When Julia Roberts is out of the spotlight, she’s spending her downtime with her husband of 15 years, cinematographer Danny Moder, and their three kids: Henry Daniel, 10, and twins Hazel Patricia and Phinnaeus “Finn” Walter, 12.
One thing they love to do as a family? Go back-to-school shopping. “It’s so fun!” the actress, who will celebrate her 50th birthday next month, tells PEOPLE in a new interview for this week’s issue.
And while she doesn’t consider herself much of a shopper for clothes, school supplies are another story. “I always loved back-to-school shopping, and I realize that I still love it,” Roberts says. “But what we really love to shop for is all the stuff — the binders, the pencils, the pencil case, the lunch box.”
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The reigning PEOPLE’s 2017 World’s Most Beautiful Woman, who is also the face of Calzedonia hosiery, is enjoying watching her three kids grow up — especially with all the opportunities they’re afforded with proximity to technology.
“Young people today are so smart and they have the world in their hands in a way that I think, when I was 20 or 25, it didn’t exist,” she says. “[Before], to be a global citizen meant something much more limiting, like a backpack and a train ticket. And now you can be home and be a global citizen. It’s really quite astounding and incredible.”
That said, it also means her children are aware of the chaos the world is dealing with, domestically and internationally. The star handles it by addressing it head on. “Our country is not at its best right now, and that can be very discouraging and frustrating,” she says.
“You have to not give up hope,” she continues. “This is the time you have to rise as a community and as a household and as a country and try to make voices be heard. And that’s what I have to instill in my children, who are certainly old enough to be aware of politics and things going on in the world.”
“It’s very important for my husband and me to be honest with them and help them feel like they still have a voice for the things that they believe in,” Roberts explains.
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Her children aren’t the only twins Roberts is raving about at the moment, either. As a close friend of George and Amal Clooney, the Wonder star says “they won’t need tips” on parenting their own duo, Alexander and Ella, 3 months.
“I just know when to chuckle to myself,” she adds. “I know when it’s really hard and when it gets easier. But they’re doing great. They’re great parents. I haven’t met [the twins] yet — I’ve just seen cute, cute pictures! I have a very good present [for them], but since I haven’t sent it, I can’t say what it is.”
Read more from our new interview with Julia Roberts in the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.