Around the World in 80 Days Family Activity

In Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas Fogg and his silly sidekick, Passepartout, depart the misty streets of Victorian London to circumnavigate the globe in just eighty days. If they fail, they lose everything! They race around the world riding on elephants, steamer ships and transcontinental railroads. In this Family Activity, follow Phileas Fogg’s journey, figure out what you would bring on an adventure and turn an ordinary box into something extraordinary!

At Home

In this show, Phileas Fogg and Passepartout make the journey from London to the Suez, then to Bombay and Calcutta, down to Hong Kong, over to Yokohama, all the way to San Francisco, across to New York and then back to London! Check out their journey on the map below:
Their Journey Around the World

Now, turn this map into a game for the whole family!

Materials: Eight pieces of paper, writing utensils, timer, floor space, random household objects

Step One: Write the names of each destination (listed below) on individual sheets of paper with arrows pointing to the right. Arrange the destinations in a circle in the following order with the arrows pointing in a clockwise direction.

The destinations in order are: 1) London 2) Suez 3) Bombay 4) Calcutta 5) Hong Kong 6) Yokohama 7) San Francisco 8) New York

Notecards with their destinations in a circle

Step Two: Once this is laid out on the ground, have everyone select a small to midsize item from home that they would take on a journey around the world. It could be useful (like a fork or a flashlight) or it could be fun (like a stuffed animal or small houseplant). These are your game pieces. Once they’re selected, place them all on or near London.

Step Three: Play the game! To advance a game piece around the world, a player must win a transportation stand-off with the person to the right. A transportation standoff is like Rock-Paper-Scissors, but using an Around the World in 80 Days: steamboat, elephant and railroad. See how to physicalize them below.

Railroad, Steam Boat and Elephant

Railroad—Hold your hands palm to palm, with about three inches in between them.

Steam Boat—Make a “thumbs up” sign and place it on your upturned palm.

Elephant—With your palms facing away, link your thumbs and extend your fingers, mimicking elephant ears.

First, have the two players face off and say “3 – 2 – 1 – Go!” On “Go,” they must reveal their transportation signs! The winner advances and the loser must stay where they are. Elephant beats railroad, railroad beats steamboat and steamboat beats elephant.

Step Four: The first person who makes it all the way around the world and back to London will win the game IF they correctly answer a transportation-trivia question. The player can chose to answer a question about elephants, railroads or steamboats. If they answer correctly, they win! If they answer incorrectly they return to New York to try again on their next turn.

We’ve provided some sample questions below (the answers are on the very last page of the activity), but feel free to come up with your own!

Elephant Questions

  • True or False? African Elephants’ ears are twice as large as Asian Elephants’ ears.
  • What is the typical lifespan of an elephant?
  • Male elephants are called bulls, what are female elephants called?

Railroad Questions

  • True or False? Contemporary trains can go up to 300 mph.
  • Where and what year was the locomotive invented?
  • Why was the Orient Express called the “King of Trains”?

Steamboat Questions

  • True or False? Robert Fulton built the first steamboat.
  • Name one thing that might have been transported by steamboats in the 1800s.
  • How fast could steamboats travel?

On Your Way

Phileas Fogg and Passepartout have to pack for eighty days of world travel. As you journey to New Vic to see the show, use this fun alphabet game to brainstorm what you would bring on such an incredible adventure!

Materials: Creative minds and quick imaginations!

In order from youngest to oldest, you and your traveling companions will make a list of what you might bring on a trip around the world. The catch is that you must do it in alphabetical order, and you must remember and restate each list item before adding the next! Keep going until your traveling troupe gets to the letter Z.

Use this example video as inspiration for your packing list!

After the Show

Now that you’ve watched the show, here are some questions to think about.

  • What did Phileas Fogg and Passepartout learn on their journey around the world?
  • How did the different ways they travelled affect Phileas and Passepartout’s feelings about their journey and where they were going?
  • There were a few treacherous moments during their journey. How did Fogg and Passepartout handle the danger? How would you deal with this sort of conflict?
  • How would traveling around the world be different today?

In Around the World in 80 Days, you saw trunks and suitcases and other everyday objects become elephants, train cars, steamboats and more! Now, it’s your turn to transform an everyday object into a series of adventurous events and happenings.

Materials: A large box

Step One: Find a box in your home and gather a group to play this game.

Step Two: Choose one person to be the first adventurer. They must use physical movement and word-less sounds to transform the box into another object. They can choose whatever they want—the wilder the better. Could you make the trunk into:

  • An airplane?
  • An oven?
  • A record player?
  • A bag of cats?
  • A bicycle?
  • An all you can eat buffet?

Step Three: Once the first adventurer establishes what the box has become, the next volunteer has a turn. To begin, they say, “What’s the box?” The first adventurer responds by saying anything BUT what they are actually making the box. So, if they’ve made it into an airplane, they can say whatever they want except airplane! Then, the next adventurer makes the box into whatever the first says. Read the example below.

Adventurer 1 acting like the box is an airplane
Adventurer 2: (to Adventurer 1) What’s the box?
Adventurer 1: A giant boiling pot of stew!
Adventurer 2: starts acting like the box is a big pot of stew!

Step Four: Play as many rounds as you like! Try adding variations, such as making the objects very specific—like a bicycle made of cotton candy that only drives in circles.

After the Show

  • Visit the New York Transit Museum to learn about New York City’s past transportation!
  • Visit the Intrepid Sea and Air Museum to learn more about different modes of transportation through time.
  • Visit your local public library to borrow a copy of this very cool comic book version of Around the World in 80 Days.
  • Read more about Jules Verne and his other stories on the Penguin/Random House Publisher’s website.

Elephant Answers

  • True or False? African Elephants’ ears are twice as large as Asian Elephants’ ears. (T)
  • What is the typical lifespan of an elephant? (60-70 Years)
  • Male elephants are called bulls, what are female elephants called? (Cows)

Railroad Answers

  • True or False? contemporary trains can go up to 300 mph. (T)
  • Where was the locomotive invented? (England, 1802)
  • Why was the Orient Express called the “King of Trains”? (Because it was frequented by royalty and other wealthy patrons)

Steamboat Answers

  • True or False? Robert Fulton built the first steamboat. (F, Fulton built the first economically successful steamboat, but they were made and tested years before.)
  • Name one thing that might have been transported by steamboats in the 1800s. (lumber, food, people, commercial goods)
  • How fast could steamboats travel? (5 mph)

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