A friend once said that air travel is like going to the spa: she gets to sit down, read a magazine and someone brings her a drink. She clearly doesn’t have kids…. As you all know, when you travel with kids, you often don’t sit much, you for sure don’t get to read a magazine, and if you do get a drink there’s a high likelihood of your kids knocking it over.
We at Our Whole Village obviously love to travel with our kids. But we don’t always have the time, the money or, frankly, the fortitude to take our kids to all of the places we’d like. That said we can still explore our world – from the comfort of home.
We recently read website Savvy Source’s article on traveling the globe through the internet. There are a lot of great sites designed to help kids explore other countries and cultures. Books offer the same advantage.
My personal favorite is “Following Featherbottom” by Philip Haussler. You’ll have to buy the book(s) as it is designed based on the letters of each child’s name. Felix Featherbottom (a stork) and his sidekick Pierre du Pond (a frog) travel the globe picking up letters for each child’s name from cities that start with the same letters. At the end of the book is a map with each letter pinpointing the city from which it was collected. It’s an adorable way to introduce children to different cities around the world and they love that the letters spell their names. This book is worth every cent and a heck of a lot cheaper than airfare to each of the cities!
Of course, there are plenty of other books with which to explore the world, most of which you can likely borrow through your local library system. Some of our other favorites are:
1. Mirror by Jeannie Baker – We just learned about this one and it’s top on our list to pick up. This picture book follows in tandem two boys and their families, one in Sydney, Australia and the other in a small village in Morocco, as they go about their day.
2. The Travel Game by John Grandits – Using a globe and an almanac, a boy and his aunt use their imaginations to travel the world without leaving home.
3. Paddington Bear by Michael Bond– this classic series follows the adventures of accident-prone Paddington, who sailed from “darkest Peru” to settle in London.
4. Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobbie – a really cute series of books about the experiences of Toot, who travels the world sending back postcards, and those of his best friend Puddle, who opts to stay home. In particular, check out Toot & Puddle; Toot & Puddle, Wish You Were Here; and Toot & Puddle, Top of the World.
5. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans – another classic, this series follows the adventures of little Madeline, who attends a Catholic boarding school in Paris and travels to London, Rome, and the U.S.
6. Larry Gets Lost… by Michael Mullin & John Skewes – this series is U.S. based and a good read for budding tourists. Follow Larry the dog who, while visiting a U.S. city, gets separated from his family and in his search to find them runs past the monuments and sites for which the city is known. The series includes San Francisco, NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Seattle, to name a few of the cities, plus the states of Alaska and Texas.
So, grab a book, pour yourself a drink (water, wine, coffee, tea – whatever gives you that little sense of relaxation), curl up on the couch with your kids and transport yourself and them to a far off place for a bit. Let’s be honest, it won’t be at all like going to the spa but it also won’t involve the challenge of air travel with kids. And hopefully, just hopefully, they won’t knock over your drink …