A recent post about Maps for Kids took me forever to write. I kept getting sidetracked as I stumbled across a new book on the topic that I wanted to read, then an activity to try with my pre-schooler or a website that had gorgeous maps and graphics. While researching the topic I also had in the back of my mind that I wanted to write something about life as an expat family. One of the reasons the kids have ended up doing more than an average amount of travel for their age is due to our distance from family and friends.
And it struck me that one of the best ways to explain to my daughter the confusing conversations we often have about where she was born and what nationality she is and why we have to travel such a long way to see family was to literally map it out for her. Of course, what could have been a simple printed map with some dots on it turned in to an afternoon of cutting and pasting, finding family photos and making and dressing 3D dolls.
Our family story as expatriates isn’t that complicated compared to some, but it can still be difficult to explain to a four year old who is trying to figure out her place in the world.
So we printed off a world map and started talking about where she was born, where we had lived and where she had travelled. That was the simple printed map and crayons part! Then the conversation turned to friends and family around the globe and the activity suddenly needed scissors, glue and photos.
And then I decided to go a bit Pinterest-y and then next thing I knew we were hunting out toilet rolls and picking out beautiful dress up paper dolls from around the world. (education.com)
So if you are about to make a move abroad and wondering how to explain it to your kids, this is a great activity for all the family to get involved in, both those making the move and those staying behind.
It’s also going to continue to be a useful activity for us this summer as a number of friends are departing for new pastures around the world. Of course, I’m not sure it’s going to help the next poor soul who unwittingly asks my chatty daughter where she is from.