Family Adventures: How to Make Travel an Educational Experience for Kids

Are you and your family planning to embark on a holiday soon? If so, fantastic! 

Traveling around the world is a great way to strengthen the familial bond while having fun and making memories with your loved ones. 

But besides the fun that awaits you at your intended destination, traveling also serves as a potential opportunity for you to teach your children several important insights and life lessons.

From learning about a place’s historical significance to adopting useful life skills, traveling can expose young children to various subject matters that they can carry with them throughout their lives.

If you want to maximize your child’s time away from home, here are some useful ways you can transform travel time into educational time for your children.

Ready your bags, let’s explore seven ways to make travel an educational experience for kids.

1. Visit Historical Sites and Museums

No matter how big or small your destination may be, every city and country is steeped in an entire world of culture and history.

This fact can be enchanting to children, as they may have yet to fully explore the intricacies of the world outside their own.

If you want your children to hold a deeper appreciation for the past and how it shaped the city you currently find yourself in, then dropping by a historical museum or landmark is a great way to help them develop a deeper and more intimate understanding of it.

Historical sites tend to have monuments and big, eye-catching architectural pieces that have withstood the test of time and hold significance for the locals.

This can be both visually appealing to look at and a tangible way for your child to appreciate an important aspect of local culture.

On top of that, these historical landmarks also often have engraved texts and detailed pieces that provide historical information on the significance of the site.

You can encourage your children to read these bits of information to help enhance their understanding of the place.

Beyond historic sites, museums also present a fantastic opportunity for your child to truly broaden their mind.

These public places tend to have child-friendly galleries that provide a wealth of information that your child can read and learn from, which can help expand their knowledge of aspects of foreign cultures.

By entering these sites and museums, your child gets to go to places that they may not have otherwise thought twice about. This helps broaden their worldview and cultivates respect and appreciation for the past, their new surroundings, and people beyond their immediate community.

2. Help Familiarize Them With The Planning Process

Organizing a family trip entails a lot of planning. From booking hotels to choosing modes of transport, the organizer (in most cases, the parent) will have to make several vital decisions to ensure that the trip runs as smoothly as possible.

Having said that, you can consider allowing your child to join the itinerary formation process.

Get them to do research and collect information from the Internet and other sources about key destinations and how to get there. This familiarizes them with the overall planning process while simultaneously honing their itinerary-making skills.

Of course, if they make mistakes along the way (like, say, choosing a bus route that’s no longer operational), then you can gently inform them of their mistakes and teach them a better alternative.

This way, they can improve their research skills over time, making them more equipped to take on more responsibilities on future trips.

3. Improve Budgeting and Financial Skills

When traveling the world, expenses can run like wildfire when you least expect it. From food expenses to little souvenir runs, these finances can drain your pockets dry, especially if you’re managing the expenses of the entire family.

You wouldn’t want to be broke by the end of the trip. This is why having a proper budget is essential before going on a family adventure.

Besides tracking your daily expenses, this budget should include your maximum allowable spending limit. You should let your kids in on this figure and give them an allowance to work with. This page goes into more detail on teaching teens and kids about financial literacy.

When your kid has a definitive allowance, they can learn how to prioritize their spending based on priorities. They’ll practice delayed gratification and be more likely to save their money in hopes of finding something better. 

In essence, traveling gives them a hands-on approach to financial management. This skill is not only important for the travel experience, but it’s also something that can benefit them for years to come.

4. Engage With Local People and Customs

Another great learning opportunity your child can benefit from while traveling is engaging with local people and customs. 

People from around the world all have different stories to share, traditions, and life experiences. Allowing your child to engage with these locals can help them gain a deeper understanding of these people’s perspectives and ways of life.

For instance, by going to an Asian country like Japan, you can go to a temple and observe how people worship or pray to their deity. Similarly, you can go to parks or local markets and allow your child to talk with other children their age and foster interactions from there.

As a parent, you should also teach your child how to be courteous in the face of different beliefs and ways of life. People are generally patient and happy when people ask questions about themselves.

Entertain any questions your child may have and teach them to appreciate the diversity of the world. This way, they can learn more about the customs of a place on a more personal level.

5. Hone Their Language Skills

Another cool way to increase your child’s knowledge is by having them speak the local language to locals. Immersing your child in an entirely different linguistic environment allows them to pick up on foreign words and phrases that can help them more easily get by in certain situations. 

There are many resources you can pick up to teach your child how to speak foreign languages. You can use apps like Duolingo and Memrise to learn common phrases and words in certain languages. You can also pick up a language book to truly get them to learn the language. 

That said, picking up a new language can be tough, so you can certainly get by with teaching your kids how to greet locals in their language, or say thank you and hello. Getting them to learn key phrases can help them communicate with locals better, and can even compel them to dive deeper into the language. 

6. Teach Them Different Natural Environments

If you like exploring the outdoors, you can use traveling as an opportunity to expose your child to the distinct features found in different regions. 

For example, when you’re on an outdoor adventure, you can point out unique natural formations like geysers, hot springs, cliffs, or other geographical features that may not be found in your territory. 

You can also use this opportunity to teach them about different animals, plants, and fungi that you may come across.

You can also use this opportunity to teach them about different natural features and climates found in specific regions. In particular, you can explain to them why a place perpetually has a tropical climate or how a city can thrive despite being built entirely on desert soil.

By teaching geography and different ecosystems to your child, you can teach them to become more appreciative of the earth’s diversity. This can compel them to become more proactive in caring for the planet.

7. Volunteer Opportunities

If you intend to do charity or volunteer work in your intended destination, having your kid tag along can be a great way to teach them the concept of altruism and generosity.

For instance, you can bring your kid along to beach clean-ups and food and shelter assistance events. These activities foster the idea of giving back and pushing positive impact to the world, which you can instill in your child no matter their age.

Furthermore, allowing your child to volunteer also teaches them how to collaborate and work towards a goal outside of a classroom setting. This can be an invaluable experience that can enrich both their individual and family lives in the future.