Thursday, February 24, 2011

Movies and books for traveling kids

Preparing your kids for family trips, whether it's shorter family vacations or longer trips to places they haven't seen before, is a great idea. I'm a big believer in preparation: talking to your kids about where you're going, what will happen on the flight and when you arrive, all that stuff.

Reading books and watching movies or shows about travel, and about the place you're going to can really help. Here are some suggestions of books, movies, and TV-shows that feature stories from various parts of the world, take place in different countries, or are specifically about traveling. I think they can all help children get into the traveling spirit!


Kidogo - This book about a baby elephant is set on the African plain, and features animals from the area. A great story for young kids!

The Road to Mumbai
The Road to Mumbai - My daughter loves this story about a little girl who flies off in her bed, with her pet monkey to get to a monkey wedding in Mumbai.
Paddington Bear & Book Gift SetPaddington
Paddington Bear - If you're headed to Britain, specifically London, the books about Paddington Bear are a great read!
Strega Nona's HarvestStrega Nona

Strega Nona - All the books about Strega Nona are set in Strega Nona's village in Calabria and even feature some Italian words and phrases. My kids love these stories, and I think they might make a great read if you're headed out on a family trip to Italy.
MadelineMadeline in London

Madeline - This is a real classic, and the illustrations in the original book show off many of the most famous places in Paris. I'd bring it along to read with my kids if I was going there with them!

Top of the World (Toot & Puddle)The Great Cheese Chase (Toot & Puddle)Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas
Toot and Puddle - These little pigs go traveling all over the world. Or at least Toot does. Puddle likes to explore closer to home, but does come along occasionally. Wonderful stories whether you catch the TV-show or read the books.
Emil and His Clever Pig (Emil in Lonneberga, #3)Karlson on the RoofRonia, the Robber's Daughter

Books of Astrid Lindgren - As a Swedish Canadian, I have to recommend Astrid Lindgren's books. They are essential reading for Swedish children, and if you go to Sweden, you can even visit Junibacken in Stockholm and meet up with some of the characters from the books. I'd specifically recommend the books about Emil, "Ronia, the Robber's Daughter", and "Karlson on the Roof".

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
Harry Potter - So many kids (and adults) love the world of Harry Potter. If you're headed to London or Britain, they are definitely a good way to get your kids excited about that destination!

Movies & TV-shows

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: Kai-Lan's CarnivalNi Hao Kai-Lan - Super Special Days/Celebrate With Kai-Lan (2-Pack)Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: Kai-Lan's Great Trip to China
Ni Hao Kai Lan - Kai Lan is a great TV-show, teaching kids phrases and words in Chinese, and also introducing Chinese culture, animals and stories. Definitely a good pick for younger kids, though my 8 year old still watches this show too!
Go Diego Go! - Underwater MysteryDora The Explorer: Let's Explore! Dora's Greatest Adventures

Dora the Explorer & Go Diego Go - Both these shows feature phrases and words in Spanish, and are also great little adventures for kids to watch featuring various animals and environments. Dora's use of maps can also be inspiring for children: my kids both play "map games" when they pretend to be following map directions, just like Dora and Boots do.

The Lion King (Disney Special Platinum Edition)
The Lion King - This classic Disney movie is a great movie to watch for any reason, but if you're headed to Africa, it would be especially inspiring for children.
Finding Nemo (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)Ratatouille [Blu-ray]

Ratatouille & Finding Nemo - My kids have a real soft spot for Pixar movies (probably inspired by their parents), and these two movies are real favorites of theirs. If you're headed to France on a family vacation, I think Ratatouille would be a must-see. It might even make your kids more excited about trying French cuisine! Finding Nemo is a classic as well, and since it's set both underwater in Australia, and above the water in Australia, it could be a great movie pick for a family traveling down-under.

The Princess and The Frog (Three Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
The Princess and the Frog - My kids love this movie, and it features a lot of great scenery, animals, music, and food (as well as accents!) from the New Orleans area.
Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]

Wallace and Gromit - The movies about Wallace and Gromit are works of sheer claymation genius, featuring Wallace's zany inventions and evil penguins masquerading as chickens (you'll see). They also feature a humorous look at British society and habits such as tea drinking, upper class mansions, vegetable fairs, Wensleydale cheese, and expressions ("cracking toast Gromit!").

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