China has fascinated my daughter T ever since we studied about it three years ago. That is probably why when given the chance to go to another country recently, she chose to visit where the Great Wall is.
And just like everything else that comes our way, our trip became our main learning topic for several weeks.
I thought I’d share with you the different ways you can make the most out of traveling with kids, here and abroad. You can also read my old post about “7 Ways to Travel the World Without Leaving Your Home,” which I also referred to in preparation for our trip to Beijing.
1. Read books about your destination
We have a fair number of books set in China, and we read them all over a period of two weeks. Little Sir enjoyed the Five in a Row book “The Story About Ping” by Marjorie Flack, just like his big sister did before.
For older T, we borrowed “The Great Wall of China” by Leonard Everett Fisher from our friend Tina of Truly Rich Mom. We learned about the fascinating history of the wall, with the gory details (workers buried in the wall, soldiers whipping slow workers) engaging Little Sir.
We also got acquainted with old China through the “Day of the Dragon King” from the Magic Tree House series (which we have a lot of!) and “Imperial China” from the Magic School Bus offshoot Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures. Both books are rich with details that excite young minds!
2. Delve into one particular landmark… or two
The Great Wall is easily China’s most well known landmark. Apart from reading its history and watching a short video at Brain Pop Jr., we got 3D puzzles of The Great Wall and of Tiananmen, a famous monument in Beijing, from National Bookstore.
Seven-year-old T was surprised that she could already do it by herself and got busy building the Great Wall for about an hour.
Some more creative mamas actually build The Great Wall with wafers, blocks and other materials.
3. Study about your mode of transportation
This wasn’t my kids’ first plane ride, but we still read up about it especially because Little Sir, like most boys, is into vehicles. It’s a good thing that I wrote about how we prepared for a plane ride before, so I just referred to it for our recent trip!
If I had also known that we would be taking the subway in Beijing, we would have also read up a bit about trains. But then again, experience still trumps books.
4. Do some math with money
My sister gave T some yuan (seven, to be exact, haha!) when she heard about our trip. Since we also exchanged pesos to dollars to yuan, T was full of questions about the value of the peso against the US dollar and against the yuan.
For local trips, this can be as simple as talking about the cost of food, rides, etc.
5. Talk about the weather
One of the things that we looked forward to when preparing for our trip was Beijing’s weather, which was still quite cold when we were there.
Back in January, when we were preparing for a trip to Baguio, we talked about temperatures and appropriate clothing. I added the city to my Accuweather app, and we would check Manila’s, Baguio’s and Beijing’s respective temperatures and had T chart the information.
T can’t forget the time that we saw Beijing’s temperature drop to -2C. It was an easy lesson on reading temperatures, that low means c-c-cold.
We tremendously enjoyed our trip, especially because T was so ready for it. She was full of questions and connections that made us feel that she was really learning from everything that we’ve seen and experienced.
As we always say in “Cultivating a Love of Learning,” our parenting seminar in the preschool setting…