“Where did Gram live when she was a little girl?” my daughter asked one evening. I told her the name of a little town in Ohio, but she wanted to know more. She asked questions, and I answered the ones that I could until she sighed and said, “I wish we could just go there.”
The truth is, I had only been to my mom’s childhood home once when I was a toddler, and I was curious about it, too! I decided to try looking it up. I asked my mom for the address of the lake house, and decided to download the free Google Earth app.
As soon as I dropped to street view on the app and saw the little cottage I had previously only remembered seeing in pictures, I knew I was hooked on Google Earth! We “walked” down her street and saw the lake where my mom had fished as a little girl. We both loved it! It wasn’t long before we were asking the grandparents for other addresses with familial ties and even looking up our own house. (I don’t know why it’s so fascinating to see your own house in an app, but it just is, okay?)
When we ran out of actual family homes to find, my daughter asked to see the home of her next of kin, Cinderella. Yes, you can even use Google Earth to walk up to Cinderella’s castle in Disney World! I mean, it’s no replacement for a trip to the most magical place on earth, but it’s still pretty cool to a 5-year-old!
To be fair, I looked up the real world home of the Golden Girls, so I guess we’re even.
Over the next few days, we began using Google Earth’s powers for educational good.
We visited all seven wonders of the world (the pyramids were her favorite), and lots of historical places in our own country. We even used it for Bible Study. She loved seeing the Sea of Galilee and ACTUAL Bethlehem, though she was a little disappointed with the lack of nativity scenes.
Google Earth even has a “roll the dice” button that my daughter LOVES to push! It will drop you into a street view to explore someplace you probably didn’t even know existed. It’s truly an amazing technology that can be used for so much more than to view your own house (who knew?!).
PRO TIP: For some extra fun, every time you open the app, take the opportunity to serenade your child with Aladdin’s love song about our world; shining, shimmering, splendid! I know my daughter really loves (hates?) it when I break into song!
Honestly, I have high hopes to REALLY travel with my family someday…you know, when our household has more than one income and less than three car seats. Until then, we are seeing the world by way of Google Earth, and having so much fun doing it!
Check it out, and when you do, come back and tell me about an amazing place you found!