Some parents sign up their kid for swimming lessons or the soccer team, hoping an Olympic medal or the World Cup may be in his future. My husband, Erik, and I put up a map of the world in our son's room in the hopes that he can be a competitor in the National Geographic Bee. Well, okay, we aren't really that obsessive about teaching our preschooler geography, but we are definitely committed to instilling a love of travel.
I had mentioned in an earlier blog post that we got a map of the world for Kellan's third birthday. Little did we know what a huge hit it would be. We put little flags on cities we have visited - only cities we've visited by plane to avoid cluttering the map around where we live in Portland - and we talk about the places where we plan to travel.
Now it's a before-bedtime ritual for Kellan to sit on top of the little table and talk about the map with us. He likes to point to different countries and ask who lives there. For some reason he has taken a shine to Australia so we told him about the kangaroos, koalas, and wombats that live there. Last night he pointed to Mauritania and asked who lived there. "Um, Mauritanians?" was my lame answer. I definitely need to up my game!
We are not trying to create some sort of stage parent parlor trick - Watch the three-year-old name all the countries in Africa - it started out as a way for us to get Kellan excited about our next big trip this fall. Erik and I have a serious case of wanderlust and want to share a love of travel with our son. We also hope he develops a curiosity and respect for new cultures and landscapes. Oh, and if he is lucky enough to be a part of the geography bee then that would be okay too.