Teaching our children about the world doesn’t have to be really hard. We can ignite sparks of curiosity in our children quite easily by the normal day to day things that we come across around us. Books can be our little guides showing us the world and all that it holds but what if you cannot find the perfect book or you just don’t have the time to go looking? I recently remembered something from my childhood that had set me on the road to learning more about the world by myself. Without really realising what I was doing, I have used this form of learning for my children too. Have you ever looked through business diaries? You know… management year planners, as they are also called?
I have learned a lot about the world through my father’s business diaries. In corporate world, it is customary for businesses to gift their clients and customers business diaries, calendars, planners and stationary every new year. We would get half a dozen or more of them every year and my parents would let us keep one or more for ourselves too. Years later, parenting my kids, I find that these business diaries can be a really fun way to learn about the world.
My best memories of learning about the world are from the Atlas on our wall and these diaries. We used them in so many ways. I wish I had pictures of those books to show you because we still have them back in my parent’s home. We have saved them all for all the fun things that we have done in them. We would doodle stuff, write our daily activities because my father was very strict about asking us at the end of the day to give him a report of what we did through the day. We had invented some fun games to play in them too but the best way we used them for was to learn about the world.
All business diaries come with atlas and information about the world in them. You can find all the countries and their capitals, time differences, currency, important cities, world map with different pages for regions and continents, sometimes there is weather and tourist information too. I have been unable to find the particular ones that we enjoyed but here are a few pages from the ones that I have for my kids.
|A very easy way to find an atlas!
|Children can learn about airlines
|Embassies? It is a real conversation starter!
How can you use Business Diaries to Teach Your Child about the World
My parents never taught us how to use them. I haven’t taught my children to use them either. I only did what my parents did: I gave the diary and then watched what they did with them. Our eldest got his when he was two years old. My second born (late daughter) got hers very early… after her first birthday (she was a November baby!) and now our third who is 30 months old has got hers too. Our youngest has just turned one so not yet for her. With all three of them, I noticed that the minute they get it, they start to turn pages and look at the world map or start scribbling in them. Let me tell you about a few ways that we have used these books.
Where in the world are we and who lives where
My son noticed the maps from early on. I had told him about the world map and marked where we lived then. I also told him where other members of his family lived too. Since we are expats and we have family living around the world, it was easy for him to remember where was who. He could pinpoint where his Cousin Ibby lived or where Aunt A lived and he would show people visiting us about it in his book too.
Cheap way to know facts about different places
My children are still very small but for older kids, these diaries can be a perfect gift. I speak from my experience and from how my siblings and I learned about the world. We were always looking at the countries listed and the information that it had about them. The diaries that we had, had capitals, currency, weather, traditions, what kind of transportation was available, what the tourist destinations were, the phone numbers and addresses of the embassies and so on.
We would play imagination games together or go on adventures! We would imagine going to a place, how we would get there and what trouble we ran into… we would call our friend in another country using the extension and phone number too. (Since we were expats ourselves, we knew from early on that we had international and regional codes that we were to add to our numbers.) It was fun games to play with our neighbours too who were also expats.
With my son, we have played games where in I have used the diary while we were travelling. A few years back, we had to transit through three countries. It was a very long journey and my son loved that he could identify the names of the country and the city we were in and mark it. He had a sort of an itinerary, as to where he was going and what all places were on his list. He also loved to mark the distance we had travelled. He was 4 or 5 years old then.
Last year we travelled Yanbu by car. We had the diary with us then too. It was a four hour drive and I remember, at the end of which he remarked, that we had travelled for so long but not moved much on the map!
Another thing that my son learnt from these diaries was the time difference. He was very small then but he could understand that we were hours behind where we had travelled from. I could easily explain to him using the time difference chart in his diary and then using the map, how we add or subtract time. Of course, our child was four years old then and as we all know four year olds ask too many questions irrespective of whether they understand or not! 😀
Names of Airlines
Some diaries have the names of airlines listed too. We learnt the names of airlines quite early and this was how we learnt them!
I know that not everyone get these kind of diaries as gifts but they are very easily available everywhere. If you ever get these, you know how perfect they can be from a learning point of view! They are perfect gifts to give to children and it doesn’t matter what age they are!
What else can you use that can have the same effect?
Airline Complimentary Magazines, Tourist guides and pamphlets… These are freely available at travel agencies. What can you think of? Do let me know so I can add here.
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