Great Lakes Learning: Plan a destination dinner on a Great Lakes island

Great Lakes Learning: Plan a destination dinner on a Great Lakes island
April 6, 2020 Gary Abud Jr.

As the author of Great Lakes Now’s collection of lesson plans, educational consultant Gary Abud Jr. is now providing more support for parents, teachers and caregivers who want to incorporate Great Lakes learning into their time with children and students.

Find the lesson plans and the virtual field trip online HERE.

Almost at the snap of a finger, trips have been cancelled and travel plans have vanished. Now venturing out to the grocery store seems the equivalent of planning a family vacation.

On top of that, this is spring break season, usually a time for travel to beaches and islands, but trips like that are completely out of the question during a pandemic.

Or are they?

Although many people are staying home these days, being in one place doesn’t have to mean you can’t travel! A great idea for an at-home family activity has been making the rounds on social media lately: a destination dinner.

And we’ve got just the place to take your family—a Great Lakes Island!

The idea is simple. You choose a destination where you’d like to travel, turn your living room into an airplane and your dining room into a restaurant, learn about a location, and fly there to have some local cuisine and experience the sights of that spot.

To take some of the guesswork out of running your first destination dinner, we’ve organized a travel itinerary for your first one: the islands—the Great Lakes islands, that is!

We think your family would love to experience life on South Bass and Kelleys islands, find out where people live among the 30,000 islands in the Great Lakes using our interactive map, and attend the famous island high school basketball tournament—especially since March Madness was cancelled!

You can take this idea for a destination dinner as far as your creativity will allow. Consider some of the fun ways this has been done to inspire your own travel plans:

  • Kids dress as flight attendants and give safety instructions to their “passengers.” Watch this video about what it’s like to fly among the Lake Erie islands.
  • Display a video of flying above the clouds from an airplane on your TV to simulate the window of the plane.
  • Craft a seat belt out of whatever materials you can find to buckle up for the ride.
  • Use folding chairs and tray tables to make rows of seats (first class spacing, of course!).
  • Put magazines, books, or brown paper bags (yes, for that!) behind or underneath each seat.
  • Create paper airline tickets for the gate attendant to scan.
  • Serve snacks in takeout containers as airplane food.
  • Have the table set and waiting for your special dinner to be served.
  • Watch an in-flight “movie” about your travel destination (maybe while you eat).
  • Discuss what you learned on the plane ride home by asking everyone what they noticed and wondered about the destination.

However your family chooses to design your airplane trip is fine, but make sure to let the kids take the lead on setting this all up, mapping out a menu with you, perhaps cooking together, and investigating where you will go.

Share your photos with us – tag @GreatLakesNow on Twitter.

To help your children research the location of your destination, check out our lessons on the Great Lakes, like this one about the physical features of each lake, this one comparing different aspects of each Great Lake or one of the many other lessons in our growing collection.

When you try out a destination dinner it will create opportunities for learning, laughter and leaving you with some great memories afterward.

So, what do you say—how about heading to the islands for spring break?


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