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world globe

My daughter is a mini geography buff (the talking globe she got for her 3rd birthday was one of her all-time favorite gifts). But ever since I got home from a work trip to Italy, she's showing symptoms of having been bitten by the travel bug. One day she wants to see the Eiffel Tower. The next day, she's begging to go to Brazil. She asked if we could live at Disney World.

Well, frequent international travel isn't exactly in our family budget, so this summer we're going to do a bit of armchair travel, preschool style. First we made a "passport" by stacking small rectangles of construction paper, folding them into a book shape, and stapling them together along the spine. We taped a picture of Chloe inside, too (for border control, of course). For every country we "visit" we'll stamp the passport with a sticker or drawing.

Each week, we'll pick a country, find it on the globe, and learn about it in the most fun, interactive ways we can. We'll explore through books like Madeline when we learn about France; the "Paddington Bear" books during our journey to England; The Moon Lady when we visit China; and Strega Nona during our Italy jaunt.

We'll eat our way through each country, too, sampling cuisine from restaurants and attempting to make it ourselves, at home, too. We're lucky to live less than an hour from Boston, so we can explore its North End for authentic Italian markets and sample moon cakes in Chinatown.

We'll scour the Internet and our library's CD collection for a great travel soundtrack, and since we live near lots of great museums (with free or reduced admission, thanks to passes from our local library), we’ll be checking out lots of art, and creating some of it ourselves. I see piñata-making in our future!

Are there any little travelers in your family? How do you take advantage of their curiosity?

Photo: Atomic Shed

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Alex is a freelance lifestyle writer and sometimes-blogger. She loves spending time with her husband and five-year-old daughter, who are always willing to sample her kitchen successes (homemade taco seasoning) and failures (homemade mozzarella). She also loves to write, travel, cook, eat, and laugh loudly with friends.