Do your kids love vacation because it means they don’t have to go to school? The absence of school doesn’t mean we stop learning because vacation is perfect for learning about all subjects. Kids are relaxed, happy, open, and interested while on vacation. How can you help your kids get the most out of vacation and practice some of the concepts they might be learning in school?
If you are visiting a new location for vacation, it is a great time to talk about geography. The land, location, and local resources often greatly impact the history and culture of a specific place. Talk about this with your kids. Ask them how the geography affects the type of housing people live in, the kinds of foods they eat, and the kind of people who visit the location. How does the weather and climate influence the way people live? Then, compare the geography from your home, and the related influences, with the place you are visiting.
Lots of kids say they hate math but they will enjoy practicing their skills if you present questions in the right way. Try to calculate distances between places you are visiting. Add up all the mileage you will cover for your trip. If you are in a car, divide to figure out how many times you will need to stop for gas or for food. If you are in a plane, calculate how long it will take you to reach your destination based on speed and distance. Let kids help you budget for the trip and give them an allowance to encourage counting and spending awareness. Best of all, give them a ledger to keep track of expenditures and help them with the requisite math skills.
The best thing to do here is to observe, classify, and compare. What kind of flora and fauna do you observe? Classify plants and animals and put them into similar groups. Compare what you see around you with what the natural world is like where you live and where you are from.
Find books about the place you are visiting and read them before your trip. If possible, try to seek out some of the sights and places that you might have read about in the books. Finally, ask everyone in your family to keep a journal while on the trip. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, just ask everyone to keep track of what you see and do. If possible, add illustrations or photos to your journals.
And, our favorite, history!
Before you go on your trip, look up some of the major events in history for the place you are visiting. See if you can connect those events with what was happening in the U.S. (or your home country) at that time. Talk about what life was like in that time period. Discuss how geography and location might have impacted major events in history.
Kids will learn while on vacation no matter what you do. You can help kids make connections, figure out solutions to problems, and see how what they see around them relates to what they are learning in school. Learning isn’t something you just do while in school; learning is something you do in life.
About the author:
Leah Moorefield Evans is a KiddieMundo writer and contributor, an educator, an expat mother of four. She founded www.afterschoolplans.