When there is a long time between trips or when the trip requires a long time between booking and travelling it can be hard to keep the kids (and parents) motivated.
We do lots of little things in our house to make exploring the world and thinking about travelling a normal part of life. We want our children to grow up knowing that there is so much more to the world than the little part of suburban Sydney we live in. We also want them to be as excited about travel as we are.
We have a placemat on the table with flags and capital cities and take turns quizzing each other on the capital cities. We wonder about where some of the places are and what they are like. We wonder why there are so many places called Bridge town or George town or even Road town. We wonder why the capital on US Virgin Islands is Charlotte Amelie and whether everything on the list is a country or territory or something else.
We also have a giant atlas we got at Costco so we can look up different places. We like to have maps and globes in the house. Before our first child was born one of the first things we bought her was a pillow in the shape of the world. If we are talking about a certain country or how long a trip will take we can get the globe out and virtually travel there.
We have our magnet wall where we keep the little reminders of all the places we have been. Magnets are great as they are usually pretty easy to find around and don’t take up much space in our luggage. They are usually a cheap, cheesy souvenir to remind us about all the cities we have been. It is great fun to find the magnet that perfectly sums up our trip.
To remind us about previous trips we also have made photobooks so the girls can look back and remember all the places we have been. Even when they have been quite small at the time. We have books from FIJI, Hawaii, Disneyland and Canada. It also means that we look at our photos instead of hiding them away on a hard drive.
For this trip, we have found kids travel diaries that will be useful for the girls to keep track of this trip. We took notebooks away on our last big trip but the girls were much younger then. This will be the first trip where they are old enough to keep a good record themselves.
We also include stories about travel in our reading at home. One of our favourite series of books is Ruby Red Shoes by Australian Author Kate Knapp she started at home but has been to Paris and now London. We also have borrowed Mr Chicken lands in London. This is a wonderful story although Mr Chicken seems to be able to afford a higher class trip to London than we will. Oh, and of course Paddington is always a great guide to London.
Now we have been thinking about Japan we have also found an adorable book about a Wooden Japanese doll travelling to Tokyo, Aoki. The advantage of including travel in our bedtime stories helps us to imagine what it will be like when we get there and makes destinations more “real” when you can see the characters interacting in real locations.
We also have bedtime stories about the Magic sky (northern lights), and Hawaii- Goodnight Hawaiian moon and Waikiki Lullaby. Another souvenir we like to get when possible( a little bigger and heavier than a magnet) is children’s books by local authors or about the local area. Fun ones from Canada were Moose and Drumheller Dinosaur Dance.
We try to borrow travel guides from the library about the different countries and cities we are going to. Trying to find the ones with pictures makes locations more real. The DK eyewitness travel guides have more pictures than text. Also looking for children’s travel guides when possible find information that is more family focussed.
We also watch movies featuring our locations. Most recently Sherlock Gnomes. Despite it being a movie about garden gnomes it features real locations like Tower Bridge and the Natural History Museum. The BFG also made the children want to visit Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen.
Our house décor has a travel theme. We have a mirror in the shape of New Zealand that was made in Christchurch, photos from NYC and the Inca trail in Peru and Monopoly board with Photos of all the street signs in London. We even had a travel-themed nursery for our second when she was born. It included curtains with Vintage travel signs, Paddington collage on the wall, a mobile made from paper aeroplanes using old maps from our travels and even a wardrobe covered with all the postcards we had collected. Now she is older it has evolved a little bit but still has a few of the items still in it.
I would love to hear from you if you have any other ideas that you use to keep travel an important part of your everyday life.
Until next time
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