This is the second in our series of holiday shopping recommendations for young and future travelers! Click here for more ideas.
I don’t know about you, but at our house, there have been Christmas lists and letters to Santa showing up for several weeks now. We do NOT need more toys in our house. But anything that contributes to our boys’ learning—especially if it relates to our love for travel—is worth our consideration.
Given the season, I figured it’s a good time to share some recommendations for traveling families! Over the next several days, watch for gift suggestions for you traveling families. Most will be focused on kid-travelers, but I’ll probably throw in a few ideas for the parents, as well. Keep in mind that some of these could be a good suggestion for the grandparents who are struggling to come up with gift ideas for the little ones, so you may want to pass these along!
Today’s recommendations: Maps to pique curiosity and give a glimpse of the world that awaits
In my mind, few things inspire travel as well as a map. I remember, as a youth, hearing a story about a young man who grew up and decided to join the Coast Guard. His parents scratched their heads about their son’s decision, not because it was a bad one, but because their family had no real ties to the Coast Guard, the coast, or the ocean. At a certain point, though, they realized that the large print that hung in their living room—one that their son saw every day as he grew into a man—was an oceanscape, and the scene of the rolling waves had grown within him a love and curiosity for what the ocean had to offer. Makes great sense, right?
So if you want to form future travelers of your kids, lovers of the world and the various cultures, geographies, and histories it has to offer, why not introduce your kids to maps early and often! When our first son was born, we decided to decorate his room with a travel theme. In addition to the transportation bedding we chose for his crib, we borrowed a projector, traced the world onto his wall, and then Emily spent several hours making it amazing with bright paints for each continent. I can still remember changing 2-year-old Ben’s diapers as he called out the continents beside him on the wall.
As we prepared for France, we found a good vinyl adhesive map that now holds a prominent spot on the wall near the dinner table. The boys love looking at it, finding the places we’ve been and the places they hear about in the news or at school. It’s a simple addition that goes a long way to kindling their curiosity for the world!
Our map also served as a backdrop for our pre-France French language recording:
Here are a few maps that I’ve found particularly appealing that you may want to consider on this season’s shopping list:
Brewster Wall Pops Peel & Stick World Dry-Erase Map (24 in x 36 in)
Explorer World Desk Globe (14-inch diameter)
National Geographic Atlas of the World, Tenth Edition (note: this book is huge, heavy, and beautiful)
If you want access to TONS of maps and related products, including some free online map games, check out MAPS.com. Through December 16, you can use coupon code EARLYBIRD14 to get 15% off everything. You’ll also find an array of Travel Maps and Travel Guides, in case you’re gearing up for your next trip!
What say ye, readers? Any of these strike a particular chord? Are there other map-related products that you’ve found particularly interesting to young travelers?