A few days ago I was listening to Bob McDonald, a science journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, talk about images of Pluto that were coming from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. The images, beamed to earth, were showing us things that we never expected. “The earth,” he said, “is just one member of a family. That’s why we explore. That’s why we go to places we’ve never been before. It’s knowledge for the sake of knowing it.” McDonald says he first became interested in space when he was given a picture book of the planets for his 7th birthday. That was his introduction.
I just spent two weeks travelling around Ontario and Quebec with two of my young grandkids and must say that travel, like that book on the planets, encourages a sense of wonder. During our travels we learned a lot about animals and fish, how bees make honey, all about water, energy and wind power, and so much more. Sometimes we just had fun, like having our hair and face painted on Canada Day.
These places and experiences were not new to me but they were to the kids, and that’s what made each day special. Like their 1st ride on a subway, being asked questions in French, being allowed to choose Fruit loops from the breakfast buffet, having a pigeon steal their lunch.
The Canadian Children’s Museum in Gatineau, one of the places we visited, is all about travel. When we arrived each child was given a ‘passport’ to get stamped at ‘official checkpoints’ as they travelled around the museum’s world. The kids road a bus to Pakistan, drummed a message in Nigeria, prepared food for the market in Mexico, dressed in a kimono in Japan, were in a shadow puppet play in Indonesia, and so on. While the themes may not reflect these societies today, what the exhibits did was encourage kids to pack their bags and let their imaginations “grow wings”.
Wise advise, I’d say.
Sylvia Fanjoy, editor
© Riding the buses™ 2015