Bakery, Barbells and Bargains I own a bakery, and I like to lift weights and shop

November 16, 2017

Unexpected Education

Filed under: Mommy Life,Vacations — shuss @ 10:29 am

When we planned to visit California, we planned it for the fall season to avoid peak crowds and to see the fall colors. This did mean taking our first grader out of school for the week, so I started with a call to the school social worker to let her know about our plans. She told me to write a letter to the principal with details of what we were doing each day and she could excuse days depending on the educational experiences.

While writing my letter, I was pretty confidant that the days in the national parks were education but I thought Disneyland and Hollywood would be hard to justify. During the trip, I found some learning opportunities I had never thought of that reminded me that all travel is educational. Here is what I learned.

Flying! Airports and airplanes have a lot of rules and little ones are full of questions. Learning opportunities here included time management, reading directional signs, listening to the flight crew and going through security. We had two bags that required searching, due to me forgetting to put my sunscreen in the checked luggage and we had a bottle of water. We explained this part as best as possible without scaring our child with stories of terrorist, she’s a bit young for that. On one of the plane rides, Sammie was thrilled to get to assist the airline attendant in giving the safety talk and she got a free drink out of it. You’re never too young to learn how to get some airline perks. 😉

At Disneyland we had some other opportunities come up that I had not thought of. The first was time management. Sammie had previously looked at the rides online and knew which ones she wanted to ride the most. We would be near one ride, and she would be excited to go ride another instead….way across the park. We talked to her about making the best use of our time by riding things in order as we arrived to them.  This was also a good lesson in patience and self control.

Another thing Sammie was curious about were the signs instructing you how to properly sit in the rides, with a simple illustration of one person sitting correctly and another falling out of the seat. We explained how you have to sit down to stay safe and best enjoy the ride, and we also told her how the person falling out of the ride was making very poor decisions and how you do not want to be that person.  We actually discussed good decision making a lot on this trip….staying on marked trails, not approaching wildlife, staying with mommy and daddy and following directions.

Disneyland is also a great place to talk about budgeting because there are many things kids (and adults too) want to purchase. I did not do the best job at this because I did splurge and let her get a few more souvenirs than promised, but we did agree to forgo a cotton candy treat to get a stuffed bear.  The bear was a few more dollars but at least the bear wouldn’t cause more cavities.  So we did not do the best job at this, but it can be a good learning opportunity if you want it to be. But if not, no big deal, its not every day you visit Disneyland.  Just remember to remind your kids that Disney is a special place and that is why they get treats.

The final thing I noticed was reading. Sammie read all over the place at Disney. Signs describing rides, signs with rules, menus, maps, and even the signs telling you where you could read a copy of a ride’s inspection report at town hall.  Out and about in Hollywood she read store signs, street signs and more.  She read everything she saw and asked questions about all of it.

The final day of our trip spent in Hollywood was a bit harder to find learning opportunities so I had to dig deep on this one. The first thing that comes to mind is just seeing another area of the country and a different lifestyle. We live in a small mountain town and our nearby city is still small for city standards.  Driving through LA, GPS took us through all sorts of different neighborhoods and I found it great to see what other residential areas look like. On Hollywood Blvd, there were many people “hustling” to make a living by dressing as Batman, Wonder Woman, Mickey Mouse, ect. This is not something she has ever seen before and does not see on a regular basis. On a sad note, she saw homeless people sleeping on the streets for the first time and asked about them later.  She has seen people with homeless signs during the day before, but not the actual reality of someone having to sleep on a sidewalk bench.  It was an opportunity to explain how our world has lots of need and ways we can help.

So these were just a few little unexpected learning opportunities.  I am thinking we could make Hawaii or Italy an educational trip next 😉

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