A couple of years ago my kids traveled around North America without leaving the house. Instead of learning about the geography of the United States and Canada through a textbook, we learned through virtual travel.
My kids like games so I came up with a way for our virtual travel to be a game. The object of the game was to visit as many provinces and states as possible while spending the least amount of money.
The rules of play:
- Choose a new car keeping in mind the price of the car and the mpg. The cost of the car was added to the total travel costs.
- The starting position of each player was determined by drawing a North American Continent puzzle piece out of a hat. Each player then determined the exact starting place in their drawn province/state by looking at a road atlas.
- Gas costs, hotel costs, and attraction costs were to be tallied on the journey.
- Only 300 miles were allowed per day. Once 300 miles were reached the player had to find a hotel to spend the night.
- Fill up on gas at destination using local gas price from gasbuddy.com. The average highway and city mpg was used to determine how many gallons were needed to fill up the tank.
- 1 attraction had to be visited each day of travel. Each player had to report on the attraction visited and photoshop themselves into a picture of the attraction.
How it worked:
When it was time for geography, each child plotted out a course on the atlas considering the 300 mile maximum. They had to find lodging at their destination and find some kind of attraction on their journey or at their destination. They used the internet to determine which attractions were available and chose one that sounded interesting to them. Once the attraction was decided on, the child read about it and watched Youtube videos related to the attraction. Afterwards, each child wrote up a summary of their “adventure” at the attraction. They also photoshopped themselves into a picture of the attraction to make it look like they were there. They had to keep track of the costs of the attraction and the costs of the hotel.
When my kids traveled virtually, they were age 4, 8, and 10. I’m sharing a favorite travel day as well as their final tallies for each of my kids.
4 year old
Started trip at: Cow’s Head, Newfoundland
Ended trip at: Madison, WI
Miles traveled: 3125
Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Prius Two painted pink $24,000 for car and $2000 for paint job $26,000
Average mpg: 50 mpg
Total gas costs: $280.30
Total lodging costs: $844.94
Total attraction/ferry costs: $347.35
Trip costs: $1472.59
Running total: $27472.59
States and Provinces visited: Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin
Day 7: Providence, RI to Allentown, PA
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Spent the night in Allentown, PA at the Super 8 for $46
Visited the Statue of Liberty and spent $9 for the ferry
Filled up her tank in Allentown, PA for $21.25
“I was at the Statue of Liberty. And it was so much fun. I liked the Statue of Liberty at night and I saw some fire. I went inside the Statue of Liberty and I went up on the steps. And then I went back in the car to go to another place.”
8 year old
Vehicle: Lime Green 2013 Ford Mustang $24,185
Average mpg: 23 mpg
Total gas costs: $558.82
Total lodging costs: $901.53
Total attraction costs: $230.00
Trip costs: $1690.35
Running total: $25875.35
States and Provinces visited: Quebec, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ontario, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming
Day 3: Westford, MA to Dover, NJ
“One day I went to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. I saw a sign. It said it was the 126th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. At first I took the elevator in the pedestal and then I walked up the spiral stairs up to the top at the crown. It was hot at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty and cold at the top. I could see for many miles. I had two hammers in my pocket. I was going to New York City to fix something. After I fixed things I stopped by the Statue of Liberty on the way home. When I was climbing down the steps one hammer flew out of my pocket. It broke a chunk off the Statue of Liberty. I had to pay $200,000,000 fine for the part that broke. Next time I go, I won’t bring a hammer.”
10 year old
Vehicle: 2013 Red Volkswagen Beetle $21,115
Average mpg: 25 mpg
Total gas costs: $496.59
Total lodging costs: $1035.30
Total attraction costs: $123.45
Trip costs: $1655.34
Running total: $22,770.34
States and Provinces visited: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Quebec, and Ontario.
Day 1: Twitty Texas to Tulsa, Oklahoma
Visited the Science Museum of Oklahoma and spent $12.95 on a ticket.
“I visited the Science Museum of Oklahoma for the day. I had a good time looking at the exhibits. But someone on the segway course jumped over a ramp and hit the fire alarm! Everybody ran out, but I had enough time to enjoy the exhibits.”
Check out more virtual field trip ideas at Gifted Homeschoolers Forum.