I should probably be posting something about Christmas or the winter season, but since we just returned from our trip to New York City I wanted to post some ideas about our trip and about how to make a fun vacation into a valuable educational experience.
This post is dedicated to the 9/11 memorial. If you are visiting New York City or live there, I would highly recommend visiting the memorial. It is free, but you have to reserve tickets ahead of time. You can reserve passes at this website: http://www.911memorial.org/visitor-passes
If you have young children they may not even know the significance of September 11 so it would be a good idea to teach them about it beforehand.
On the memorial site you can find some clear and easy to use lessons for every grade. The one my children liked best was "Furry Heroes." It is a very easy to follow lesson about the K-9 heroes that helped with search and rescue.
You can browse this site to find lessons that would be best for your children:
We also watched several videos that I found on You Tube that I felt were appropriate and educational for my kids.
Finally I gave them each a blank sheet of paper and asked them to draw a picture about what they had learned about 9/11. This is what they drew:
The Anchor's picture is on the left. I'm not sure what everything is (neither was he), but the two towers are clearly there with a big American flag on top of one. One the right, The Free One drew an action packed picture. You can see the two towers with the airplanes crashing into them. There is smoke and fire, people running away from the buildings, and even jumping out of the windows. On the upper right is the Flight 93 plane that crashed into the ground. If you look closely you can see the passengers fighting with the terrorists. I could tell by their drawings that they had learned a lot from our lessons at their own level of understanding. Learning about 9/11 before we visited the memorial made our trip much more interesting and meaningful for the boys.
When you visit the memorial, you are allowed to leave tribute items that are collected at the end of the day and will later be displayed in the museum that is still under construction. We had the boy's pictures laminated and they were happy to leave them at the memorial. As we walked away we noticed the other visitors start to crowd around and take pictures of the boy's drawings.