Family road trips are lots of fun, and what makes them even better for parents, is that it’s easy to incorporate an educational perspective into holiday travel, that allows children to learn and experience the world first hand without realising they are learning a thing!
Introducing Education Into Family Road Trips
1. Road Trip Travel Journals
Travel journals offer lots of fun and artistic opportunity for kids, and secretly they offer lots of learning possibilities too! Don’t feel that travel journals are limited to older children, road tripping kids of any age generally love to draw, write or share their own insights into their holiday moments. It’ helps to relieve boredom and allow them to create great holiday memories and express themselves. While there are commercial options available, it’s easy to put together your own travel journal pack. To keep things simple, our tips for creating a travel journal for your kids are:
- Hardcover note books from the newsagency or supermarket work well for DIY Travel Journals. An A5 size is portable and a great size to have in the car.
- Supply stickers or other decorations so that the kids can decorate their journal before leaving home, this will ensure they look forward to using the journal once on holidays.
- Allow creative expression. Encourage certain information to be recorded in the journal but don’t make any rules.
Ideas for travel journal content for your kids:
- Draw pictures of places, buildings, attractions, wildlife, anything they see
- Draw maps of places you visit, places you stay, even your holiday accomodation.
- Leave blank pages when they write about attractions etc so they can glue photos in when they get home.
- Collect travel brochures and glue them in.
- For older kids: Keep a daily journal of what they experience each day
- Track Kilometres travelled each day along with times, fuel costs etc.
- Anything else that may be of interest to your child depending on their age.
- Pack a “journal kit” for the kids to use including scissors, pencils, glue etc
2. Track your travels on a map.
This is a really fun thing to do with children of all ages. Get a suitable map that shows both your home and your road trip destinations. Before you leave home, place a marker on your home town/city then, depending on the age of your children, help them to plot your travels on the map, or allow them to do it. You can either do this as a family, or give the kids a map of their own. You don’t need to buy expensive maps for this, you can simply print a map out from the internet before you leave.
After or during your trip, for older children, this gives them to opportunity to research distances between towns etc. It’s also great for them to plot departure/arrival times, stop times and locations and fuel expenses. By turning this into a fun adventurous exercise this helps your child learn a whole range of life skills and mathematical skills without it being boring and mundane.
3. Give your children a camera or video camera to use.
When children get the chance to capture their own childrens holiday photos, amazing things can happen. Unlike adults, children aren’t always focused on the photos they are supposed to take, and generally, happily snap away to capture the world as they see it. Children see things differently not only because of their height, but also because of their different view on people and the world. Digital photography makes it inexpensive for children to snap photos happily without incurring the expense of photo printing.
To create the best educational opportunity, allow your kids to print their photos and add them to their travel journal. Talk with them about why they took certain photos, what they experienced and their favourite parts of the holiday. This helps with their communication skills.
These ideas are just a few simple ones of how you can create educational, yet fun opportunities on your next Aussie family road trip. Of course researching places, people, animals etc that they have seen is a great way to broaden their knowledge and even if they don’t write it down, talking about it as a family is lots of fun and sometimes we underestimate the power of a simple conversation with our children and what they can learn from it.
Don’t be afraid to try things like journals and modify ideas to suit your family and travel style. Regardless, you’re sure to create a lovely keepsake that will be looked back on in years to come. Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share, please do!