International trade lesson playing with trains, boats and airplanes

 

Last week, I visited the Port of Miami to participate in their event to launch their master plan for 2035. Listening to the Port Director speak, I realized that my two boys will be ages 29 and 25, respectively, when this full plan comes to fruition. I decided ask for two additional hats and bring them this “souvenier.” I figured this would be a great way to get them excited about playing “port” at home, and giving me a way to teach them about international trade.

On Saturday morning, we learned about international trade and how goods make their way across the globe. I used my recent trip to Port Miami to talk about the ships, docks, trains and trucks. Very easy subject to peak the interest of 2 little kids that now want to work in Miami and run the trains.

 

 

We started with a rail line from the Port of Miami to Tallahassee. We quickly added ships and cranes at the port, and started sending shipments back and forth. A few minutes in, we started manufacturing products in Tallahassee that were in demand in foreign countries like Brazil, Columbia, England and Australia. Soon, my 5 year old got out paper in his “office.” We started doing simple calculations on the price of shipping vs. air transport. He became responsible for finding the lowest cost way to transport the products around the world.

After this simulation became “old hat,” I introduced some terms like “import” and “export.” We then used “raw materials” in manufacturing. At one point, my train jumped the tracks near the port, and my “computers” crashed out of the train car. I informed Tyler to please maintain the condition of his tracks, or I would soon start using the Port of Tampa, because I couldn’t afford to have my computers break.

This was a very fun exercise and the boys love their hats and working in “Miami.”

Any suggestions for next weekend?

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