Traveling is the best kind of education there is. While traditional American school education has tremendous value, lessons learned outside the classroom are profound. Studies show that well-traveled children tend to be more open-minded and have more confidence to try new things. Additionally, children who travel have better grades at school.
But what do we teach children when we travel? Of course, visiting a new country teaches kids about new cultures and languages. But in addition, kids learn endless things about life and people. By being immersed in a new community and their way of life, they observe similarities and differences. They are also exposed to new climates and nature. This change in environment and culture is a huge benefit in educating them.
Want to provide your kids more travel experiences? Here’s how to make the most out of your trips with your children:
- Make sure you discuss the experiences you have with your children. By coming together after an experience and talking about observations, what you enjoyed, what you learned, you’ll add a deeper meaning and educational value to your experience.
- Can’t do a big trip right now? You don’t have to always take time off from work and school and invest big money into expensive, across-the-world trips. Many times, the best moments are ones that are simple and not grandiose. Use weekends to explore local destinations including beaches and outdoor parks and trails. Art galleries, museums, and theater productions offer experiences that do expose your children to other cultures. Use online resources and apps to discover what’s around you to plan new experiences with your kids.
- Use food to teach your kids about different countries and food traditions. When meal planning, take the opportunity now and again to take your kids to the store to pick out ingredients for a meal traditionally cooked in another part of the world. Read up on recipes and have them help prepare the meal. Kids will benefit from learning and may even be more adventurous in eating new kinds of food.
- Reading travel books is a great way to expose your kids to new places. Go to the library and borrow travel books. Kids love reading about different places in the world. This can be a great way to plan a future trip as well.
- There are also great travel documentaries available that you can watch with your kids. These movies are filmed in faraway places and bring great learning about various cultures. It’s also exciting for kids (and adults alike) to visit movie locations while traveling. Point out places you’ve visited in the past in movies or tv shows.
- Make a family savings plan for your next vacation. We all have a budget and sometimes travel is cost-prohibitive. But if you save a little bit at a time and make realistic goals, it is worthwhile and fun to save as a family for a trip together. Planning, saving, and researching your family’s next destination is educational in and of itself!