Is it ok to take your kids out school for a trip? Are you a bad parent? We believe travel is the est education there is and there are many others who feel the same way! So by all means, travel and travel some more!
The easiest way to expand your child’s knowledge as you travel is to use what you see around you to spark a conversation with your kids and let them know about interesting snippets of information that might spark their interest to learn more. You can do this even without traveling out of your city. You point something out and then say "did you know..." and share your knowledge. Here are some ideas to keep kids learning while travelling.
Wherever you are going, get to your destination without going crazy with the Fly It Quiet Activity Guide to keep kids entertained and learning on long journeys. It is packed with cultural activities to teach kids about their travel destination before they even arrive. The packs include interactive travel games, facts about the country and a chance to keep a travel journey. Click the image below for more info!
The packs are ideal for kids 4-8 years and 9-13 years old and they are available for 35 destinations. Many of the suggestions below will have started working even before you land. You can get your Fly It Quiet Activity Guide here.
Choose some books to take with you on your trip. if you can find books related to your destination it really helps for your child to delve deeper into the folktales, culture or other aspects of your country destination. Even better, let your child go to a bookstore at your destination and pick out a book for themselves. Many cities have fascinating libraries with extensive resources, inviting reading rooms, story hour and activities for kids. Set your child a target of how many pages to read a day/week. Check out our favorite travel books here.
Although most of us are more comfortable with a keyboard than with a pen these days it is important that kids learn writing skills. Buy your child a beautiful journal (preferably hardback so that it lasts) and get him/her to make daily entries.
Sending letters home to family, friends or even their class is a great ideas too!
They can draw pictures (art class), write about what they saw that day (composition) and stick in souvenirs and things they have picked up along the way - maybe a leaf or flower from each destination. Older kids might find writing their own blog a challenge and they’ll pick up some Internet and computer skills along the way.
Anyway you choose to do it , a bit of writing is good skills practice!
Give your child a camera and let them snap away unguided. Kids will learn about composition, color, perspective, angles, light and observation by taking photos of your travel destination.
You can print some of the photos to make an album, post them somewhere online or just keep them on a disc-on-key. An actual camera is probably better than a phone camera just because it requires more skill. Learn more about this skill here!
If you are going to a country where they speak a language other than your own, then your child can learn a few key phrases and words.
Have your child ask for water in a restaurant, ask for directions or count to 10 in the foreign language.
Help them broaden their vocabulary by pointing out things and naming them in the foreign language throughout the day. Its really fun to have contests seeing who can pick up the most vocabulary!
Take a drawing pad and pencils to the art museum and get your kids to try and draw in the same style as the art you are looking at. Get them to imitate the abstract, realistic or impressionist genres in their art. Repeat the names of the artists and their art genre several times to have it sink in.
It always helps when there is a funny or weird story to go with the artist or painting like van Gogh cutting off his ear. I bet that’s the first artist most kids remember! You can also get your children to draw a picture once you get back to the hotel at the end of a day of sightseeing. Have them draw the most interesting thing they saw that day.
We can't help it; we live in a technical world where you can't escape the Internet and all the gadgets which give us access to it. When traveling the world around you should keep kids interested more than the virtual world of the Internet but for older children it might be useful for them to hone their computer skills.
Get teens to keep a blog, post photos, make pen pals in the foreign country, learn a language from the Internet etc. Avoid all kids being eyes-down on some device when on road trips instead of looking out the window.
Get your kids to point out what they observe. Have then spot similarities and differences to their culture and the culture they see around them. What differences can they spot in the cuisine, the colors people wear and the way people communicate to each other (in the UK people don’t chat to strangers on the train but in the Middle East they do).
Ask them questions about what they are seeing, feeling and hearing. Then explain or get them to look up the explanation when they get a chance.
See what courses are available in your travel destination - dancing, cooking or perhaps art classes. Buy some of the local music and let them listen to it instead of their usual music on the trip. Encourage kids to taste new foods and try new things. There are so many ways to get involved. This will be the best part of your trip-getting to know local people!
Hone you kids math skills by putting them in charge of the currency conversion. This is a fun thing to do! We always create little currency conversion cards for the country we are going to to practice with as well! Your kids will love paying for things and figuring out how much that is in your own currency!
Even if you do none of the above, your kids are receiving the best gift you can give them by travelling! Travellers are more open-minded, more globally aware and by being curious and learning about others create a more peaceful world!