To me, there’s nothing more exciting than inviting the world into our home. Today, I’m sharing seven *rad* resources you can use to explore the world from home with your family!
My favourite thing about these resources is that they are perfect for the whole family to learn about the world together – and there’s plenty of opportunities for interaction!
Consider each of these resources a wonderful invitation to spark your family’s curiosity and imagination, and use as a jumping-off point for further explorations!
1. LETTERS FROM AFAR
Is there anything more exciting than real snail mail? I think not!
Letters from Afar is an amazing monthly subscription that we’ve been subscribing to since 2018. Each month you get sent the most beautifully illustrated letter (seriously, these letters are individual works of art!!!) from the intrepid adventurer Isabelle (inspired by the real life 19th-century English explorer, Isabella Bird) as she explores the world.
Destinations are diverse. An example of some of the recent letters are Kangaroo Island, Australia; Nuuk, Greenland; and Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Shawnee, the artist and creator of Letters from Afar writes on her about page,
“In my letters, I want to educate readers on not only iconic cities but also lesser known areas. For example, one letter might elaborate the magic of Paris - another may dive into the culture of a small Peruvian village. The world is vast and there is something fascinating to learn no matter what!”
I LOVE this sentiment!!
Because we’ve had no fixed home for the last (almost) two years, we’ve got a huge stack of letters to open when we get home – which has me beyond excited! The story telling element of the letters as well as the beautiful illustrations are the most delightful invitation for further exploring!
You can find out more about Letters from Afar on their website:
or follow on instagram:
2. ART CAMP
One of our favourite ways to learn about a different place or time is to research an artist that was prominent in that destination or place in history. Learning about an artist is like opening a window to that person’s life and to what was important to them and society during the time they were living.
My friend Arielle of ART CAMP has the most amazing artist studies on her website. Not only are these a great way to spend some quality time together as a family, but they’re a great invitation to spark curiosity and imagination!
We are currently midway through Arielle’s fantastic Picasso Style Paper Sculpture – we’re doing this in a collaborative fashion, with each member of the family taking a part of the sculpture and then we’ll fix them together to create one masterpiece ;-)
BUT she also has so many other wonderful projects. Here are some that we are looking forward to exploring:
'Frida' Dolls (Frida Kahlo inspired)
'Smelly Cat' Pop Art Cans (Andy Warhol meets Friends inspired)
DIY Sticker Castle (Mary Blair and Paul Klee inspired)
You can find out more about ART CAMP on their website:
or follow on instagram:
While we’ve been travelling, we’ve endeavoured to learn a little of the language of each of the places we’ve visited. Many times, just a simple hello and please/thank you in the language of our current destination is a wonderful way to show we are grateful to be in the place we are.
One of my major regrets about our trip however, is that we didn’t make a concerted effort to improve our language skills before we left home. One of the tools we do use, and we all enjoy using is the language learning app Duolingo. We are all currently trying to get much better at Italian, and although our chances of becoming conversational before we leave Italy are very slim, we will continue to learn as it will prepare us well for our next trip ;-)
Another great benefit about learning a new language is how that language has influenced or has similarities with English. Many of the similarities we’ve found are great invitations to discuss the etymology of words and origin of language. There is a huge variety of languages on offer through duolingo – one of the big draw cards, as well as the ‘game’ aspect which makes it highly attractive to the kiddos!
You can find out more about duolingo on their website:
4. Barley and Birch
Language learning is such a wonderful way to explore the world from home. But sometimes if you’re not using it in a practical way, it can feel really dry and not particularly relevant. Cue Barley and Birch’s wonderful Market Food props!
While scrolling through instagram last week, I was delighted to see Amanda’s gorgeous market food play set, and I was inspired!
I headed to her website, purchased the templates, printed them on some card and immediately had the most gorgeous set of food props so that we could practice our Italian and French food words! On each item, I’ve written the Italian and French words for that food on the back, so we are able to use them as the sweetest flash cards, but also I see that they will be working their way into the girls’ imaginary play too – double win!!
You can find out more about Barley and Birch on their website:
or follow on instagram:
5. CARD GAMES
Wherever we go, I’m always keeping my eye out for card games that will help us discover the wide world. Museum and Art Gallery Gift Shops are always a great source of fantastic card games! Now we have a wonderful variety of games, each of them a little invitation to indulge our curiosity.
These are some of our current favourites:
Mind the Gap was a gift for Christmas because my eldest daughter Ava, is OBSESSED with the London Underground. This game is a lot like Last Card, but each card is a different station from the London Underground!
Manifesto: The Art Movements Game is essentially Happy Families, but each ‘family’ is a set of four prominent individuals from a particular art movement.
Top Trumps has a game about almost every topic under the sun! So the world really is your oyster in terms of what you want to dive into and learn a little more about. We have several sets from this company – including Greek Mythology, Top sights in London, and Wonders of the World.
Match a Track is a beautiful game of memory in which you have to match various animals from all over the world to their foot tracks.
6. AROUND THE WORLD STORIES
In my opinion, storytelling is one of the best ways to explore the world from home. My answer to almost any problem I encounter or anything that someone in our family gets curious about, is to find a book on the subject and get reading!
Around the World Stories is a wonderful story subscription created by a husband and wife team, Matt and Tania, who were looking for ways to expose their children to other cultures in a fun and memorable way. When they couldn’t find what they were looking for, they began developing Around the World Stories.
The way the subscription works is that each week you receive an email with a link to the current story. You can listen to the story straight from the website or download the story so you can listen to it in your car or while you’re out and about. There are generally four stories based on one destination before moving on to a new destination. I love the website, because each story is accompanied by a number of resources that invite further exploring such as discussion points, a recipe idea, and fun facts.
We’ve subscribed to all three of the collections they currently have on offer: Europe, Asia, and Artist stories, and I love that even though we’ve been members for several years, I can go in at any point and access the stories and revisit all the resources they have.
You can find out more about Around the World Stories on their website:
or follow on instagram:
7. CURIOUS WANDERER SOCIETY
Of course, I couldn’t write a list of Rad Resources for Exploring the World without mentioning our own Curious Wanderer Society ;-)
It made my day when one of members described the Curious Wanderer Society as a fun secret club! And that’s just what I like to think of it as – a fun, secret family club to help you learn more about this amazing world around us!
By subscribing to our mailing list, you become an official member and get access to the Curious Wanderer Society passport, official handbook, oath... and even the secret handshake! You’ll also receive weekly dispatches from headquarters, including monthly destination digests (trading cards included!) and (queue the drumroll...) secret missions!!
Our website is filled with lists of our favourite resources: books, movies and YouTube clips on various destinations, and we have fun activities and recipes on the blog about a number of destinations.
If you’re wanting to do a deep dive on a specific destination we have a selection of Explore the World from Home Guides. Currently in the shop are the following editions:
with Japan, France and England coming soon!
We truly believe that by raising children who are curious about the world, we are raising the next generation of adults to care deeply about planet earth and the people that inhabit it. It may seem like a lofty goal, but we hope that the Curious Wanderer Society will help families raise children who are empathetic, kind, creative problem solvers who really care about making a difference.
You can join the Curious Wanderer Society mailing list here:
or follow on instagram:
I really hope the resources I’ve mentioned today inspire you to spend a little time exploring the world from home with your family today! Please send me an email if you’ve got any favourite resources I haven’t mentioned - I'd love to make another list!