One of my personal favorite parts of Walt Disney World is World Showcase at Epcot. I absolutely love being able to “tour” the 11 countries showcased there, without having to pay the price to actually travel there!
Over the years, we have had so much fun conversing with the Cast Members who work in the World Showcase Pavilions. We have very much enjoyed doing the passports and stopping at the Kidcot Fun Stops – not so much for the break or coloring the mask or “Duffy on a Stick” – but for the fun interaction with these special people and the information we can glean from them!
My 18-year-old has inherited my love and appreciation of World Showcase. And, because we are a homeschool family, this gets my wheels turning about some of the educational aspects of World Showcase and how we might incorporate them into our schooling (because we count our days at the Disney parks AS school!) So, this month, I’m going to share a few ideas of things you might do with your older kids (or younger ones, with some assistance) before, during, and/or after your trip to World Showcase.
- Have your child select one of the countries in World Showcase to study up on before your trip. Have him research things like climate, architecture, population, religious beliefs, culture, and food. A written report covering all these things would be great; or, if writing isn’t his thing, maybe a 3×5 card with information on each of these topics would be a nice alternative. Then, when you “visit” that country in World Showcase, have him converse with a Cast Member and share his findings. Were they accurate? A follow up report containing anything new that he learned would be a nice way to conclude this study when you return home.
- Even older kids will have fun with the passport idea. If you don’t want to purchase a passport, there are plenty of ideas online for creating your own personalized passports. (The Creative DISigns board over at the DISboards is a great place to start.)
- A different “take” on character autograph books would be to have Cast Members from each country sign your book. They can also include a message written in their native language, your child’s name written in the style of the country, etc.
Take a picture of your child in each country. When you get home, print them out and place them on a World Map.
- Speaking of World Maps, a great geography project would be to make a list of the countries represented in World Showcase, number them (in order) on a map, and figure out how long it would take to travel the world visiting these countries. Which would be the best method of transportation between the various countries? Plane? Boat? Car?
One of the things that we plan to do on our next trip around the World (Showcase, that is) is a Scavenger Hunt. I created it using ideas I’ve gleaned from various resources. It includes things like getting a pressed penny in each country, taking pictures wearing a hat from that country (don’t even talk to me about lice! ewww!!!), take a picture of each country’s flag, etc. If you would like a copy of my scavenger hunt, I’d be happy to share – just email me.
My family is just a few short days away from our next trip to Walt Disney World. Next month, I hope to share with you something special that my older daughter and I have planned – for just the two of us. See you then!