Being in lockdown has not been made easy by our four-year-old daughter, who insists on playing planes and rubbing our faces in our clipped wings.
So on Thursday we’re off — well, off to the living room. But when you’ve got an imagination and access to the internet, the whole world is at your fingertips. So we’re going to India.
STEP 1: DECIDE WHERE TO GO
If you have a globe, give it a spin and stop it with your finger. If you haven’t landed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, make your chosen destination where your finger lands.
You can also flip to a random page in an atlas or have one child say the alphabet until another person tells them to stop. The first place you can think of beginning with that letter is your chosen destination.
STEP 2: WORK OUT YOUR BUDGET
This is a great way to teach kids the value of experiences over material possessions. Discuss how much your pretend budget is and what is important to you (level of comfort, etc) and what isn’t.
Obviously, for the young ones, the budget is usually somewhere between $3 and eleventy million hundred dollars...
STEP 3: HEAD TO THE TRAVEL AGENT
Dressing up is crucial in this game (and, I believe, in life). So go all out. Have your child pretend to be a travel agent. They can pop their school uniform on and sit behind a computer. You pretend to be a customer and together you can book flights, accommodation and tickets to attractions.
This is a great way for them to learn about planes, plane routes and different types of accommodation. Drooling over some gorgeous villas is a must!
STEP 4: PACK
If you don’t want to deal with clothes everywhere (because by now, we’ve all done our ironing and have no where to go), the little ones can simply pack their backpacks with what they consider important (so that’s chocolate and at least one of the dogs) or you can put together a packing list.
Help teach your kids responsibility for their belongings and not rely on you on your next trip away.
STEP 5: GO TO THE AIRPORT
This is ironically the most fun in our family. Checking in, going through security and wandering about an airport is infinitely more fun when pretending.
Don’t forget being stressed in traffic on the way and the walk through duty free where you pop on as much super expensive moisturiser as you can without drawing suspicion.
For those keen to make this whole experience educational, look at airport maps and research important roles at the airport, such as air traffic control.
STEP 6: BOARD THE PLANE
My daughter is the pilot for about three minutes (just to make sure the plane’s in the air and then “it just does it automatically”) so she can play at being the (very bossy) flight attendant.
A variation of the school uniform can be worn with a scarf or tie for both roles. She particularly loves acting out the safety instructions and making sure we’re buckled in and our seats are up.
For those with kids a little less into play acting, this is where you google hilarious safety videos (usually Air NZ’s) and discuss why you have to take certain safety measures.
STEP 7: ARRIVE IN THE HOTEL
I have been accused of using this step to clean up. It just so happens that my daughter is making her way through the various roles at a hotel and housekeeping always happens to be the one we’re working on. So the beds have to be made, the bathrooms cleaned...
STEP 8: EXPLORE THE DESTINATION
This morning we ‘went’ to Hawaii and made leis out of paper and string. We also learned to hula care of my daughter’s ballet teacher.
Decorate a room with appropriate art and craft (there’s an hour gone easy), engage in a cultural activity from the area and then, most importantly, make and eat some local food.
Obviously, if you’re like us, you’re limiting how often you head to the shops, so it might be an idea to stock up on some spices and ingredients. This is where rigging Step 1 helps.
STEP 9: BRAG
This is the sneaky way of getting your kids to prove that they’ve learned something. They can post photos or change the background on a Zoom call with a loved one so that they can pretend to be on holiday and talk about all the things they’ve done and all the food they’ve eaten.
STEP 10: COME HOME
And do the laundry.
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