When thinking about taking a family vacation there is not only the logistics to consider, but there are also the considerations around how you will be keeping the kids engaged, occupied. All whilst making sure that they are getting the most from this vacation.
Vacations are like an extended field trips. They will be surrounded by a new place, potentially a new language, culture, fashion, and accents. Their inquisitive minds are like sponges, they will soak all of this in, so whilst away, why not utilize this experience and educate at the same.
No one is suggesting that this holiday should become all work (or learning) and be no fun, but there are easy and fun ways to guarantee that as a family both aspects are being met.
Prepare the Kids For The Trip
Before going to any new location, engage with the kids about where they are going. Find family-friendly films that showcase the part of the world that you will be visiting. Use this to discuss the history of the place and spot all of the landmarks that you all want to visit. Using a globe show them where it is you will be going and trace out how you will get there.
If you are going somewhere that speaks a different language, use your time beforehand to take up those spanish lessons so that both yourself and the children know some phrases and words that they will be able to use whilst away.
If the cuisine will be different to what they have currently, use the opportunity to either visit restaurants and experience new foods and tastes or alternatively spend some time in the kitchen as family trials and cooking recipes.
Try Something New
When on vacation and in a new location, there will always be opportunities to do something different than what would be done at home. This could be as simple as trying new food, trying to speak a new language, or embracing a new experience.
When traveling with children it is a great idea to encourage them to push themselves out of their comfort zones and try all things new. Not only will this help them with their own personal development and growth but they will learn first hand as well.
For example, if they go scuba diving. In this example they are now gaining a new experience, learning how to safely scuba, and understanding the importance of visual cues. Along with being able to see and experience an underwater world.
Encourage Them To Take Pictures
Education is not just about what you see and learn there and then. You want to encourage your children to take photos when away from all the things that spark their interests. This will motivate them to absorb more of their surroundings, look at the finer details, and become talking points.
In those moments not only will you be able to discuss and learn more together but you will also be able to use these images when you return home to create albums and scrapbooks that will be treasured for years to come.
Speak To Locals
Normally you would not want your children to speak with ‘strangers’ however under your supervision, actively encouraging them to speak with locals is one of the best ways for them to learn.
Not only will this allow them the opportunity to practice speaking another language, but it will allow them to hear stories and accounts of their daily lives and to meet a wide cross-section of the population, enriching their knowledge firsthand.
Make It Fun
As soon as you say the word ‘education’, children switch off. Ultimately they want to have fun. But, that isn’t to say they won’t learn at the same time, you just need to make sure that it is engaging.
All of these new places and experiences are opportunities for your children to learn. You just need to apply some tricks and tips to make sure that they don’t view the experience as ‘educational’. Depending on their ages you could have scavenger hunts for different local items to look out for. You could promote your child to being the tour guide and trusting them to show you all that this place has to offer. If you are going to visit museums you could encourage your children to draw the items they see.
Finally, don’t put pressure on the educating side of your vacation. This is your vacation after all and if you and they are having fun, they will learn too.