Subject: Re: Travelling with a toddler

Preparing for travel with books is something Ziners talk a lot about, and it is a fabulous way to directly involve children in your trip and to pass the time on that long plane ride. Older children can, of course, read their own books. But it is important not to underestimate the availability of destination-specific books that the adults can read and share with the younger non-readers, say 3+ year- old toddlers, to pique their interest in where you are going.

For example, in the Look What Came From...[insert country] series, some edited by Davis and others by Harvey, there is a book for the Netherlands. The reading level of these books is stated to be 4-8 years; there are lots of pictures, and the books are a fun way to introduce children to some of the things they will see during their visit and some of the things that are notably from the place you will visit. So, this would make a great book to share on the long plane ride over. Children's literature is also a fertile hunting ground--the traditional tale of the boy who put his finger in the dike is one I always think of for the Netherlands, and if I recall correctly, it is re-told by William Bennett in his excellent Children's Book of Virtues. Along those lines, perhaps there is a picture book version of the Hans Brinker & his Silver Skates story? Our Dutch Ziners might roll their eyes over these selections--but from my middle-aged brain, these are the first two that come to mind as being classic stories from the Netherlands that I enjoyed as a little girl. :)

We, also, always buy a children's book from each country we visit. Sometimes, you will be lucky to find bilingual books, with the text printed in both the original languge and, apropos for us, in English. More often, however, you can find popular children's books of the country that have been translated into English and other languages. These make fresh additions to the activity bag for the flight home, as well as beloved reminders of your trip that will last for life-- our children enjoy pulling the books off the shelf from time to time and reminiscing about their visit. They have also used the books for various school projects.

As an aside, I have enjoyed these threads on traveling with children. It is nice to know that there are other Ziners out there who are interested in family travel, and I especially like hearing about the grandparents who are involved in exposing their grandchildren to travel, as well. My folks started a tradition with our daughter, the oldest grandchild--when the grandchild reaches age 8, he/she may go on a journey with the grandparents. It's been a rite of passage for all of the grandchildren since, and those first trips have been so successful, they have produced clamors for more trips with the grands!

Happy travels to all.

Diana Ball near Houston, TX