It works! The world really IS a classroom.

One of the reasons I hear for not taking the kids with you is: they won’t remember anyway. That may be true if they are newbie-3 years, but after that I beg to differ.

We saw this painting (Jacob’s Ladder by Jose de Ribera) at the Prado museum in Madrid. As always, I told the story behind the painting.


*******Exerpt from the Kids’ Prado Museum Package******

The story behind the painting:

This story comes from the bible. Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau was born first and his name means red since he was covered in red hair. Jacob was born second and he was holding onto Esau’s heel. Some people thought this meant he wanted to be born first.

Jacob was hardworking and honest. He spent a lot of time studying and learning how to run the family business. Esau, on the other hand, was lazy and did everything he could to avoid working or studying. Esau enjoyed hunting and would spend days away from home playing instead of helping the family.

Even though the boys were twins, Esau was the oldest and this was very special and important. The firstborn son was the one who received the family blessing, inherited all the family land, and possessions and became head of the family.

Jacob was angry that Esau was going to receive these things. He thought that because he worked hard and helped out he should get the blessing and not Esau. It is easy to understand why Jacob was jealous as he was just a minute younger than Esau and Esau was lazy!

Rebekah, the boy’s mom agree with Jacob. He would do a better job for the family than Esau. So, she and Jacob put their heads together and thought of a plan to trick Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing instead of Esau.

One day, when Isaac was very old and blind, he said he wanted to pass the blessing to Esau. He went out to hunt deer for a special meal before the blessing.While he was gone Rebekah cooked some goats for the blessing meal and laid the skin on Jacob so he would feel hairy.

Isaac went to see his father and said, “Here I am for the blessing.” Isaac was suspicious since hunts usually took much longer and Esau should not have been back yet. So, he asked to touch his shoulder. When he felt the hairy goat skin he agree and gave the blessing to Isaac.

Esau was angry and planned to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac died. So, Jacob left and went to live with his grandparents.

The first night of Jacob’s journey to his grandparents home, he lay down on the ground, using a rock for a pillow and went to sleep. He had a crazy dream! He saw a ladder going up to heaven and on that ladder were angels walking up and down between heaven and earth. God was sitting on the top of the ladder and he had a message for Jacob.

God said that Jacob and all the families on earth would be blessed Jacob, Abraham, and Isaac. He said he was always with him and that Jacob should go home. Christians believe that this dream meant Jesus would soon be coming.

Why is this painting special?

When you first look at this painting it looks pretty ordinary. It is just a plainly clothed man sleeping in a pretty boring area. But, look closer at the area above Jacob’s head. You can see some swirls that make you think of the angels and the ladder, but the painter left it up to you to decide what you think the ladder and the angels look like.



Months later, my son brought me Children’s bible and said, “This is the same story from that painting!”


He remembered – and so will your kiddos!!

**Educators know that strong readers connect what they are reading with their own personal experiences. They use their prior knowledge (things they learn with you on vacation) to spring from with questions and a deeper understanding of what they learn later.***

Travel and see the world! Research the paintings before you go or download my museum guides and have the trip of a lifetime!!

Let me know if you don’t see the museum you want to visit on my store. I’m always working on new guides!

Happy travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist



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13 Responses

  1. Kristi Hynes says:

    I can’t wait to take my kiddos and your stories and guides will help me teach them!

  2. Kirstie says:

    That’s a great story! I’ve heard people say that kids remember very little from their early travels, but I know I personally do, and it’s made a huge impact on my life!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      I’ve heard it, too. They say, “Why bother taking the kids, they won’t remember.” but that doesn’t make any sense. We send them to school as young as 3 and they remember that stuff! Why wouldn’t they remember travel??? Thanks for your comment!

  3. karla says:

    THe world is really a better classroom for the children. I like how a simple painting became very educational.

  4. Ynah CA says:

    First hand learning experience is always the best!

  5. I agree that museums and galleries are good classrooms for kids

  6. giakristel says:

    Your story is such an inspiration. I have always wondered if kids will ever remember things from travel and here’s the proof.
    I think with proper guidance like you did with the story, kids will remember and understand travel situations better.

  7. That’s so awesome. Children will surprise you every time – that’s why I never underestimate them! Beautiful story ^_^

    • NatalieTanner says:

      I just love this attitude! I have always said that kids will live up or down to your expectations. Set the bar high!! Thanks for stopping by. Any wonderful adventures coming up?

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