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Start a World Music Collection
Dancing to world rhythms is especially fun when you play instruments. Everywhere I travel, I seek out a new piece to add to our collection, which we store in a wicker chest by our piano. At street fairs, ethnic boutiques, and corner groceries, I’ve found bongos, panflutes, thumb pianos, singing bowls, wood percussion frogs (which Hudson is holding in the picture), maracas, beaded calabash rattles, and rain sticks.

Hudson with percussion frog

You can also purchase global instruments online at the fair trade organizations One World Projects ( and Ten Thousand Villages (

Vacations are a great time to expand your CD collection. Stop by independent record stores to ask about regional recording artists. One of our favorite labels is Putamayo World Music (, which stocks upbeat multicultural music packed with colorful liner notes.

For a party that rocks, ask friends to bring their favorite CDs/instruments and enjoy banging, honking, and stomping.


Magic Carpet Ride
You don’t need a passport, big bucks, or time off to travel the world. Spread a blanket on the floor of the family room and take a magic carpet ride to a country that fascinates you. On our journeys to India, we like to share snacks, music, games and folktales from the colorful subcontinent.

For a magic carpet, we use a tablecloth or picnic blanket that’s water-repellant. If something spills, no big deal. Here are more tips:

• Prepare for takeoff. Before our trip, Cady and Hudson visited the library to learn about Indian traditions, geography, music, language, and holidays. We selected – and gathered supplies for – a craft, snack and activities.

• String up party lights. Their soft glow makes our journey more magical. On a warm evening, we ride the magic carpet outdoors.

• Bend and stretch. After landing in India, we do a few yoga poses to sharpen our minds and rejuvenate our bodies. (We found children’s yoga tapes at the library.)

• Make mango lassi. For a simplified, nutritious pitcher of the refreshing yogurt drink, mix one cup fat-free milk, two cups mango juice, and two cups nonfat yogurt in a blender. We use agave nectar to sweeten.

• Say hello in Hindi. Cady made flash cards with 10 common words and phrases and we quizzed each other throughout the evening.

• Read about Rakhi. This popular festival honors the bonds between brothers and sisters. Traditionally, a sister makes a bracelet for her brother and ties it to his wrist with a Rakhi knot. At our house, Cady and Hudson made bracelets for each other (using letter beads, colored beads, charms and hemp chord) and we shared a traditional rice pudding with cashews and coconut, kheer.

• Play Pacheesi. This traditional board game is widely sold.

• Watch the IMAX film, India: Kingdom of the Tiger on DVD. The 110-minute movie features beautiful footage of the Bengal tiger and a conservation message.

• Share stories.We enjoyed Count Your Way Though India by James Haskins and Liz Brenner Dodson (1992), I is for India by Prodeepta Das (2004), We Live in India by Philippe Godard (2006), and a children’s biography of Mohandas Gandhi.


Fun & Games

Magic Carpet Ride to India

Night at the Kid Museum

Refrigerator Passport

Start a World Music Collection


Memory Candle

Mosaic Picture

Microwave a Tie-dye T-shirt

Jewelry Shrine



India Night
  Night at the Kid Museum    
My kids love showing my husband and I what they’re learned on vacations by inviting us to tour their Kid Museum. In our family room, they display rocks, shells, maps, souvenirs (plastic dinosaurs, geodes, and so forth) on TV tray tables. They dispense handmade tickets in the doorway, then lead us around the various displays. (Depending on how ambitious they feel, they might enhance their exhibits with maps, magnifying glasses and field notes.)

Our youngest museum director likes to wear a badge (to make one, use a computer ID badge template, or simply write the information on an index card cut to wallet-size) in a vinyl ID holder for an official look. For added drama, he offers after-hours tours by flashlight.



Refrigerator Passport
To record your global journeys, print out a black and white line map of the world showing all the continents (free downloads at Houghton Mifflin Education Place, and hang it on the refrigerator. When your family takes a magic carpet ride, color the destination on the map. When all the continents are colored, you’ll be full-fledged world travelers.


map of the americas



Memory Candle
Here’s an easy way to guarantee your favorite vacation memories won’t flicker out. Choose a vacation photo that will look good printed in a horizontal, panoramic format. Print the picture on vellum paper (see-through frosted paper available at crafts stores). Cut out the elongated image (typically, two 10-by-3.75 inch panoramics can be printed on an 8-by-10-inch page), wrap it around a clear glass, and tape the ends together. Place a candle in the glass and relive the warm memories.


vacation votive


Mosaic Picture
Recycle old hotel-room key-cards into colorful mosaic tiles to create a vibrant picture mat. You can also use plastic gift cards or cut-up credit cards. Before you start the project, pick a photo to frame that’s especially suited to tilework.
What you need:
• Plastic hotel-room key cards, about a dozen
• 11-by-14-inch picture mat
• Scissors
• Craft glue
• Frame
• Photo

1. Cut the key cards into various shapes (triangles work especially well).

2. Before you glue the tiles onto the mat, arrange the shapes in a pattern that pleases you.

3. Glue the tiles to the mat.

4. Mat and frame your chosen photograph.

About Deb’s picture: South Street in Philadelphia is a photographer’s paradise. Doorways, walls and alleys are adorned with fanciful tilework. At 1020-1022 South Street, I discovered the Magic Gardens, an urban-lot-turned-art-installation crafted of mirror, glass bottles and tiles. Isaiah Zagar founded Philly’s mosaic-mural movement in the 1960s, and he offers classes to those who want to learn the technique. For information, go to



Microwave a Tie-dye T-shirt
Tie-dyeing is less messy if you use this microwave method from RIT dye. For a shirt with two dye colors, you’ll need two buckets, a white cotton T-shirt, rubber bands, plastic gloves, two 8-oz. bottles of RIT liquid dye, and a resealable plastic bag. There will be enough dye to make up to twenty shirts (the shirts are fun to wear at a reunion and make great holiday gifts).

Here’s the method:
• For a crinkled effect, twist the T-shirt and tie rubber bands around it. For solid colors, skip this step.

• Pour two gallons of very hot water into each bucket.

• Put on gloves.

• Pour half a bottle of RIT liquid dye into each bucket.

• Dip the top of the shirt in the first color. For brighter results, let the shirt soak in the dye (hang the end of the shirt you’re not soaking over the edge of the bucket) for five minutes.

• When time’s up, lift the shirt from the bucket, squeeze out the excess dye, and insert the bottom part of the shirt in the second color bucket.

• After soaking five minutes, squeeze out the excess color.

• When done dyeing, place the shirt in the resealable bag and microwave for two minutes. This sets the dye and makes it colorfast.

• Let bag cool. Rinse shirt with one tablespoon mild detergent and cool water.

• Place shirt in dryer and enjoy.

Note: We always wash and dry our tie-dye shirts separate from other clothing.



Jewelry Shrine
Don’t hide your treasures in a jewelry box. Display them in a wall-mounted basket lined with corks. My shrine showcases my southwest jewelry and Blessed Kateri, a plaster statue at San José de Launa, a New Mexican mission. For your project, choose a picture that reflects your jewelry’s style and spirit.

What you need:
• Shallow, rectangular basket
• Corks, about 40
• Photo frame and picture
• Craft glue
• Wire

1. Play around with the corks so they cover the bottom of the basket. Try horizontal and vertical configurations.

2. When satisfied with the design, glue the corks to the basket.

3. Choose a picture that reflects the flavor of your jewelry, and place it in the frame.

4. Glue the frame to the corks beneath it.

5. Glue four large corks (champagne) to the four corners of the frame.

6. For hanging, loop a short piece of wire through the back of the basket.

7. Adorn your shrine with earrings (stick posts directly into corks), necklaces, and bracelets, and hang.


© Deborah Geigis Berry, The Family Adventure Mom, 2008-11. All rights reserved.

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