Friday, August 16, 2013

Navigating a City? Let the kids give it a go!

Most people either have a great sense of direction or they are lost most of the time.  Is a sense of direction or the ability to read a map something we are just born with?  Or are these learned?  In a world of GPSs, are these abilities null and void? 
I love maps!  One of my daughters loves maps. It is rare that I am lost even before the invention of the GPS I always kind of knew where I was, knew where I came from and knew where I was going. 
On our family trip to Charleston for spring break I had an idea. Charleston is a very walkable city. It was a new city to us and as easy as it would have been to use the walking option on our navigation app on our phones, I decided let's let the kids navigate us through the city. 
I had made plenty of reservations for meals and activities during our stay. Sidebar - kind of a must when visiting during a super busy time like spring break.  Due to the fact that we knew in advance where and when we needed to be certain places I printed directions from our condo to all the activities. I chose the walking option on mapquest and printed each leg of our day separately so that the kids could alternate who had the chance to be the navigator.  With print out in hand our little explorers looked excited with their new sense of purpose. To get there family from here to there. Even at the age of 11 or 9 or even 3 to have that much responsibility is fun. Yes, I did one for the baby too (only one turn). As parents it was awe inspiring to watch their tentative little faces tilt up to read street signs and raise their hands to make the letter L shape with their fingers to help them remember their left from their right. 
Yes, this whole process was more work for me before we even left our home.  Printing and highlighting activities for three days- from the condo to breakfast, from breakfast to museum, from the museum to lunch -  you get the picture.  It was certainly worth the effort. I hope to instill in our kids a sense of exploring wonder that they can manage their way through our big beautiful world with a built-in internal compass.  That will always help them find where they are going and help them find their way home. 

If you like this post check out this one you will LOVE it - Where the Road Takes You (or your kids take you)

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