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How to incorporate learning into your next family vacation

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http://www.scenic.com/ | There are lots of ways to incorporate good lessons on a family vacation. Kids can learn about money management, geography, geology, logistics, and even how to be more content in life. Most vacations teach parents something new, too!

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How to incorporate learning into your next family vacation

  1. 1. How to Incorporate Learning into Your Next Family Vacation Whether your family vacation is a four-hour drive to the beach, a cross-country flight to a hot tourist spot, or a family drive across the country, there are lots of lessons to learn on the trip. Use this special time cramped up in a car, plane, or hotel room to instill some valuable lessons in the little ones -- and learn a thing or two yourself! Learning Money Management Skills As soon as a child is old enough to ask for a dollar for the ice cream truck, he's old enough to learn to save, spend, and manage money wisely. Vacation is an ideal time to begin this training, because you and your children are together almost constantly, and you can instruct them and guide them toward the right decisions. Give each child a reasonable amount of spending money before the trip. Explain what their money is for (buying souvenirs, gifts for loved ones back home, or treats at convenience stores) and what you'll be paying for (transportation, hotels, meals, attractions etc.). Talk about different ways to spend the money -- but be firm that whatever they are given is all they will get. They might choose to spend a little each day, save all of it for the highlight of the trip, or even save it for their piggybank at home. The important thing is that they learn to make what they have last as long as they need it to, while still getting to enjoy it along the way. Learning Geography and Geology Travel is an excellent opportunity to talk about geography and geology. Teach your kids about the states you're traveling through, even if you're only flying over. Show them where they’re going on a map and talk about how that place is different from where you live. In addition to learning where new places are, take time to learn how places are different from each other. What makes the desert so hot and dry? Why is the beach humid and windy? How are the rocks, trees, plants, and sky different from back home? What is a particular state known for? Wherever your destination, plan for some sight-seeing in the area so you can all see what makes this place different from home. For example, if you’re visiting the Grand Canyon, consider taking a Grand Canyon air tour to learn everything you can about the natural landmark. If you’re vacationing along a river, schedule a ferry ride to take you to a place you may not have been able to visit from the shore. Sometimes, taking the scenic route can be the best way to get to know both the area and its people. Learning about Transporting Goods As you make your way through the air, over the roads, or across the seas, explain to your kids how goods get from one place to another. Explain where food and raw materials
  2. 2. come from, how they are taken to processing plants, and how the finished products are distributed through warehouses and then dispatched to stores by trucks. If you're traveling through an area known for a specific product, such as oil, cheese, or potatoes, talk about how these items are harvested, processed, and distributed around the country and world. Tell the kids how goods and foods arrive from other countries all over the world by ships, planes, trains, and trucks. This system of transportation and commerce feeds, clothes, and services the entire globe! Learning the Value of Being Satisfied No matter how carefully you plan a vacation, something is bound to be imperfect for somebody along the way. You might get a flat tire, miss a flight, or have problems with a hotel reservation. Somebody is bound to be displeased with a restaurant's service or menu, and not everybody gets to do everything they wanted. This, too, is an important life lesson. Talk about how to accept the good in life and overlook the bad, and how a good attitude is better for everybody. Adults need to re-learn this lesson sometimes, too! Teaching and learning new lessons doesn't have to consume the vacation. Keep it light and simple, and be sure to stick to age-appropriate lessons. If you keep your eyes and ears open, there will be lots of teachable moments to enjoy along the way. Resist the urge to use your mobile devices to check for answers during the trip. Rely on books, tourist brochures, and good old conversation with the locals for your information.