Be a Thoughtful Traveler

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The lesson that accompanied Travis’s Mango Sticky Rice from Raddish Kids was all about etiquette while traveling abroad – big stuff for a small four-year-old! I made it accessible with more of a role-play game and I liked giving him this intro to different customs.

First, I walked up to Travis and gave him a fist bump. Well, this got a look of surprise, not normally how mommy greets him!

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Do something similar to your child, whether a wave, a hug, a high five, or anything out of the norm. I explained that people around the world greet each other differently, and we were headed on a “trip” to find out more!

We checked out a good infographic with different greetings, and cut up cards with each country’s name on it.

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I asked him which one he liked best (everything from touching an elder’s feet in India to shaking fists in Niger), and he chose the Maori hongi greeting. To New Zealand we go!

That meant racing to his room to spot New Zealand on the map. “We have to fly far!” he exclaimed. For role-play fun, pack a bag. Travis decided he needed a comic book and a bathing suit.

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Off to the plane! The country name card became our plane ticket, which he loved hole punching.

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We mimed getting into our seats and flying.

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I could get used to this travel without the hassle! In no time we were in “New Zealand”, and now we could do the hongi.

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We also tested out a high five, a traditional Thai wai, and more, each time first pinpointing the country on his map, and then boarding our airplane.

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There’s a lot in this lesson that we didn’t do. For extension with older children, ask lots of questions about what it will be like upon reaching their destination. Reflect on what it means to be “thoughtful” in another country. Have your child pick a country and learn the traditional greeting, then design a way to teach their peers about it, whether through a travel brochure, song, dramatization, or other medium. You could even play World Greeting Charades!

Babble with Baby

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Veronika is definitely trying to tell us (and her toys!) something these days; that girl can babble! And she keeps up a steady stream of chatter when she plays or looks at us these days, as if to say, “Can’t you understand me?”.

In the past, I’ve advocated turning your baby’s syllables into words. “Ga” can become garage or goose, for example. But today, I flipped that around. If she “hmmmed,” I “hmmmed” back at her. If she said “ga ga ga” (a favorite these days), I replied “ga ga ga” or “la la la”, trying to pick up on her rhythm.

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Wouldn’t you know, she loved it. It was as if I had learned her language, and she was praising me!

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One way to get her going is to read the newspaper by her side. I read my news and she “reads” her Hello magazine. Pretty soon she was babbling up a storm. I responded back with my own sounds – all the news that’s fit to babble!

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We kept it up all day, and big brother Travis loved it. “Everyone talk like Veronika!” he said on our walk. You can see her delight when he copied her.

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This was a great way to get an older sibling more focused on your baby’s sounds, especially if they are frustrated that baby isn’t “talking” yet.


Take a Texture Trip

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The other day, Veronika and I took a listening trip around the house, giving her plenty of auditory sensory play. Today, it was time to take a texture trip!

As with sounds, this is one of those activities that might seem simplistic, but your baby will never know these words and sensations if you aren’t the teacher! So we paused at some obvious contrasts. Cold fridge and hard wood floor.

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Fluffy carpet:

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Smooth pillow:

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Soft towels:

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Don’t feel like your need to stick to your child’s hands, either; rubbing a fabric on a baby’s cheek or leg is a great new sensation. Here’s Veronika feeling mommy’s silky scarves.

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We also sought out toys today with lots of texture. She especially loves elephant’s crinkly ears!

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In sum, have fun with this, and be sure to use lots of descriptive language and find exciting contrasts around the house. What textures will you show your baby? Please share in the comments!