We all want our children to grow up and become successful in whatever path they choose to take in life. In the ’80s, parents made the mistake of telling their children they could be anything they wanted: the president, an astronaut or a professional athlete. We know the “unique snowflake” idea is bologna these days, but it doesn’t mean we can’t broaden the horizons for our children. Your kid can become anything he or she wants — if it’s a fictional character they long to emulate.
Kids love to idolize their fictional heroes from books and the silver screen, so we’ve decided to start a new series on how to help your child become an awesome fictional character. The first character we chose was the famous archaeologist Indiana Jones.
First, we need to separate the fact and fiction, in other words the real archaeologist from the “scientist” Dr. Jones. Yes, that means teaching your kids the basics of anthropology, sociology, archaeology and let’s not forget snakes.
“Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”
Notice I mentioned girls. Yes, girls can pretend to be Indiana Jones just like boys. Seize this opportunity to get your kid interested in the history of human culture. The whole point of this guide is that your child actually gets excited about learning. That’s where we start.
Step 1 Gaining Knowledge
“Professor of Archaeology, expert on the occult, and how does one say it… obtainer of rare antiquities.”
Dr. Jones has a vast wealth of knowledge when it comes to science, history and mythology. There are numerous resources that exist about folklore and myths for kids.
The Illustrated Book of Myths is a fantastic introduction to myths from around the world. The stories are kept short here, so your child won’t easily get bored. This is a great place to start. Hopefully, by lighting the spark, your child will want to delve deeper into specific cultures.
Your child will no doubt be fascinated by the second movie, Temple of Doom. Between the “gross-out” dinner scene and the not-so sanitary “open heart surgery,” kids will be asking tons of questions. Luckily for you, there’s a book called How Parvati Won the Heart of Shiva (Classic Indian Stories For Children) that will provide them with some answers and an introduction to Hindu myths. Indian folklore is rich in culture and history. Use Temple of Doom to inspire your young adventurer to learn the true myths behind the movies. You can apply this same strategy with the Ark and the Holy Grail as well. In a few years, you can look forward to showing them Monty Python and the Quest For the Holy Grail.
If you find your offspring getting hooked on mythology, then shove some Greek myths in their face. Personally, I find them the most of exciting for kids. Especially with popular fictional books like the Percy Jackson series. A Child’s Introduction to Greek Mythology is loaded with tragedy and adventure. The first part concentrates on the gods and goddesses, while the second part deals directly with the myths themselves.
Myths are all fine and dandy, but what about the world we live in today? Indiana Jones has to deal with different cultures in all four movies. With that being said, it’s important to press upon your kid that there are many different types of people on the planet. Children from Australia to Zimbabwe is the perfect book to help illustrate this point. If they’re going to travel the world solving history’s questions then they better know all the local customs. The book is divided by continents and contains images of kids from 25 countries. A perfect starting point for a future globetrotter.
“Nothing surprises me; I’m a scientist.”
Finally, let’s talk about archaeology. Luckily there is a magazine that is just for kids called Dig. A subscription gets you nine issues per year. It’s loaded with fun facts, trivia, news articles and activities. A good way to keep your child interested through elementary and middle school.
Step 2 Dressing The Part
Now that we have the kiddos on their way to obtaining a doctorate, let’s talk about dressing like the good doctor. I’m talking about Indiana, not the British doctor who travels through time. That’s another article.
We spent a few hours browsing the internet piecing together the perfect outfit that is as authentic as possible. We’re not talking about cheap store-bought Halloween costumes here. We researched the real deal. Fortunately, TheRaider.net provides an awesome resource for assembling an authentic adult version, and this helped us piece together one for boys and girls.
The hat and jacket are going be the easiest pieces to find. We previously wrote about the hat on our site. Unfortunately, we have good news and bad news when it comes to the jacket. The good news is that the company that makes the authentic jacket makes a junior version. The bad news is that you are going to pay a moderately high price for authenticity. Our research concludes that the craftsmanship is wonderful though, so we feel confident it is worth the money.
The pants are fairly simple. You’re looking for khaki pleated “school uniform” pants. For boys, we found some suitable replicas from Old Navy and Dickies. For girls, we discovered some from Lands’ End (make sure you select khaki color). You’ll want to grab a wide leather belt with a buckle to keep those pants up.
Choosing the proper shirt is the most difficult. Indy wears a double breasted long sleeve white-and-tan (depending on the movie) shirt with pleats. What shirt designer puts pleats on shirts anymore? Of course they make the authentic one for adults, but we had to get creative for kids. For boys, we have two options: a tan one from Columbia and a white one from Wrangler. For girls, we narrowed it down to two options: The Safari Store in London and Columbia. If you go with white, let your child roll in the dirt and filthy it up. They’ll love you more for it.
Dr. Jones carries a bag, a whip and a revolver. You can purchase a toy revolver at any toy store. The bag is a little more tricky. It is a British gas mask bag from the 1930s. The good news is that there are all sorts of awesome replicas available. If you are more into DIY, check out this forum to sew the bag yourself.
You are in luck with the whip. There’s a kid’s version available. Unless, you want to give your child a real whip, in which case you might be borderline insane.
Step 3 Activities
“Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.”
At this point, your kids have some knowledge and they are appropriately dressed. Now it is time for them to act the part. Your children might not be ready to fly over to Egypt and start excavating tombs, but they can still pretend. Check out the Archaeology Pyramid Dig. If you want more bang for your buck, we recommend real-life treasure hunting with this metal detector for kids. Grab your fedora and head outside to find all sorts of scrap metal.
Finally, for more activities from the experts, we recommend that you read Hands-On Archaeology: Real-Life Activities for Kids. This book is for parents with kids that really are into learning about rocks and ruins. It was even written by an archaeologist.
Sure, Indiana Jones did not portray a true-to-life scientist or even an archaeologist. However, you should still seize your child’s imagination and use it as a catalyst to inspire learning and exploring the world around them.