Holidays are a time of travel, a time of sandy beaches, hypnotic sunshine, stamped tickets, and the excited laughter of children visiting out-of-the-ordinary places.
Holidays—and the summer months—fill our minds with those moments of wonder and imagination so natural to childhood and keep us connected to our own children.
But sometimes the household budget doesn’t stretch quite far enough for exotic adventures. What to do? Go anyway! Here’s how!
Start with a Map
- Gather your family around the kitchen table with paper, pencils, pens, and an atlas. Better yet, pull out a road map of your area. As these maps are more detailed, road maps usually have the richer place names.
- Study some maps, reading place names aloud. Listen for those syllables and sounds that tickle and tempt your ear, hinting at the exotic. Where I live, nearby towns, rivers, and mountain ranges honour the settlers who first dwelled here. Names like “Owhiro,” “Waiwhetu” “Te Aro” “Ngahape” “Matahiwi” and “Paraparaumu” dot the landscape and tease the tongue with their jumping syllables.
- Make a list of place names you like.
- Begin to imagine an island or a country or a planet where you’d like to visit.
Set Your Imagination Loose
Begin to paint this place with words and phrases.
What colour is the sky? Are there cliffs, rivers, valleys, or mountains?
Name the landforms. Are there trees or flowering plants? What do they look like? Describe and name the flowers.
Place yourself there. What does the ground feel like under your feet? Stony? Sandy?
What kind of person, or wonderful being, could you allow yourself to be there?
Create Your World
As ideas shape themselves around your kitchen table, children can begin to create colourful maps and illustrated “travel guides” of their visionary worlds.
Don’t forget rich descriptions, helping your kids write and edit for an imaginary audience of would-be adventurers or holiday makers. This is the magic of speaking and writing! In the creative power of words, our children are free to journey through the realms of their own unique imaginations.
As adults, what a wonderful gift we can give our kids: a love of adventure enhanced with the tools of creative writing and speaking.
It doesn't have to be reams of writing. A mind map with pictures cut out of magazines would work beautifully as would a video taped spoken description to watch back later.
Enjoy your magical travels!