trunkitMy relatives have come to visit from Israel and their young children are eager to play with my youngsters. The problem? They don’t all speak the same language! This can lead to a lot of frustration. Board games and card games and many of their favorite electronic games are tricky to explain. It’s also hard to explain the rules for riding bikes and scooters around the neighborhood. Never fear, we’ve found that a few of our favorite stay at home activities don’t require a mastery of the English language.

If you’re planning a trip abroad or hosting some non native speakers in your home you might want to consider having some activities available that can break the ice and keep everyone smiling. Some surefire wins:

Mr Potatohead is silly in every language
Wii games (particularly the Wii Sports variety that involve some amount of movement)
potatoheadBadminton, Hackysack, Paddleball – any game that involves a simple volley
Animal Charades (“guess what animal I am” – a great way to learn animal names in other languages)
Simple Matching Games like the ones available from e-boo
Jigsaw Puzzles
Nature exploration items like the ones from Backyard Safari delight would-be bilingual adventurers
Simple Crafts such as drawing with chalk, playing with play doh, stringing beads
Flashlights are fun and reassuring for kids who are sleeping in unfamiliar places
Jumping rope or Jumping on a trampoline burns nervous energy and kids will naturally play follow the leader to learn new tricks

Looking for a way to take your international fun kid kit on the road? I love Brookstone’s tiger-striped ride-on suitcase from Melissa & Doug to pack it all up. Whether people are rolling in or you’re rolling out, this is a fun way to take it with you!