Learning Through Travel this Summer - Student Resources

Learning Through Travel this Summer

Student reading her book

Saying hello to summer doesn’t mean learning has to go out the window. If you plan to travel, the opportunities for your kids to contribute, explore and engage on vacation are limitless. You can combine education and traveling for a journey your kids will appreciate and remember. A travel experience cannot be replicated in a classroom, and there are plenty of ways to turn a vacation into invaluable learning opportunities.

Ready. Set. Plan.

If you happen to be in the planning stages of a trip, you may consider allowing your child to give input on your predetermined destination. Let your child participate in the aspects of decision making that are age appropriate.

  • Have your kids help research the area and give suggestions of activities and events.
  • Provide choices of activities to review together and listen to your child’s input. See what ignites their interests.
  • Be sure something in the schedule reflects your child’s contribution to the planning.

Make Learning Relevant

Before or during your vacation, your kids can be gearing up for the big destination. Select books that take place in your travel location or have them read a book written by an author who grew up in the area. You can do the same thing with music and musicians, historic figures and locations, etc.

Create a Surprise Box

This activity is great for a child of any age. Find a fun box that is reasonable for traveling, a lunchbox for example, and fill it with anything and everything related to your trip. This takes some preplanning, but the rewards are great!

Samples for kids of all ages:

  • Coloring pages representative of your destination
  • Colored pencils
  • Paper, envelopes and stamps – Your child can tell stories of their journey and practice the art of letter writing to family and friends.
  • Travel journal
  • Maps – Order maps for kids to follow on your trip (plus paper maps are fun).
  • Pictures of places they’ll see on the trip – Get your child recognizing and remembering the names of important landmarks. You can play a memory game with these.

The surprise box can also be used to collect memorabilia during the trip. Kids can use mementos and souvenirs as a show-and-tell activity with family, friends or schoolmates when they return. It’s a great way to retell stories and share experiences with others.

Make a Budget

Traveling is a great way for kids to learn how to make a budget. Some children receive money for birthdays and holidays. Others can earn money through extra chores, helping neighbors, etc. When it’s time for the trip, they know exactly how much they have to spend. It can be very rewarding to hear children making monetary decisions rather than whining or begging for superfluous knick-knacks.

On the topic of money: If you are traveling internationally, explain the exchange rate and teach your child how to factor costs. Coins and bills from other countries are also fun keepsakes.

Reward Vacation Learning

So often, there is downtime on trips, especially in the car or at the airport. Before you leave, set some educational goals, such as reading a certain number of pages or chapters from a book between destinations. Whatever the goal or challenge, establish a reward for completion. The reward can be trip-related or something special when you return home.

Celebrate Cultural Differences

Always make an effort to recognize the differences in the area you are visiting from your home base. Eat local cuisine, shop at marketplaces, listen to music – get the full picture. Discuss similarities and differences. These types of conversations are what differentiate traveling from classroom learning. A firsthand experience is different than learning from a book. Embrace every detail and moment.