Travel Preparation: Familiarizing Kids with England
When we took our two kids to Disney World for the first time, I prepared them by checking which movies were represented at the park, like the oversized "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" playground at Hollywood Studios, then renting as many as I could so the kids would understand the references. Now we're going to England, and I'm planning a similar campaign. I'm on the lookout for books and films that will familiarize the kids with places and events before we go.
Here are some of the films I'm considering. I'll add to the list and flesh it out more after I've actually seen the films.
Chronicles of Narnia: Takes place in England.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Goodbye Mr. Chips
Harry Potter: We've already seen and loved all of these movies. Although they're not based in reality, we're thinking of taking a Harry Potter tour that visits real locales from the books and films, like Kings Cross Station, as well as real sites that inspired the fantastical ones that Harry Potter experienced.
Jane Eyre: Jane is mistreated by her aunt then sent to an orphanage. Grows up to fall in love with a man with a tragic secret. This might be a little too "old" for them, but there are kids in it, so I think they'll watch it.
Lionheart: Searching for King Richard in the 12th century.
Mary Poppins: Takes place in London, with London street scenes. Chim-chim-cheree!
Oliver: Lots of good street scenes.
Scrooge: Everybody loves this holiday classic.
The Secret Garden: Is the English countryside really that beautiful? I've only seen London.
The Sword in the Stone
There are books for all ages and reading abilities dealing with England and its history. Here are just a few.
A Bear Called Paddington: After Paddington Station, where he was found. The bear from darkest Peru explores the city.
The London Eye Mystery: Ted and Kat take their cousin Salim to their favorite spot in London - The London Eye ferris wheel - where he disappears! Can they discover what has become of him?
The Ravenmaster's Secret: A new prisoner is in the Tower of London, and the ravenmaster's son is curious about her.
The Time Travelers and The Time Thief: Two youngsters travel between 18th and 21st century England while being pursued by the evil Tar Man.
There are numerous websites for kids about England written with simple, easy-to-understand language.
One fun site is Kids Ask Questions About England, where the questions are asked and answered by kids.
Those who love crafts can get lost in the England Activities for Kids website, where they'll learn to make a Guy Fawkes Toilet Paper Roll Craft, design a mother's day teapot, and more.