Whether you are going for a day trip, weekend trip or a full-blown vacation, traveling with kids can be challenging. One of the biggest challenges is keeping them occupied. A lot of parents resort to video games, cell phones and portable dvd players to keep their kiddos entertained while traveling. While these may work and keep children quiet during the travel period, they do little to teach kids and during travel is the perfect time to teach your children a variety of things.
Instead, why not use this opportunity to have some fun while they learn something new?
Teach Map Reading Skills: Thanks to technology, before we know it, we aren’t going to remember how to read a map. While some think this is great, it really does a disservice to our young people. What happens when that technology fails while they’re in the middle of driving in an unfamiliar area?
Use the time you spend in the vehicle during your travels to teach your children how to tell what direction you are driving, as well as how to read a map. When your children are old enough, let them take turns riding in the front with the map. They can tell you where to go and help you reach your destination. This is a skill that will help them in the future.
Learn State Trivia: When preparing for an out-of-state vacation, look up some trivia questions regarding the state you and your family will be visiting. If you will be driving through several states to get to your destination, look up trivia for the states you will be traveling through, also. Then, when in route, start asking your kids the questions and reading the answers. This is a fun way to teach your kids various things about different states. You can also use this time to teach your kids the various states and their corresponding capitals.
Plan Ahead: If you truly want to make any and all trips educational for your kids, then plan ahead when mapping out where you’ll be spending your next vacation. Look for areas to visit that have historical significance. For instance, a trip to Virginia should include a visit to historical Williamsburg. Now, if the destination is already set, investigate the areas surrounding the destination. Visit the attractions where your kids will learn something. It may not be anything about the area, but may be a skill such as making wine or cheese, etc.
Go Off-Road: Finally, don’t be so rigid as to not allow time to go “off-road” or deviate from “the plan.” If there is an educational attraction nearby that you and/or your kids are interested in, then go! Experiencing things together as a family while traveling is probably the best way to make a trip educational. However, you have to give yourself (and your family) the ability to modify the plan while traveling in order to do so. Remember, getting there really is half the fun.