Travel In Your Classroom

Travel is exciting for kids and adults alike! Its underlying themes of exploration and new discoveries can be applied to any subject matter. Many teachers will soon begin preparing their students for an end-of-the-year educational trip; others simply want to pique their students’ curiosity about the world around them.

We’ve put together some great ideas to help you carry the theme of travel in your classroom throughout the year. Whether you have a specific destination in mind or want to jet set around the world from the comfort of your classroom, you’ll find ideas here that will get your students thinking about new horizons.

Setting the Scene

Instill some of the excitement of discovering a new place by transforming your own classroom into a new place! Decorating with a travel theme is easy, fun and inexpensive. Make a garland for your walls by cutting old maps into triangular pieces and stringing them around the room. Use maps of your destination country or of the world.

You can also replicate common street signs in your destination country and post them in areas of your classroom where you need to relay a message. For example, on the door, you could have a sign that says “Work Ahead.” Post a “Customs” sign at your desk. Hang up a “Yield” sign near the pencil sharpener and a “Stop” sign near an area that students need permission to access. This will require a bit of research as you need to replicate the street signs used in your destination country. If you have a world travel theme, use signs from different countries and offer prizes to students who are able to guess from which country each sign comes.

Travel Library

Stack (solidly!) three old suitcases—the more vintage looking, the better. On top, put a box or basket full of books about your destination and/or countries of interest.

Mapping Your Classroom

Label your classroom “geographically.” If your students sit at tables, give each table the name of a continent, as if your classroom represents the world. If your students sit at desks, you can do the same by putting a small continent label on each desk (or hanging a sign from the ceiling), and having a cluster of desks labeled “South America” in the back of your classroom, and a cluster of desks in front of those labeled “North America”, etc. Your students will have fun “travelling” between the continents.

Travel Skills for Life

Make a bulletin board titled “Skills to Pack for our Journey.” List the skills you will learn throughout the year that will help your students on your trip (or symbolically, if you’re not actually travelling): Reading, Math, Language, etc. Write specific goals that correctly align with your curriculum.


Set your students up to write to pen pals! If you’re travelling, contact a teacher in your destination country (we can help you with that!) and exchange addresses so that your students can learn about life in that country in the time leading up to your own trip. If you’re not travelling, consider writing to pen pals from many different countries. Each of your students can then give a short presentation about the country he or she learned about through correspondence.

Passport to Success

Make each student a “passport” for accomplishing goals in your classroom. Stamp their passports each time they read five books, or complete times tables, or pass a quiz—choose the goals according to your curriculum and/or the steps your students will need to take to prepare themselves for your educational tour. Have fun with the stamps, too, by purchasing ones that feature your destination country/countries.

World Music

Expose your students to music genres from around the world! Get a CD player or a speaker for your iPod, and start each morning by playing a song from your destination country. Discuss the lyrics (providing a translation, if needed) for an extra cultural lesson.

Many Countries, Many Stories

Start each day or week by reading aloud a fairytale or short story from your destination country or from a sampling of countries around the world.

DIY Travel Brochure

Have students create their own travel brochures. Give each student a different city or country to cover, and ask them to create a brochure highlighting the many things to do and see there, its historical/cultural significance, etc. Display your students’ work in a magazine rack on your wall and make sure to leave a little time every day, or a few times a week, for students to peruse each other’s travel brochures.

Build It

Make a 3D map of your destination. Use a big, sturdy piece of green poster board as your base. Cut it out in the shape of your destination country. Use blue construction paper to mark rivers and streams. With paper-mâché, plastic forms or paper, make 3D mountains and monuments. Label the cities you will visit.

Most of all, have fun with it! With travel, it’s hard not to. And don’t forget: even a very modest step in the right direction may be the beginning of a great journey!

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