Jun 062013

Top Ten Ways to Learn Through Travel - Alldonemonkey.comThis post is part of the Top Ten Series from Kid Blogger Network organized by Becky of This Reading Mama.  (She is the same one that organized the wonderful ABC series this past winter).  All this week, 25+ bloggers are sharing Top Ten lists for keeping our kids learning this summer.  Be sure to check out the full list of participants.

Summer is when many families take advantage of vacation time to travel with their kids.  But did you know these family trips can also be educational?

If you have any doubt, just read this homeschool curriculum submitted by one mom traveling the world with her kids.  (Last I heard they were in Kuala Lumpur!) See below to find out how you can make your next family trip both educational and fun for everyone.

Of course, I recognize that travel – especially international travel – is not practical for many families.  But thanks to the internet and the multiethnic communities in which many of us live, it only takes a little creativity to replicate many of the lessons below even if your “travel” is only local.

Be sure to visit our Travel with Kids Pinterest Board for more tips, ideas, and tales of adventures.  Also don’t miss this wonderful series on the ABCs of family field trips from KC Edventures.

10. Learn the Mechanics of Travel

When our family travels, one of the main things our son learns about is travel itself: what airports, planes, buses, shuttles, and cabs are like.  Luckily, he is fascinated by vehicles and machines, so this was a big plus as far as he is concerned!  Before our last big trip we prepped by reading Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Airport, now one of his favorite books.  Older kids can also help make reservations and plan itineraries.

9. Do the Numbers

Travel can be a perfect way to reinforce math lessons.  As mentioned in this post about a trip through Thailand, traveling kids can learn currency conversions, timetables, bartering, and even budgeting.  (My major math challenge is always converting from Celsius to Fahrenheit!)

Top Ten Ways to Learn Through Travel - Alldonemonkey.com

Costa Rican Farmer’s Market

8. Explore Geography

This is obvious and yet bears repeating because travel is such a golden opportunity to teach geography.  As discussed in this great post about family road trips, travel can bring to life land forms and features like nothing else.  What better way to learn about time zones and climate zones than traveling through a few?  It is also a wonderful way to reinforce those map reading skills!  For younger kids, you can create a visual travel timeline that will help them understand where and when they will be going.

7. Use Your Senses

When visiting a new place, one’s senses can be overwhelmed with all the new sights, smells, and tastes.  Take advantage of this wave of sensations by helping kids isolate and explore them all!

Top Ten Ways to Learn Through Travel - Fantastic Fun and Learning on Alldonemonkey.com

Courtesy of fantastic fun & learning

Do a sound walk and see what sounds the kids can identify.  Visit a local farmer’s market and have them help with the shopping.  Go to a nearby park, and have them search for animal tracks.

As I mentioned at the beginning, you can do this right in your own neighborhood!  I love this scavenger hunt one mother did with her daughter at a nearby ethnic grocery store.

6. Wonder at Nature

One of the major benefits of travel is the chance to marvel at the natural world up close.  One of the biggest thrills of my life was the first time I approached the majestic Andes Mountains.  Truly no photo can do them justice!

What better way to teach children about nature than to bring them face to face with a platypus in its natural habitat, or explore the black sand of a volcanic island, or scramble over rocks at low tide?  Wherever you travel, be sure to expose your kids to the natural surroundings as well as the man-made wonders.

Top Ten Ways to Learn Through Travel - World Travel Family on Alldonemonkey.com

Courtesy of World Travel Family

5. Bring History to Life

Travel can also bring kids face to face with historical places, which can capture the feel of a time period like nothing else.  It is one thing to read about an historical figure, but quite another to visit the house he grew up in.  And reading about the hardships of mining life is definitely not the same as getting to go into the mines for yourself.  Ask about local historical sites and find one that is appropriate for your family.

4. Practice Another Language

If you are lucky enough to travel internationally, another bonus for your children is a chance to learn another language.  Even if they only learn a few phrases in the local language, it can open their eyes to other ways of communicating and teach them courage by trying something new.  If your child has already been exposed to another language, immersion travel – and particularly connecting with other kids – can give a tremendous boost to their studies.  This type of trip is especially important if you have family abroad, as it can help bridge any communication difficulties due to language.

Top Ten Ways to Learn Through Travel - InCultureParent on Alldonemonkey.com

Courtesy of InCultureParent

3. Appreciate Diversity

Travel can open kids’ eyes to different ways of eating, playing, thinking, and praying.  Whenever possible, connect with local communities to explore local customs with your kids.  The easiest way to do this is through personal connections, but you can also ask about local cultural sites or associations.  Most people are proud of their local heritage and flattered that you are interested, so don’t be shy!

Top Ten Ways to Learn Through Travel - Crystal's Tiny Treasures on Alldonemonkey.com

Courtesy of Crystal’s Tiny Treasures

2. Discover Unity

But even more important than teaching about diversity is helping kids appreciate just how similar we all are despite our differences.  When possible, take advantage of opportunities to connect to local people on a one-on-one basis, so that kids can get to know them on a personal level.  If you have personal connections, take advantage of these.  Otherwise, do your best to engage with local residents in a sincere way, and model this type of engagement to your children.

1. Get Involved

Take this new found understanding one step further and help your kids get involved in a local volunteer project.  Doing service in a local community will help kids truly connect and take ownership of the issues facing that part of the world.  It will also teach them that they can make a difference, and that travel can be empowering as well as entertaining.

Top Ten Ways to Learn Through Travel - Wold Travel Family on Alldonemonkey.com

Courtesy of World Travel Family

For more great ways to keep our kids learning this summer, visit the Top Ten page for a full list of posts in this series.

  33 Responses to “Top 10 Ways to Learn Through Travel {School’s Out: A Top Ten Series from KBN}”

  1. […] Learn Through Travel | All Done Monkey […]

  2. What a great post! I’ll be applying some of those in our trip to Puerto Rico this year. 🙂

  3. What a great post. I have been traveling with my Son since he was born, and every experience is definitely a learning opportunity. We will have to try some of these tips on our next trip! Thanks 🙂

    • That is wonderful that you have including him in your travels! Hope these help to make them even more memorable!

  4. Excellent!!! Travel is such an incredible learning experience on some many levels- and it doesn’t have far away, or international! Like you said, families can benefit from road trips and local field trips as well. Love this list!

    • Thank you! And I agree, we often forget how much there is to explore in our own backyards!

  5. Great list! I especially like the inclusion of becoming involved, and volunteering when travelling – which is so easy to forget when travelling with kids, but can be one of the most rewarding experiences.

    • Yes, it is easy to forget this aspect, but it is such a wonderful way to help kids connect to the world around them!

  6. I love this post Leanna – so many great ways to learn through travel. We have a flight and an international move coming up so I’ll be trying to incorporate a lot of these ideas.

    • You will really be putting these to the test! Traveling with little ones can be such a challenge but hopefully rewarding as well!

  7. This is a fantastic list! There are so many wonderful things that can be learned through travel!

  8. Love this!!!! Can’t wait to incorporate it into our first trip.

  9. […] Plan a vacation together.  Travel is also an educational experience and great way to reinforce language, mathematics, geography…  Image courtesy of World Travel Family, on the All Done Monkey […]

  10. […] But, travel doesn’t have to be far away to be meaningful.  Leanna of All Done Monkey has 10 ways to learn through travel including learning about the mechanics of travel, bringing history to life, and embracing nature […]

  11. […] more tips on keeping kids learning while abroad, see our list of ways to learn through travel, including learning new vocabulary, exploring cultures, and getting involved with local volunteer […]

  12. Great post! Excellent pointers for making sure we soak up everything around us when showing our kids the world, and enjoying it ourselves!

  13. Some really good points in here, Nico already loves traveling and exploring. Thanks for sharing!

  14. […] Top 10 Ways to Learn Through Travel {School’s Out: A Top Ten Series from KBN} […]

  15. Excellent post. My family and I have been traveling abroad for about three years now, and really, there’s no better education for all the reasons you describe.

  16. Yay! Thanks so very much for linking up with us this week! Travelling with kids can be seen as a challenge, but this post just brings out all of the wonders of it. I have pinned this to my SundayTraveler board as I think so many parents needs to see this.

  17. Thanks so much for joining in the Sunday Traveler this week! I don’t have children myself, but can still agree 100% with the points you gave. If I ever do have kids, they will definitely be world travelers from the beginning. It makes me very happy to see other parents doing so. 🙂

  18. Yes! No better way of learning than through experiencing first hand. There are so many opportunities to create lessons just through day to day life. My kids will definitely be travelers from day 1. Thanks for linking up with the Sunday Traveler! See you next week 🙂

  19. I still remember how much I got out of trips with my family when I was young – I think it really is the best way to learn!

  20. I really enjoyed your list. It was a good addition to my train of thought. I hope you don’t mind I included a link in my post. http://www.notquitewonderwoman.com/homeschool-the-education-of-travel-ecuador-post-2/

  21. […] Top 10 Ways to Learn through Travel – All Done Monkey […]

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