The first word that comes to mind when talking about vacations is “fun”, especially for children. Kids want to feel totally free on vacations and have as much fun as possible. Parents usually want rest and relaxation on family vacations, but they also need some entertainment. But there is also a way to combine fun with education so that family trips can become more enriching.
The worst thing you could do, as a parent, is to pressure your kids to do some extracurricular school activities while on vacation because this would only make them resentful, and nobody would enjoy their vacation in the end. However, family vacations can be not just fun, but also educational, if you can combine learning and adventure, for a truly great experience.
Teach life skills
Vacations are great opportunities for teaching your kids valuable life skills. All kids are curious and love to learn new interesting things that grownups do. Teaching them some practical life skills is not only an easy way to keep them engaged and entertained, but it’s also great for their future development.
When you are planning a camping trip, there are a few details that can make your experience better, and you can also use that opportunity to teach your kids about packing, making a list for your trip, and planning your activities. There are a lot of outdoor life skills that you can teach as well, plus fun activities like setting up a tent or a hammock, fishing, or making supplies.
Include practical geography
There is nothing like travel to actually understand geography better. Use your next family trip as an opportunity to include practical geography elements. Show maps to your children and explain to them how they are used and what they can find on maps. Other interesting elements that you can discuss are distance and orientation.
Talk to your kids about how far you are going, where your vacation destination is situated, and in what direction you are traveling. Try to include fun games and questions to test their geography knowledge. Topography is also fun for kids. Ideally, you could explore mountains, lakes, rivers, or any other land characteristic that is unique for the place you are visiting.
Learn about history together
Even if you may be feeling tired, try not to just sit by the pool or on the beach your entire vacation. Wherever you may choose to go, there are always fascinating historic sites that you could visit. Try to get your kids excited about visiting some interesting historic sites and learn more about it together.
Visiting a historic site and learning about its fascinating origin and legends will be much more fun for children than just learning about it at school. Or, if they are already passionate about a certain historic figure or period of time, try to choose vacation destinations with a rich cultural heritage.
Encourage love for animals
Most kids love animals, are curious about them, and want to know more about them. However, it’s also very important to teach children about respect and care for all animals, including wildlife. A child’s education should also include learning how to interact with animals responsibly. Try to include activities that center around animals in your family trips.
It’s a known fact that kids in our modern society know very little about farm animals, as well as wild animals. There are a lot of petting zoos, sanctuaries, and wildlife observatories that you can easily include in your family vacation. Kids will love being able to see and observe animals, and you could also teach them about endangered species and animal protection.
Explore the beauty of nature
Learning about nature is just as important as finding out more about animals. It’s important for kids to learn from a young age about why we need to protect nature, and it’s also vital for their well-being to get used to being out in nature as often as possible. Wherever you choose to go on vacation, take the opportunity to explore the natural surroundings and local habitats.
Also, since most kids love to be active, you can plan some fun outdoor activities or sports that will allow children to not only have fun but also explore nature. Another interesting thing to do that is also a learning experience would be to visit a national park. There are so many to choose from, and some even include special activities and training programs for children.
Enjoy cultural diversity
Education is also about understanding and respecting the cultural differences between people. It’s important to choose various vacation destinations, in different parts of the country or in foreign countries, so that kids can expand their knowledge and find out many interesting things.
Going to local restaurants is a great way to enjoy cultural diversity, as well as going to certain festivals or celebrations that are specific to that particular area. Find out more about what local people like to do, traditional activities in the area, and cultural events.
Visiting the local museums or historic sites is another fun educational activity to do on family vacations. You can discover hidden gems anywhere you go, and chances are you will find some great little museum that you and your kids will remember forever.
Museums aren’t necessarily about art, and smaller ones usually are more fun for kids. You could go to natural history museums or science museums.
p.s. Freedom Trail Fun in Boston:
p.p.s Educational Fun in Boston:
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