Friday, September 21, 2012

Traveling to Germany with Children

By:  Kaprice Dal Cerro
Footprints of the Mind Program Director

When my friend (the founder of Footprints of the Mind) introduced me to her program "Travel on Tuesday" I thought what an inspiring and a great way to get my children involved in geography and share with them interesting and fun facts to get their curiosity sparked and keep their interest. As well as sharpen my own knowledge as well.
I have been following the Footprints of the Mind blog and Facebook page for a while now and was very interested to read about where her family “traveled” to each week and wondered how she was able to pull together such interesting information for her children to enjoy. At first I thought a task like this was very overwhelming to do at all, let alone on a weeknight.  Then I began to think why should something  like this be so hard?  That is when I decided to give it  a try at home with my children. I have  to tell you I was able to gather enough interesting information from the internet in about 30 minutes time!  Our first travel experience was a success and I wanted to share it with you and your readers.
When I was thinking about which country we would should travel to I decided to choose a country that was part of our ancestry. German is part of my children’s heritage from both myself and their father, so pretty much a no brainer. 
After choosing Germany I wanted to find some fun facts that children would enjoy to keep them interested, so I Googled “Fun facts about Germany for kids” and there came up many websites with some of the most interesting information. Facts that I was not aware of also. 

Adding passport stamp to his passport

After I pulled my quick fun facts together I printed out a few pictures that consisted of  the German flag, an x-ray, the Blackforest, a cuckoo clock, and the Neuschwanstein castle. I also  printed a small picture of a map that just consisted of Germany. The map of Germany was used as a passport stamp for my son. 
I was not certain if I wanted to create a meal for our travels because I was not sure if my children were going to be open to trying “new” foods, but during my research I found that the Germans invented hamburgers and the frankfurter. How easier could a meal be for me to prepare?!  Dinner was now planned. 
Our adventure began by viewing a map of the world and learning about the seven continents. Then placing the small German map I printed in a passport from Travel on Tuesday. You know you cannot leave the country without a passport.  We then found where we live on the map and how far it was to travel to Germany from IL.  My children came up with some inventive ways to get to Germany.  We could swim, jet sky, fly, etc. The imaginations were in full bloom.  
Finding Germany on the map

German invention - Cologne

After learning about the map we began eating our “German” dinner and talked about the facts I found on the internet. German inventions were a hot topic in my house.  Did you know that the Germans invented the x-ray?  How about cologne, and that it is called cologne because it was first invented in the city of Cologne, Germany and consisted of citrus oils such as lemons and limes? Another fun fact was when I introduced them to the Autobahn. How their eyes lite up when I shared with them that you can drive as fast as you want on this highway.  There is no set speed limit!
Our dinner conversation was so exciting and engaging that my children were learning without even realizing they were learning!  Thank you for sharing an innovative way to bring the world and culture to children.  We look forward to “traveling” the world!
Until next time!
Bon Voyage!!

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