and work is easy to talk about, but actually hard to achieve in real life. Not every profession comes with a schedule that allows you to return home full of energy (to invest in creative family activities). Even more so, not every woman these days has a chance to plan a long maternity leave. Therefore, I consider myself incredibly blessed for being able to fully dedicate a few years to my kids, which deep down inside has always felt like the best investment.

There might be some working moms/dads reading this post and feeling like they have missed out or were not able to provide the same for their kids – please don´t, the fact that you are even reading this article already means that you are trying your best. Sometimes it´s not the number of hours you can spend with your kids, but the quality of this family time. Here´s when those inspiring travel-themed activities with kids come in so handy. All the fun & interesting things you share with the little ones will stay in your family memory box forever – that’s what really matters.

Additionally, in my case, the pandemic was a huge driving force for inventing new travel-themed activities with kids. Especially, here in Spain, where we were hit so hard and could not move in between the provinces for quite some time. Since I have always wanted to keep sharing my passion for globetrotting and experiencing new cultures with the kids, the lockdown has made me research & educate myself on travel-themed activities with kids even more.

In this post, I will share with you handy links on where to get our creative essentials internationally. However, keep in mind that some of the books & games were purchased during my travels around the world (and others might be sold exclusively in Spain). Nevertheless, I hope you can still find something useful to keep that family wanderlust fueling.

If you have questions about certain things in the pictures – let me know in the comments below!

Travel-themed Activities With Kids blog
Travel-themed Activities With Kids: Myth Atlas from Twelve Mythological Worlds (I adore this book myself), Atlas de España, and Atlas of Europe

Learning & Experimenting with my kids

Almost everything you see in my kids’ creative playroom is either focused on another country or learned from another culture. Being fluent in 5 languages and having a few expat experiences up my sleeve helps me discover insider parenting tips & new sources of inspiration every day. So, I plan to update this post with new things I keep discovering on the go.

Plus, as I have already mentioned, I was a stay-at-home mom for a few years. So, investing lots of time in figuring out new approaches & activities for my kids felt very natural and helped me to embrace my wanderlust from home in a new way.

Books on raising kids in different cultures

Reading new books on raising children in different countries was a huge inspiration for me.

My current favorites are: “Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child with Love and Limits” by Robin Berman MD, “The Montessori Toddler: A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being” by Simone Davies, “Kindergarten is Too Late” by Masaru Ibuka, “The Awakened Family: A Revolution in Parenting” by Shefali Tsabary, and “Bringing Up Bébé” by Pamela Druckerman.

More multicultural parenting books from different parts of the world: “Parenting Without Borders”, “The Danish Way of Parenting”, “Brave Parenting”, “A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets”, “How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting“, and “Hunt, Gather, Parent“.

How we bonded over travel-themed activities with kids

The biggest outcome of investing in travel-themed activities with kids is the fact that my girls still prefer board games to gadgets. Even though I do not believe in prohibiting tech stuff for the little ones (it only generates more interest – plus, when kids see their friends doing it – they feel excluded). Nevertheless, I stand for giving them better alternatives, so that they can deliberately choose to paint or do handicrafts instead of watching TV.

Another important part of the process is choosing your travel-themed activities with kids. Children mirror us more than we think, so it is important not only to entertain them but to find interests you might have in common. I know moms and dads who do not like painting but enjoy Lego, Model Cars, or Warhammers – these days with the internet you can give a travel twist to almost everything: build international landmarks from Lego, recreate rare model cars from Europe, make your own Warhammers and play against other fans around the world.

Yes, I always give a new activity at least one try, but I don´t push something that I hate doing myself: these days there are so many ideas out there and everyone can find something matching his/her tastes. Sometimes we even rediscover those old-forgotten passions thanks to the little ones. This way, I have initially thought of focusing on sharing with my girls an obsession for travel & books. Instead, in the process of testing new board games, I realized this one was such a huge gap throughout my childhood (we would never play board games as a family, despite my mom not working for a long while). So, it´s a new ritual I am trying to establish in my own family.

Somehow it’s often about listening to the kids and letting them provide me with new self-care ideas instead of inspiring them with my very own hobbies.

You can check out some of our recent travel-related activities via IG Highlight Motherhood.

Travel-themed Activities With Kids family travel
Mideer Geometric Felt Puzzle, GEOMAG Magnetic Sticks, Wooden Balls Game, Magneticus, and Wooden Geoboard
Travel-themed things to do with kids
Travel-themed Activities With Kids – you can clearly see that we are all obsessed with Egypt: See Inside World Religions, Antiguo Egipto, and Increibles monumentos 
international animated movies kids
Unfortunately, only some of these DVDs had English subs (it was all in French – so I would translate what I got for the kids)
Travel-themed Activities With Kids books
Our Alice in Wonderland Projector Book

Our Creative Playroom Room for Kids

Since our games collection at home kept growing, I have organized a separate creative playroom (which was initially planned as a simple storage room). Also, since I noticed that having too many games in their bedrooms was not giving the kids a chance to rest properly, I decided to move most of their toys out. Playing only one more minute is so tempting when your private space is loaded up with toys.

So, what are some of the essentials in our creative playroom?

Lots of toys and activities for my kids we discovered from Montessori, an educational method involving hands-on learning and the natural interests of the little ones. Some of the first books I got here in Spain were Montessorízate (which comes with lots of printables) and 100 Actividades Montessori. Then I also read the international bestsellers – The Montessori Toddler and The Montessori Home.

Travel-themed Activities With Kids
Our Creative Playroom Room for Kids
Our Creative Playroom Room tour for Kids ideas
Our Creative Playroom Room for Kids (at the top right of the shelf you can see a huge box with costumes, essential for fostering imagination and exploring their personalities)

Artsy Ideas with Kids

Artsy activities feel like a great way to boost creativity during the work-school week and make something exciting with the kids.

I deeply believe that our eye always has to travel, even when we technically can not set off on a new trip anytime soon. Anything that exposes us to the beauty & diversity of the world around us is an enriching experience. If we consume informational junk food daily, we end up talking & thinking about it, then it eventually becomes part of who we are.

So, we need to filter cautiously everything that surrounds us. Don´t have an artsy surrounding in your life? – Create one.

How does my family get exposed to new creative things across the globe?

Travel Activities With Kids from home
Marbling Art Kit (here´s a similar one by National Geographic)
Travel-themed Activities With Kids storytelling
Mini Glass Jars with Cork Lids and Craft Sand (my kids´ favorite for creative mess)
Travel Activities With Kids
Such a unique book, called How to Find Flower Fairies / Read more about our favorite illustrators around the world
Travel-themed Activities With Kids led box
Led Light Box

Interesting Things to Try With Kids

  • skip the usual A4, and get the drawing paper roll (to let the kids choose the size of their works instead of limiting them right from the start)
  • use finger paint inside the bathtub (so that the kids can have a complete freedom to paint everywhere around them)
  • deliberately let them break things & make a creative mess every now and then (check out this video by Neil DeGrasse)
  • while the kids are sitting, set puzzle mats under their feet (so that they can experiment with the textures + it helps my kids to be more relaxed and focused for longer)

International Board Games

As I have already mentioned, the world of board games is the whole new universe my kids brought into my life. these are known for numerous benefits: increasing brain function, embracing patience & strategy skills, and simply making us spend fun quality time off screens in the company of people we love. While I often buy board games around the world and many of them do not come with English instructions, thanks to YouTube, you can learn the rules after a 3-minute-long tutorial.

Here are a few great ones to embrace travel-themed activities with kids: Alhambra, Akropolis, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Race Across the USA, Trekking The World, Trekking the National Parks, Castles of Burgundy, Lost Cities, and The Scattered Pharaoh.

Check out my list of Spain Board Games for more ideas.

Travel-themed Activities With Kids creative
A few recent favorites: Celestia, The Scattered Pharaoh, The Color Monster Childrens Game, Alice’s Garden, Shopping List, Gigamic Yogi , Mensch argere dich night, and The Maldita Diamond
Playroom ideas travel inspiration
SmartGames Color Code Cognitive Skill-Building Puzzle (very helpful for the kids who reverse letters) and Brain Cheeser Magnetic Travel Game

Storytelling & Kamishibai

Kamishibai can be literally translated as “paper theatre” from Japanese. It is a traditional form of Japanese street theatre, which combines a set of standard-size illustrated paper cards paired with a scripted performance on the back (for the narrator). Unlike children’s storybooks, the text is written on the reverse of illustrated cards so that the story can be easily read while pictures are shown.

It is a great idea to take storytelling at home to a whole new level. My current Kamishibai set is from the Spanish company SIETE LEGUAS, each story I own comes from a different country and there´s a description in 4 different languages (usually, English, Spanish, German, and French). So, it is also a handy tool for learning Spanish or any other European language with the little ones.

Creative Playroom Tour Ideas kids Kamishibai
Kamishibai (ours is by SIETE LEGUAS, available only in Spain) – this one in Germany is shipped internationally

International Cooking with Kids

Having a quick glimpse at our constant foodie experiences in Spain makes it pretty obvious that my family is into trying new recipes all the time. Cooking with kids is messy, but mine love it so much that they often talk me into it against my will.

I have recently discovered these Italian books: MAMMA, CUCINO DA SOLO, Mamma, cucino da solo per picnic e merende, and Mamma, cucino da solo per le feste. While all of them are only available in Italian (and no one in my family speaks Italian), the recipes are entirely visual and focus on kids’ solo cooking from your age. You can zoom in on a few pages of this book on Amazon to see how it is organized.

cooking with kids

While most of these recipes of MAMMA, CUCINO DA SOLO do not entirely fit within my healthy habits routine, my girls feel so empowered after cooking without my help. With gluten-free, and sugar-free recipes it usually takes more skills to nail it: so, since we do not use it daily, my focus here is to let them experiment and have fun with preparing foods.

For older kids, you find more fun cookbooks around the world: The International Cookbook for Kids, The Complete Cookbook for Young Scientists, Cooking Class Global Feast, The World In My Kitchen, International Cooking for Kids, In the French Kitchen with Kids, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids, Chinese dim sum cookbook for kids, The International Kid-Friendly Cookbook, Baking with Grandmas from Around the World, The Kid’s Around the World Cookbook, and American Girl: Around the World Cookbook.

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Travel-themed Activities With Kids Creative Playroom Tour

For more inspiration check my Pinterest board – Travel From Home.

at lifestyle crossroads travel blog resources
  • Accommodation: For short stays, I usually book via Agoda, Booking, and Hotellook
  • Tours&excursions: My favorites for guided tours are GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook
  • Museums&attractions: Get mobile tickets for attractions via Tiqets (use ATC5 code for a 5% discount via this link)
  • Semi-private & private tours: LivTours is my favorite place for unique & crafted experiences in Europe
  • For Foodies: Eatwith is a unique platform for finding culinary experiences with locals around the world
  • Audio guides: Book audio excursions & tours in 35+ countries via WeGoTrip
  • Flights: Find the best deals with Skyscanner, WayAway, and Kiwi
  • Driving in a new country? – Check out Tripiamo guides (do not miss Tripiamo Driving in Spain Guide)
  • Train&bus tickets: Currently, I book via Trainline, Busbud, and Omio
  • Car rental: To find the best deals, I use Rental Cars and Discover Cars
  • Top E-Sim: GigSky helps me to avoid roaming fees and provides connectivity everywhere (even on a cruise ship)
  • Internet Security on the road: Connect safely to public Wi-Fi and bypass censorship with NordVPN
  • Transfers: For individual transfer services, I like GetTransfer and Kiwitaxi
  • Suitcases&Luggage: Discover where to store your luggage on the go with Radical Storage
  • Travel Insurance: Find the best trip insurance plans via VisitorsCoverage and EKTA
  • Compensation for delayed/canceled flights: Check out AirHelp and Compensair
  • Valencia Tours: Get an extra 5% off any Valencia&Go tour with the code crossroads5
  • Renting Bikes: To find motorcycles, scooters, quads, and bicycles, I use BikesBooking
  • Package Tours: Head to CheapOairExpedia, and Tourhub
  • For Bloggers: To monetize my blog, I work with Travelpayouts and Stay22