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Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

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Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

I am looking for interesting and interactive resources - videos , books, games, apps to introduce Rome and the Roman history to 5-6 years old girl. We would be going to Rome and I would love the sightseeing to be interesting for her as well.

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1. Re: Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

We found that a book like this one (amazon.com/Rome-Then-Overlay-Giuseppe-Gangi/…) was very helpful so that the kids could make sense of the ruins.

Another thing that the younger kids enjoyed doing was a scavenger hunt, of sorts. We had them look for every animal they could find in the statues or fountains - there's an entire zoo in stone scattered about Rome.

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2. Re: Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

Here is a great series of books and activities about ancient Rome:

http://www.usborne.com/catalogue/subject/1~H~HR/romans.aspx

They have books and activities for all ages. Some of them have internet links for further exploring. I ordered one of these books for my granddaughter, who was a bit older than your daughter. I think it was the Time Traveler one. I thought it was very well done, factual but with some humour.

Edited: 17 May 2014, 14:52
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3. Re: Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

I see that the link is not clickable. Here is a shortened link, with a preview so you can see it's not a malware site:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/n4blcut

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4. Re: Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

Thank you bvlenci - I have ordered 3 of the books- See inside ancient Rome, Who were the Romans and Rome and Romans. In addition, I have prepared some documentary movies for her to watch and another book called "This is Rome' by M.Saseck that was highly recommended. There is also a family guide to Rome that I took from the local library and that's all for now. Please feel free to add up any ideas for kids entertainment while in Rome.

Unfortunately, the book by Gangi is not available in UK.

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5. Re: Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

When my granddaughter (now 8 years old) was younger, we found that she loved churches and art museums as long as they weren't crowded and the visits didn't last long.

Of ancient sites, her favorite was the Palatine Hill, which is much greener and more park-like than the Roman Forum. There she can see the ruins of the immense palace where the Roman Emperor Augustus lived. If she has some idea of how a Roman house was constructed, she'll see that this has the same form, on a much grander scale. The Colosseum and Roman Forum can be very hot in the summer, and have nearly no shade. I would make the Colosseum a very quick visit, with no tour, and spend more time on the Palatine Hill.

She absolutely loved the Villa Farnesina, a Renaissance villa set in a beautiful garden, with frescoes by Raphael. We bought her a handful of postcards at the museum shop before we went in, and challenged her to find the things depicted on the post cards. We've found that this engages her in a way that just walking through a museum doesn't. She also loved the gardens, especially the fountain.

Just across from the Villa Farnesina, the Galleria Corsini is a very small museum, easily visited in half an hour, that has an incredible density of great master paintings. It's inexpensive (€5, free for children) and never crowded, well worth the visit. For €9 you can get a joint ticket to this and the much larger Barberini Gallery, one of the best bargains in Rome.

The Barberini Gallery is very near Trevi Fountain, and we took our granddaughter there on a very hot day mainly to take advantage of the air conditioning. It's in a beautiful Renaissance palazzo and has a world-class collection of Italian paintings, from the late middle ages to early modern times. Most of the great Italian Renaissance masters have works here. We bought her the post cards, as we had done at the Villa Farnesina, but I suggest you look on the back, because some of them were at the partner site (the Corsini Gallery) not at this one. There is an amazing ceiling fresco in the Barberini Gallery, and they provide padded benches so you can lie down and appreciate it without straining your neck. Many of the paintings in the museum are based on ancient Greek or Roman legends, or on Bible stories. My granddaughter wanted me to tell her the story of nearly every painting we saw, which rather strained my knowledge of mythology and the Hebrew scripture. She was even fascinated by the rather gruesome painting (by Caravaggio) of Judith decapitating Holofernes.

Our granddaughter loves all fountains, so I would suggest stopping at any fountain you happen to pass. Not just the large ones, but the small intriguing fountains, like the Turtle Fountain in the Jewish Ghetto.

Another museum she enjoyed very much is the National Roman Museum, at the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme site, which is near Termini station. What she enjoyed the most was the Roman jewelery, but the museum is most famous for its superb collection of ancient Roman sculpture, mosaics, and even some rare wall paintings from the Villa of Livia, wife of the Emperor Augustus.

Finally, she really liked the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, which is privately owned and rather more expensive than the others. She visited this museum when she was seven years old, and was able to benefit from the excellent audio guide, narrated by a member of the Doria Pamphilj family.

We've taken her to many churches in Rome, all of which are free to enter, so if she gets bored we can just leave. She hasn't been bored yet, and enjoys putting a coin into a machine to illuminate the art works. Again, I think the secret is not to prolong the visit.

We haven't considered taking her to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, which is so huge and hot and overcrowded that I don't think it's a suitable place for a small child. I would worry that it would turn her against museums for life. We did take her once to St. Peter's Basilica, which she enjoyed. I suggest going there late in the afternoon, when the security queue is short or nonexistent and the interior is relatively uncrowded. Like all other churches in Rome, entrance is free. We've several times just spent some time in St. Peter's Square, just watching the world go by.

There are several parks that are ideal for small children in Rome. The Villa Borghese park has a bit of everything. There are little carnival-type rides, bicycle cart rentals, a pond with ducks, and even a little puppet theatre. There is also a wonderful view of the city from the Pincian overlook inside the park.

The Janiculum (Gianicolo) Hill has another park that we usually take my granddaughter to. It has another beautiful view of the city, similar to what you would see from St. Peter's Dome, which is near the hill and nearly on the same level. Here there are more little rides for children, and sometimes (especially on weekends) there are pony rides. The last several times we've been there, there has been an inflatable castle that children can climb over, slide down, and jump on.

Apart from the postcards, a great idea for a small child is to buy her an inexpensive digital camera and allow her to take her own photos. Our granddaughter took scores of photos of the cat sanctuary the first year she had a camera! We also have many crooked photos of fountains. The last time we were there, I showed her how to put her camera on self-timer, lay it down in the center of the drain beneath the oculus of the dome of the Pantheon, and get a great shot of the dome from below.

We live in Italy, and have taken our granddaughter to Rome nearly every year. She says that when she grows up she wants to live either in London or in Rome. I pointed out that she could easily live in one of these cities and visit the other, which delighted her. Probably I've suggested more things than what you could reasonably do on a single visit, but it's always nice to leave some important things unseen, giving you more incentive to return.

Edited: 19 May 2014, 13:09
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6. Re: Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

Wow! Thank you is simply not enough to express my gratitude for taking the time to write this precious advices. I would print it off , pin all the places you mentioned on the app on my phone and would just follow your guidance. I really wanted to get the more intimate feeling of Rome and I think your itinerary just does that. However, I guess I should start reading up on mythology :-) Your granddaughter is very lucky to have you!

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7. Re: Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

Great post bvlenci, mom&dads and kids thank you!

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8. Re: Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

From usborn also, my daughter liked andreocles and the lion, Its for first readers and as it has a happy ending it a good introduction and less cruel explanations about gladiatores...

9. Re: Best resources to introduce Rome to 5-6 years old

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