The travel and gathering limitations of 2020 may ease up in 2021, but many parents are planning to limit their family exposure to the world until the vaccination rate goes up. To that end, many families are making their own entertainment and creating fun zones at home.
Plan a Virtual Trip
If your family loves to travel but has been limited due to the pandemic, consider planning a virtual trip that can get you excited about a real train trip. For example, you can study up with train DVDs that both entertain and instruct on the history of trains in the United States.
Then, check out the passenger train routes in the United States. If you live in the southeast, check out a train trip to New Orleans or Houston. What foods would you love to try in New Orleans? Could you plan a trip to the Johnson Space Center in Houston? The train would get you there, and you could study the history of travel off the earth while enjoying the comfort of a passenger train.
Camp in Your Back Yard
For many of us, sheltering in place has even limited our chance to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Until travel is safe, why not practice some camping in your back yard? Treat your family to binoculars that you can use to study local wildlife, learn to cook over an open fire, and set up your tent within sight of the house so your little ones can get used to this form of travel.
This is also a great time to learn camping etiquette. Practice up on the “pack in, pack out” process for trash and food. Get your whole family in the habit of leaving the yard in better shape than you found it. Your camping excursions could also be a great time to talk about gardening together.
Go Back to Old Books
Sometimes the best new stories are in the best old books. Re-read some pioneer tales together and talk about life in a house that can only be heated from the center. Talk with them about the work it took to enjoy fresh eggs, or how much effort it actually takes to raise chickens, goats, or cows. Study Huck Finn’s rafting trip down the Mississippi and study up on raft and boat building on YouTube.
Old books can also be wonderful sources of crafting ideas. Watch videos on how to
- quilt by hand
Make sure that all your children know that this wasn’t just work for females. Study the labor and routes of the Canadian Voyageurs, who carried trade goods by canoe. When a button popped off or a shirt tore, they had to do their own mending! These useful skills can benefit anyone.
Connect Crafting to History and Travel
As you study these new crafts and activities, go back to your vacation planning exercise. Plan a white water rafting trip in southern Colorado. Make sure to spend some time at Mesa Verde to study the cliff-dwellings and talk about how people lived before electricity. Or plan a trip travelling with your family in a RV.
For those in the Midwest, a trip to Kansas City for a visit to the Arabia Steamboat Museum is a wonderful way to enjoy the crafts and labors of the past. If you can’t get there in person, you can enjoy it in several videos on YouTube. While planning your Kansas City fun, don’t forget to check out the Airline History Museum.
If your favorite train fanatics also love the history of flight, there are many videos specifically made for children that will track the remarkable technological advances of the 20th century. When you’re ready to check out North Texas, make sure you go to the Cavanaugh Museum in Addison to see the planes in person.
The path from entertainment to engagement is a wonderful way to watch your child’s curiosity grow. No matter their passion, you can help them fall in love with the virtual images of the many events and museums available for family entertainment. As possible, share videos of real places they might enjoy seeing. From dinosaurs to space travel, you can find videos that offer kids the chance to make travel suggestions.