For a little bit of context, our girls saved up for a couple months to have spending money for their Europe trip. They were quite successful at both saving and receiving some money from friends/family for the occasion (thank you Lynne and Grandma) - by the time our trip started they had both saved ~$150 each! As many of you might know, Europe is expensive and we wanted to help out a bit! So we created a couple games for them to "learn and earn" (or at least avoiding the hundreds of questions).
Game 1: Turn on the shower and flush the toilet
One of the more novel things I remember from my first trip to Europe in 1991 were all of the different ways the Europeans had for turning on
the faucets, the bath tubs, etc. Of course a teenage boy would remember this!
"Should I turn on the miniature sink?"
We've traveled enough since then to know that there's still quite a variety and wanted to fun way to combine:
Learning how to flush the toilet and turn on the shower without asking Mom and Dad at every place
Making a bit of spending money
Here are the rules:
When we check into a new place we are staying, girls head to the toilet
They figure out how to turn on and sustain a warm shower temperature
They figure out how to flush the toilet
When ready, they call me in to independently verify that they know how the different items work
If successful, they both get Euro 2,50.
If one of them does not successfully test it out - neither of them get money. It's a kind of cooperative game!
It's not as simple as it seems! It promotes problem solving, teamwork, and gets them a few more bucks in their pockets for gelato!
Please note: There was a new fixture that Siena discovered in our first Rome hotel. She ask if she could get extra money if she "can turn on the miniature sink" - it was a bidet.
Game 2: Mom Trivia
Mom Trivia is ingenious. How do you get kids to listen to important and interesting facts while at the Vatican, the Forum, and while walking around? It's simple, you hook them with trivia. Anything we learn throughout the day could become a random/arbitrary fact later in the day (or even the next day). If the girls were listeners and they can recall the facts they can earn varying degrees of "prize money". Tyically it's 1 Euro but can be 2 or 3 Euro for really tough questions.
Here are some sample 1 Euro questions (scroll down for the answers):
What did they do with the marble that they took from the Colosseum?
What are the hats made from for Royal Guards?
What day was Julius Caesar murdered?
What was the admission price to the Colosseum?
What did a thumbs up or thumbs down mean from the Roman Emperor?
Answer Key (and no, you don't get the money)
It was removed to make Churches, Houses, and Fountains for the Papal state. The Romans were originally Pagan and persecuted the Christians. When the Roman empire started to become the center of the Catholic Church, they got rid of a lot of the Roman history (including the marble).
Hats are made from Canadian Black Bear fur. Some of the hats are more than 200 years old!
The Ides of March (March 15th)
It was Free! The Emperor wanted to show how awesome the Roman state was. Admission was free and they even included food and drink too! Free beer for everyone!
Thumbs up: I (the Emperor) am enjoying the fight and want to see both gladiators fight another day. Thumbs down: I do not like the fight and one of the gladiators will die; it's a fight until the death. It was a sign of the ultimate power of a single individual.