Just a week ago, we embarked on a virtual world tour with our kiddos, and what a week it’s been! We’ve been zooming around the globe with them on Google Earth, touching down for extended stays in Paris, Japan and wherever else fancy has taken us. Books, movies, food and various cultural artifacts (hello, Hello Kitty!) have made us feel far, far away without so much as leaving home.
But as much as they adore the flights of imagination that virtual travel can almost instantaneously serve up, our kids still have a few basic questions. Like…how do you get there, really? Yes, these little ones can be wild fabulists one moment and relentless realists the next – isn’t that part of their charm?
With enough road trips or even just jaunts across town under their belts, preschoolers begin to understand that most of us don’t travel as that ubiquitous explorer, Dora does on her World Adventure, and that a hot air balloon isn’t quite as practical as an airliner jet. Kids this age develop a sense of time and distance by interesting themselves in means of transportation and time in transit (“How long until we get there?” really is more than just whining, that maddening tone of voice notwithstanding!).
So as you are flitting here and there across your living room globe, whether it’s the virtual or old-fashioned spinning kind, don’t neglect to provide your curious travel companions with the nitty-gritty on what it actually takes to travel from point A to point B, “for real.”
For starters, taking New York City as our starting point….
To get to Buckingham Palace (where a real queen lives!):
To get to Machu Picchu, “The Lost City of the Incas”:
To get to the Giza Sphinx, a 187 foot long creature rising out of the desert with the body of lion and the head of a king:
To get to the Great Wall of China, the longest man-made structure on earth (it’s so big it can be seen from space!):
To get to the Taj Mahal, a monument to love:
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The prospect of travel elicits so many questions in the preschooler mind. Any answers we give to our little ones' endless where, when, how far and how long questions are, however, invariably met with a puzzled face. And then more questions. Questions... read more