In this series of posts, we ask top travel bloggers your common questions regarding family travel. Through this series, we hope to inspire other families to pack their bags and head out on their own adventures.
In this eighth post in the series, we asked the following question, which was answered by several top family travel bloggers:
How do you bring the history of an area alive for your children?
Kids Are A Trip: We always prepare our children before we travel by introducing them to the destination through books and film. We head to our local library, check out books and DVDs and discuss any relevant historical events that occurred at our destination. For instance, when we went to Italy, we did a lot of reading about Roman Mythology, Pompeii, and the Holy Roman Empire. The kids really enjoy reading both non-fiction and historical fiction, which helps get them excited and engaged with trip planning. We also like to watch “House Hunters International” and “Rick Steves” for the places we plan to travel so they have a little background knowledge before we leave home.
For more information on their adventures, click here.
1Dad1Kid: We usually do this by exploring historical areas. It’s much easier and has a greater impact when you’re discussing the Mayans while standing in Chichen Itza, or the effects of communism when you’ step into a pharmacy in Cuba and see all the bare shelves, etc. You just can’t replace an eyewitness experience with something from a video or book.
To follow the adventures of 1Dad1Kid, click here.
Well Worn Suitcase: Every trip we take, even if it isn’t to an area traditionally thought of as educational, we plan at least one outing to a place of historical significance. Whenever possible, we have a local explain the history – it helps to reinforce ideas and really get kids listening. A story from our tour guide may come up later in play, when other places or things trigger a memory, or when telling others about the trip. We work to build on those moments to cement memories and add in historical references to their understanding of a trip, utilizing storytelling culture.
As an example, for months our five-year-old has been telling and retelling an old Native American legend about the way Devil’s Gap was created. She heard the story during a visit to the Mormon Handcart Visitors Center (a random road trip stop), and has told it over and over. She has rehashed the tale with various family members, toys, and while drawing. We also ask her about the story when we see things that might remind her of it (a mammoth tusk, a similar mountain, a buffalo), giving her the opportunity to tell the story again. Her historical understanding of that place is pretty solid at this point!
Looking for more tips from Well Worn Suitcase? Click here.
Family Travel Times: We love history, so we go to lots of castles, museums and more with the kids. We often take tours (Robert particularly likes audio tours) and always appreciate it when there are tours (whether audio or in person) that are aimed at children. We try to find out a bit about where we are going beforehand. We also love living history – where you can get real hands-on experience of what a place was like in the past(there are some great living history museums in the UK, especially Beamish in the North East).
For more information from Family Travel Times, click here.
The Educational Tourist: Bringing to life the history for kids is a make or break issue. With the background information to understand and value what they are seeing, children are engaged and have the time of their life. Without that key information…..yikes! Wouldn’t you be bored to death if you had no idea why you were in yet another big church? Or how about visiting ruins or a past battlefield where there really isn’t much at all to see. Without prepping the kids you are asking for trouble, LOL!
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