Learning on the Go: Educational Travel Activities
Travel is the best way to learn about the world. Showing your children places they’ve never been provides new experiences and first-hand knowledge that’s hard to get any other way.
The experiential learning theory is the idea that knowledge is best formed through experiences. While some of these lessons from traveling are easily learned, others require a little more coaching and introspection.
To make travel educational and enjoyable for your kids, here are some projects to keep their little brains buzzing before, during, and after your trip!
Before the trip...
Read books about the destination.
Put together a reading list for your kids with a variety of books about your destination or any relevant landmarks. These don’t have to be non-fiction. A fictional book with the same setting can be just as informative and impactful.
Once you get to where you’re going, be sure to point out or visit any of the landmarks and places they read about!
Let them help with trip planning.
Planning a trip is a vital piece of the travel experience. How to make itineraries and budgets is an educational travel lesson that your kids can carry with them through all their life’s adventures. While you’re at it, slip in some education on finances, geography, and other cultures.
Planning the trip will be so exciting that your kids won’t even realize they are learning!
During the trip...
Encourage them to keep a travel journal.
Part of the experiential learning theory is not only having experiences, but developing the skills to draw knowledge from them. Encourage your children to keep a travel journal while on your family trip. Later on, you can look back at them together and talk about the highlights, struggles, and most memorable moments from the journey.
Who knows what kind of laughter and nostalgia will ensue when you are reading the journals and reliving all the amazing things your family experienced together!
Teach them to explore a new hobby, like photography.
Educational travel doesn’t have to involve sitting still. Along with learning new facts and concrete knowledge, traveling is a great time to nurture a new hobby.
Photography is a fun and creative skill that is perfectly suited for a family trip. You can teach your older children the basics of photography on their smartphones, or go old-school and provide a Polaroid camera to each child, regardless of age. You might inspire a lifetime love for the hobby!
Buy a photo album for each child and let them choose their favorites to commemorate the trip. These will end up being family keepsakes for generations!
Capture every detail of the trip with a vlog.
Vlogging isn’t just for social media stars. Creating a private vlog for your family will capture every important moment and even some unexpected ones! It also teaches children skills that are growing more important in our ever-changing world, like video editing and digital media creation. Even more fundamentally, vlogging is a way for your children to practice storytelling.
You can watch your vlogs later to reminisce about your trip and remember everything your family learned about the places you visited. You can also share the videos privately with family and friends who are excited to see what your family got up to on your adventure!
After the trip...
Create a physical or digital travel guide.
Once you return home, encourage your kids to create a physical or digital travel guide of your destination. They can add photos from the trip, list their favorite activities, write reviews of restaurants or cafes, and include helpful information for fellow travelers.
Not only does this make travel educational for them, but it allows them to proudly share their knowledge with others!
Write a cookbook of recipes from the places you’ve traveled.
Whether you are traveling across the country or across the world, any region you visit is bound to have its own signature local recipes. If you ask us, trying new foods is one of the best parts about traveling somewhere new!
Help your kids put together a cookbook of any unique and interesting foods from your destination. Once you’re done, you can take the experiential learning theory even further by cooking the dishes together as a family! Not only will this activity spark their creativity, but could set them up for a lifetime of culinary adventures.
Build a diorama of your destination.
Building a diorama is a creative, hands-on way to recreate your destination and relive your travel memories. Starting with a shoebox, use crafting supplies like clay, natural items like sticks and leaves, and anything else you find around the house as you help your kids to build their miniature landscape.
Encourage them to recreate a landmark, city, street, nature scene, street, or campsite that you saw on your travels. You’ll treasure their diorama as a reminder of your trip and of just how creative your kids are!