Four must-haves to keep young brains growing on vacation!
Have you got vacation plans this year?
Many people across the country are heading out on the traditional summer road trip. And what a wonderful way to show kids how big and diverse the world is! There’s nothing like traveling – tasting other kinds of food, seeing other species of flora and fauna, meeting new kinds of animals, and discovering that people in different parts of the world don’t do things the same way.
Traveling is an education in itself, but there are things you can do to keep learning at the forefront during summer months as you visit new places. Bring along a portable learning pack and always have a few key tools on hand!
No trip is complete without some kind of travel journal! This is where kids draw or write about the places they visit, the new kinds of plants, animals, food, geography, and people they encounter, and the questions they have about their experiences. When we travel, we use a lot of energy simply existing on a day to day basis – this especially true for young people. Having a space to record those days and later return to what we wrote to delve deeper into the experience is crucial.
There’s a whole world at your fingertips. And in the lake. And in the dirt. And in the trees. Give kids the gift of a new perspective by encouraging them to whip out a small travel magnifying glass to get up close and personal with the things they’re encountering during their travels. Don’t forget to ask children to record what they see through their magnifying glass in their notebook!
Deck of cards
Not every moment of a road trip is scintillating. In fact, one of the benefits of traveling is the opportunity to get bored. And instead of saying yes to screen time, ask your children to rely on a deck of cards to get through the hours when you’re not reveling in new experiences. Playing card games takes collaboration, strategy, pattern recognition, and lots more brain work. And it really is fun.
Paper ones. Not only is map reading a great ability to have while traveling (in case you’re in a dead zone with no signal), it’s a great thing to know in general. Learning to read a map requires you to do some pretty creative brain stretches to transfer what you see on paper to what you see in front of you, and while your kids may not be the ones navigating the federal highway system or the White Mountains of Vermont, the critical and creative thinking skills they gain from the experience will serve them well in all other areas of life.