Travel can be one of the best ways to truly explore and understand things around us while having meaningful experiences. For kids, it can also function as an extension of classroom learning. Until traveling is as safe as it used to be, use this time for detailed preparations and new plans.
I think many of life’s real lessons take place outside the classroom. Going to a school with instructors, classmates, and textbooks is one way to learn, of course. However, it’s not the only way. While on holiday, your child may have more time for learning general life skills. And while not everyone is traveling right now, you can prepare your child by teaching them the basics, preparing for more favorable times, and making detailed plans. Travel can be one of the best ways to truly explore and understand things around us while having meaningful experiences.
As children’s minds develop, they absorb sights and sounds around them (which is what makes traveling such an effective way to learn). Travel can provide the type of deep learning experiences that can really change your child’s perspectives.
During the current travel restrictions that we must adhere to for our safety, you may want to consider alternative ways to introduce your child to the beautiful world of travel. It could be a hike in the woods, a walk to the lake, or even a humble backyard camping. Seize every opportunity for your child’s development, even during a pandemic. Moreover, this is an excellent opportunity to spend time together.
5 Ways Children Learn Through Travel
1. Develop an inquisitive nature.
By asking and answering your children’s questions, you can promote new awareness, as well as help them engage in critical and creative thought. Here’s an example.
As you walk down the street of the city, encourage your kids to consider what’s happening around them and engage in open-ended questions like, “How does this shop compare to the ones we usually go to?” or “Why are the roads built differently here?”
Children are naturally inquisitive and curious, so surround them with beauty and comfort and provide them with a safe and home-like environment for experiential and practical learning. Nature can function as a conducive playground. Kids have this inherent ability to be curious about the natural world. However, it’s crucial that they see adults and teachers around them showing reverence for and affection towards nature.
2. Try learning the local language together.
Even learning a bit of the local language can open up facets of a particular culture that you might not have otherwise known. You can start learning the fundamentals of a new language together with your kids by downloading a few interactive language learning apps.
Alternatively, you and your child can learn to sing songs in the target language. This is another enjoyable way to broaden your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation.
On top of this, knowing a bit of the local language is a sign of respect, which means that people are more likely to open up to you, further supporting learning opportunities.
3. Focus on historical knowledge.
When you walk through the streets and tour museums, palaces, and galleries, you can experience the historical aspects of an entire country right in front of your eyes. Learning about different dynasties, conflicts, and changes can be so much simpler with your feet on the ground, actually exploring a country.
This can be an opportunity for your child to bask in real historical landmarks and areas instead of just relying on textbooks. Kids are innately very curious about foreign countries and get excited about learning new things. They may ask about and often want to know more about the fun places you visit, the food you are going to eat, or the activities you enjoy as a family.
4. Take another path.
You might have what you think is the best umbrella stroller for all occasions, but what about the paths that you take your child on? If we can encourage our children to venture out from their comfort zones (under our watchful eye), they can enter adulthood with a new outlook on life. Teach your kids that a little step off the road that people usually take can be good and discover new routes together.
Some of the most valuable lessons in life can be learned by taking the less-traveled path. Whether kid-friendly capitals, smoldering volcanos, or beach-laced coastline, explore a foreign land with a rich mix of historical and cultural sights, a breathtaking collection of outdoor activities, and spectacular natural scenery. Plan ahead to get the best out of traveling and try different learning styles as a family.
5. Travel to understand diversity.
Share the beauty of this world with your children. Put aside academia for a little while. The learning experience that can come about from understanding diversity might be even more important.
As parents, we can either encourage our children to be curious and enthusiastic about how other people live, work, and get around, or remain trapped in our own little cliques and societies. New experiences can serve them well in life. They can even make them more compassionate. Empathy can also be explored by learning games and recipes from that country. Learning games for kids from different cultures (such as marbles) along with your child can also provide you with a shared way to bond that you can bring back home.
A holiday doesn’t always have only to be a way to relax and unwind. It can also function as an extension of classroom education and more easily fit with different learning styles.
Aside from the history, language, and culture of a country, kids can also learn to be more compassionate and to understand diversity. Let’s do it together. Leave a comment below if you have any other ideas that might be able to help kids learn while traveling.
About the Author
Betti Wilson is an elementary classroom teacher with a passion for exploring the world. Her lessons are given online, thus enabling her to move freely wherever she wants. Betti has three kids and a dog, who always keep her company.