Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Summer Culture Fun for Kids

We're in the home straight now as this school year races to an end. Six weeks of silent alarm clocks, days stetching into each other with no fixed routine and no place to be. For some bliss, for others a scary prospect. But a summer break with a theme and a focus will soon turn any doubting frowns into fun smiles.

We're exploring Germany during some of the holidays but for the majority of the summer break we'll be home in the Netherlands so I've decided to get my children exploring some other places in the world without leaving the house. Well, without leaving the country in any case.

At the beginning of each week we're home I plan to give my three sons a little suitcase with a pack which will help them learn about the culture of one particular country or place. In our case it will be Britain, New York State and Madagascar, the first two because we have family ties to both places. Here's how I plan to go about our summer of culture fun......

Firstly the suitcase will contain:

  •  a cover sheet with the country/ place name, map and a blank flag template.
  • a basic fact list for the children to discover and fill in over the course of the week: population, nearest country, language spoken there, native language name for the country, most famous landmark, capital city - that type of thing.
  • colouring pages related to the country/place.
  • a recipe for a national dish - for the children to cook/make during the week.
  • instructions to head to the library and borrow books about the place/country.
The suitcase will also include envelopes for them to randomly open with different missions such as these:

  1. Find the country/place in an atlas.
  2. Paint the national flag. 
  3. Make the national flag with iron on beads.
  4. What is the climate like there? What would you pack if you were to visit there? Ask them to go pack a bag as if they were going on a trip there. 
  5. Find out about an animal that lives there which you can't find in the Netherlands. Write a few lines about it. Cut out pictures of what it eats. Draw the animal. Use playdough to make the animal. Make a painting. The possibilities are endless!
  6. What food is a speciality there? 
  7. What sport do they play there? Ask the children to try and play the game i. The garden or at the local park. Improvise if you don't have exactly the right tools.
  8. Complete a jigsaw puzzle that has the country/place in it (we have puzzles of Europe). Take a picture of the country, print it out and stick it on the fact sheet.
  9. Listen to some music from the country. Dance. Try and learn a few steps from the national dance if there is one.
  10. Learn to count to five in the local language. 
  11. Send a postcard to someone in the country. 
  12. What is the national currency? 
  13. Watch a YouTube video about the country.
  14. Play a game online relevant to the country.
  15. Do a word search. You can find word search generators online so you can create your own and make it as easy or as difficult as necessary.
  16. Do a craft.
  17. What national holidays are celebrated? 
All activities and questions can be made age appropriate. My eldest is 8 but spends little time on the computer at home and tends to use it in school for Dutch language and maths related activities so it will be good for him to use the internet to find out facts. You can be as creative as you like - for example if there are volcanoes in your chosen country you could use an experiment to bring some volcanic action to your garden.

Bring in history and social studies for older children, talk about the difficulties the country faces. The possibilities are endless!  

I will also suggest they contact family and friends to ask for help with different questions about New York State and Britain. 

I've set up a Pinterest board called Summer Culture Fun where resources will be collated - anyone wanting to join in let me know and I will add you as a pinner.  


  1. Hi Amanda,
    The activity you have planned is actually a 7th grade school project that a colleague and I "taught" for many years at The American School of The Hague. Although it is an excellent project, I hope that your sons also spend lots of "holiday time" on holiday like playing with the neighborhood kids, visiting local parks and museums, and just having some free time to amuse themselves and enjoy summer vacation.Linda@Wetcreek Blog

    1. Their summer is commitment free - like every summer! Have no fear :-)

  2. This sounds like great fun! Can't wait to hear more about how it goes. :)

  3. A lovely idea. My children's school did this in Astana as part of their culture topics. They would 'fly' to a different country which was stamped into their 'passports'. On the plane they got to eat a national dish and so on and so forth. The kids loved it. NOt sure I have the energy to do this at home, however! Hats off to you and hope you all have a lot of fun.