It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the behind-the-scenes details for family trips, like planning the itinerary, pre-trip shopping and packing. However, when the time to take a trip approaches, it’s beneficial to prepare the main characters — the kids. When people ask what we do to prepare our kids before trips, my answer is always a resounding Read! Read! Read!
Photo by John-Morgan on Flickr
Reading destination related books and involving the kids in small parts of the research not only helps generate excitement, but also helps determine which activities to choose while at the destination. Additionally, the knowledge about local sites and history provides a comfortable background for children as they explore unfamiliar areas. The historical knowledge is especially important because it provides insight about the culture.
Because our children vary in age, we need a variety of books ranging from “The Goodnight” series to more complex historical fiction. We also combine reference books and fiction to keep it interesting. Don’t worry if they don’t seem all that into it, they are still absorbing something and it will pay off when you get to the destination.
As I read to my children, it provides a refresher on my history and helpful information about the destination.
For suggestions, check out my book list on Amazon where I have posted recommendations for a handful of destinations we’ve visited lately: Italy, France, England, Ireland, Boston, San Diego, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia.
If you have favorite books you like to read with your kids, please comment and we’ll add them to this post.
Fiona from TravelMuse: Dr. Suess “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” and Julia Donaldson “The Snail and the Whale”
MudslideMama from TravelingMamas: (New York City) E.L. Konigsburg “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler.”
Jody from HaveKidWillTravel: (Ireland) Eve Bunting “S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet”
Elizabeth from TravelForKids: (Italy) Alan Armstrong “Looking for Marco Polo”
Debbie from DeliciousBaby: Byron Barton “Airplanes” and Judy and Ron Barrett “Pickles to Pittsburgh”
Jamie from TravelSavvyMom: (New York) George Selden “The Cricket in Times Square,” (England) Frances Hodgson Burnett “The Secret Garden,” (England) Roald Dahl “Mathida,” (Spain) Munro Leaf “The Story of Ferdinand,” (China) Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent “Rikki Tikki Tembo,” (Italy) Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca “Vacation Under the Volcano” (Jamie’s kids love the audio version of this)
Mara from Mother of All Trips: (Paris) Brian Selznick “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” and (France) Cristina Bjork “Linnea In Monet’s Garden”
Michelle from Wandermom: (Ireland) Tomie De Paolo “Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka”
Colleen from TravelMamas: (New York) Peter Sis “Madlenka” and (Paris) Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight “Eloise in Paris”
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