What Montessori Parents Should Keep An Eye Out For While Travelling! Meaningful Souvenirs and Learning Tools!
We are about to spend three weeks on the road (and air). There are a few little bits and pieces that I always keep an eye out for when travelling. Some of these are to remember our travels, some are for more academic purposes and some are to add interest to our home and collections. This is not to promote consumerism but to help create a collection of thoughtful and meaning materials, from around the state, country or world!
Many of these items can be found at markets, gift shops, handmade stalls and at festivals. Some can be found at airports or onboard ferries. In the UK we've found a lot of handmade and interesting items at roadside farm shops.
- Unique Mini/Small Musical Instruments - think market stalls while you are on holidays. This is a great way to have a unique collection built over time.
- Mini Kitchen Tools and Utensils - mini wooden spoons, rolling pins, pastry brushes, mashers, we have collected many of these over the years but only seem to find them when I'm not looking. It often helps to buy these in person so you can see the size and scale. I often see them when I'm visiting another city!
- Nature Items - feathers, pinecones, interesting rocks, leaves, dried/pressed flowers. I don't suggest collecting a basket of rocks but perhaps one if you or your child finds it interesting, or a pinecone you haven't seen before. Always respect local (and interstate/international) and quarantine laws. Leaves and flowers from different areas can launch a wonderful new line of study.
- Baskets and Trays - often local markets have handmade baskets and they can be unique and sometimes traditional to the area.
- Small and Interesting Containers or Pouches/Purses - good for open/close work but also for presenting work on the shelves. Again local markets or gift shops often stock these.
- Interesting/Useful Recyclables - for creating, building, engineering, art and open ended play.
- Cultural Materials - on holidays look for authentic and genuine cultural materials like souvenirs, mini flag, regional miniatures for study and exploration once you are home. Travel/pocket street maps, tickets (public transport/museum/galleries) can also be interesting to keep and study once at home also.
- Books By Local Authors - we have a small collection of children's books all set in Cornwall by Cornwall authors (It's our favourite holiday destination). This is a nice way to remember your travels but also to connect through storytelling and illustration.
- Local Artwork - local painting, prints, calendars, or artwork are nice to bring home as a reminder or for cultural studies.
- Postcards - this may seem obvious but I always look for good photography in postcards. Often I can't get a good picture of a landmark, especially buildings and bridges, sometimes you can't get a clear view because of the crowds and some postcards have pictures taken at spectacular angles like from above. Postcards can be wonderful to display as a reminder of your holiday, for cultural studies but also for art, mathematics, design and technology, especially for sites of historical or cultural significance or those with amazing and unique architecture.
- Stamps - unique wooden block stamps especially at markets.
- Various Stickers - or sticker books, sometimes nice ones can be found at souvenir or gift shops, often they are themed to fit in with the holiday/location like beach/explorer/aquarium/zoo.
I try to focus on fair trade, locally made and hand made where possible and avoid easily breakable materials. Although when visiting a different country and non-English speaking countries, even a packet of crips or sweets are interesting and can make cute and meaningful souvenirs!