Exposing a child to places beyond his own backyard is instrumental in giving him or her a worldly education. Geography has notoriously gone by the wayside over the years. Compared to our parent's and grandparent's generation, kid's knowledge is lacking in this area. It is our obligation to our young people to teach them to become more acquainted with the world we live in and the places they can go. Here are some fun movies to inspire and teach them about travel and all the adventures it can hold.
Rio — Photo courtesy of Rio
Animated Travel Films
For the little ones, animated features are always a hit. "Rio" (2011) follows Blu, a macaw, in his travels back to South America. "The Chipmunk Adventure" is a fun take-off on the classic "Around the World in 80 Days." "Madagascar" follows zoo animals' crazy quest to get back to Africa. "The Polar Express," adapted from the popular book, is the story of a child's longing for the need to see if the North Pole and Santa are real. "Up," winning a Golden Globe award, might be appreciated by the older child, a meaningful film about an older gentleman and his travels with his flying house to keep a promise.
Wilderness and Far Away Travel Films
What child doesn't love the excitement of the wilderness and all its natural elements? The "Adventures of the Wilderness Family" (one of 3 movies from the late 70's) follows a family who moves from the big city to the wilderness and encounter all sorts of new realities, including grizzly bears and wolves. "The Great Canoe Fish" (2004, based on the Sugar Creek Gang books) follows boys setting out on an adventure to catch the "big one." "The Amazing Panda Adventure," is a wonderful story about a boy traveling to China to help his zoologist father rescue a panda bear. "Alaska" is an action adventure surrounding children's' search, with a polar bear's help, for their lost father and his downed plane in the Alaska wilderness.
Wacky Comedy Travel Films
These films from the 50's and 60's still provide lots of travel fun: "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956 and remade in 2004) will expose kids to many different countries in this crazy tale. The 1965 British comedies "The Great Race" and "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" received great reviews. Another fun one set in Europe is "Mr. Bean's Holiday." And there's always the American cross-country trek that the Griswold's take in the hilarious "Vacation" (1983).
A scene from The Goonies — Photo courtesy of The Goonies
Action Adventure Travel Films
The first that comes to everyone's mind in this category are the "Indiana Jones" trilogy, famous for Indy's treks to faraway lands to find what he's looking for. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is a big favorite. "The Goonies" (1985) is a fun story of kids embarking on an adventure to find treasure after finding a map in the attic. Who can resist all the swashbuckling action in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies? Ah, to be at the helm of a ship. And who can ever forget "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," from 1968, starring the lovable Dick Van Dyke.
Fantasy Travel Movies
"Journey to the Center of the Earth"(first released in 1959, remade in 2008) follows a scientist and his nephew's trek down an extinct volcano's trail in Iceland to the center of the earth. "Journey 2" (just released) promises more fantastical adventure. "Mio in the Land of Faraway" (1987) is an interesting boy's journey to Green Meadow Island, in the Land of Faraway.
Good to Be Back Home — Photo courtesy of twm1340
But the all-time most watched movie of all, one whose story starts with a girl's bump on the head during a tornado, and her subsequent travels to somewhere not in Kansas anymore, teaches her - and all of us - that travel is wonderful and something that everyone should be fortuntate enough to do . . . but in the end, there's no place like home.