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How To Turn Family Vacations Into Learning Opportunities  for Children

Posted by Jane Shearer on November 1, 2019 at 12:42 PM

adventure-clouds-daylight-130111Discovering new cultures is one of the top reasons why people travel, according to Nomads World, and if you are doing so with children, there's no reason why you can’t make learning a priority.

Vacations wield many benefits whose magnitude is difficult to quantify, and they don’t have to be expensive or exotic to teach kids a thing or two.

New, unfamiliar surrounds can inspire creativity and other positive qualities. They can also help children understand their world and environment, learn more about art and architecture, and expand their palate.

Planning The Road Trip Of A Lifetime

One of the most valuable skills children can learn, is that of planning and organisation. If you're taking a road trip, it's an ideal time to involve your children in researching and choosing destinations, lengths of stay and sites to check out. If your kids are old enough to do their own online research, ask each to make a list of key places they wish to visit, and to list down facts about what make these places so interesting.

Make your own list as well, then have a family meeting and plan your route, ensuring everyone’s choices are represented to a reasonable extent. Children can also be involved in logistics, including essential items for the trip. They can help choose portable heaters, fans and other crucial equipment, learning all the while about the basics of travelling. If you already have these items, kids can learn how they work and also help with maintenance.

Basic jobs, such as changing spare parts, cleaning fans or fridges, and changing light bulbs or other equipment can help them feel more confident about their mechanical skills. If you're travelling in an RV, take the opportunity to discuss how the refrigerator differs from the one you have at home, and discuss why the toilet needs to operate differently. The little things we take for granted make for great learning opportunities. 

Altruistic Getaways

One way to teach kids about the value of being responsible world citizens, is to encourage them to take part in activities that help local communities in the areas they are visiting. For instance, if you're visiting a seaside area, find out if any beach clean-up activities will be taking place while you're there, and if not, organise an impromptu one yourself with people you meet.

If you're very keen on this type of learning experience, there are agencies that specialise in altruistic travel. They invite travellers to visit natural areas and remove invasive species, clean up plastics and other debris from the sea, and carry out many more meaning-filled activities.

Learning Through Immersion

Travel is a fantastic way to learn in an active fashion. This is especially true if you embrace locally produced products, local art galleries, and of course, ‘zero kilometre cuisine.’ Research into restaurants serving local or regional dishes and try them out, ensuring your kids try them too.

When you’re back home, try to recreate these dishes; if possible, ask for family-loved recipes from the people you meet and connect with. If you're visiting an art gallery, research before leaving home about the artists featured. It is quite exciting for kids to see live artworks they have just seen in books or online. 

Travel itself is one of life’s greatest teachers.

Children learn, in an active and authentic way, about the many things that unite people, despite their differences. Immerse yourselves in the places you visit - whether you're opting for a city or nature break.

Involve your children strongly in organisational aspects as well, so they feel that their decisions and desires have played a role in the wonderful vacation you will remember for a lifetime.

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