Meaningful Travel for Kids
When I plan to Bring kids on a family vacation I want them to Learn and Grow from the experience. I always provide an opportunity for them to serve and grow their character and compassion. But I also want them to learn about the culture, geography, and history of a place. This can be challenging because there is always so much demanding their attention on the day of travel and during the vacation. Kid’s minds are always engaged somehow. They are thinking about playing, being hungry, tired, bored, etc. You can prepare them to engage in the culture, history, and geography of your vacation destination. Try out these 3 ideas before you go. They will be ready and willing to engage in the amazing new place you have traveled to.
1 – Read Books and articles about your destination country or city.
The library is an amazing resource for historical fiction and non-fiction books referencing any place in the world you would ever want to travel to on a family vacation. We love our librarians and they know our children well. When we planned a trip to Europe we went to the library and asked for help finding books about the specific countries we were visiting. After the children started looking through books, they googled topics they were especially interested in.
This preparation was so important for my kids to know about the details of WWII before we visited Germany, France, and the Czech Republic. We also read about and looked at pictures of what we would see when we toured the Louvre in Paris or when we went to the Eagles Nest in Berchtesgaden Germany. It is an amazing feeling when your kids say, “I read about this!” Building that historical foundation at home, and then letting them see it first hand is a priceless gift.
It is an amazing feeling when your kids say, I read about this! Click To Tweet
2 – Cook local food at home from the country or region you are visiting.
Looking up recipes and traditional foods from the place you are planning to travel to on your family vacation is so much fun! Kids are not always eager to try new foods, but if you involve them in the shopping and cooking process you might be surprised. Exploring the food of different cultures is a great way to learn about the destination that you travel to. In many cases you’ll learn about what types of farming and agriculture are prominent to the location of your vacation.
Yellow Curry and Sumosas were an unexpected part of the local cuisine in Bequia. We have had so much fun preparing these delicious foods at home before and after our family vacation. During our trip the kids were eager to go and get some of the same foods we prepared before going on our trip. Whether it’s curries, red rice and beans, Schnitzel, Goulash, or exotic fruits, preparing you family’s palate for exciting new foods is a must! Then the next time you are in Utila you’ll know what baleadas are and you’ll get hooked!
3 – Preview the Geography!
Print out maps of the region you plan to be traveling in and challenge your family to label them. I give my children blank maps of specific areas and promised a prize if they can label them correctly (spelling and capitalization counts). My kids will take a challenge involving a prize any day! They can use any resource in the house and have fun doing it. I love hearing them yell, “I found Prague!” and “Italy looks like a boot mom!” This activity is great for travel anywhere, whether you are road tripping it across Texas or traveling throughout South East Asia.
If kids have handled a map, then their minds will have a concrete image of where they are traveling. Show them on a map where you live and where the destination of your family vacation will be. This will give them perspective on how close or how far they will be going during the family travel.
Don’t miss this learning opportunity for your children. They will never forget the new culture, history, and geography they experienced first-hand. – BLG