Study Hall: Essays On Travel, Travel U for Kids

Travel U: The Power of Wow

I was recently teaching a series of lessons to my first graders that had us “traveling” all over the world. The circumstances were quite accidental. It started when I did a lesson with “Fin M’Coul, The Giant of Knockmany Hill” for St. Patrick’s Day. The kids did not believe that there was an actual place that has those hexagonal rocks so we researched Giant’s Causeway. One thing led to another, and we began exploring all kinds of stories from around the world. I wondered what would make my class say wow! Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!

Each new destination surprised me. The kids would listen politely and enjoy but didn’t quite understand why a particular destination was amazing. Day after day, we read about the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, Uluru. Book after book and I just didn’t see that sparkle in their eye. Quite frankly, I could not figure out why the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum did not impress.

Giant's Causeway invokes the power of wow!

As I was explaining the Bridge of Sighs to them, I mentioned that I thought it was so beautiful and the art was so lovely. “I can only imagine how long it took to make”. One student piped up and said, “well, not that long, it’s not that big of a bridge.” From the mouths of babes. This comment started an amazing conversation. ‘Well, there was no electricity.” I said. ‘Wow” they replied. We talked about not having heavy machinery, no computers to develop the art, having to be a true artist with patience. Little by little, the concept of ‘wow’ started to get clearer.

I learned that three things contributed to the wow factor:

  • How old is it?
  • What kind of technology was available?
  • What is the depth of art involved?

As we revisited place after place, I began using these three questions to guide my discussions with my 7 year old friends and finally, the wows started to surface, that sparkle started to shine. Hooray!

So, what makes you say wow? I mean what makes you feel like you are impressed and awed by something? Wow happens to be one of the most important factors of good travel. Imagine traveling somewhere new and never saying out loud or in your mind “wow”? In fact, the power of wow is probably the single most motivator to enjoy travel no matter where you go or what your personal preferences are.

So what makes you say “wow”? More importantly, what are you doing to ensure those “wow” moments happen no matter where you are? No matter how old or young we are, regardless if we are fervent travelers or just testing the travel waters, if the wow factor isn’t part of the experience, we are missing out. Never miss out.

  • How do I get my kids interested in travel?
  • What is the best way to get my kids to enjoy our vacation?
  • Why won’t my kids say wow when we travel?

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