As I began to plan our next family trip, at least in my head, I stumbled upon news that Travel Ticker and Education.com had compiled the top five destinations for educational family vacations. While the suggestions were ho-hum (i.e., visit Central Park and take in a matinee Broadway show in New York), I loved the family activity tips listed with each summer travel destination. Take a look.
- Create a Travel Journal. Personalize an empty journal with stickers and decorations, as well as dates and maps for your destinations. Then encourage your kids to keep a daily journal with both words and pictures, even recording observations of nature. Collect souvenirs and take pictures along the way to fill out the journal.
- Play Big City Bingo. Send your kids on a visual treasure hunt as they search for items on their bingo cards. Click through for a printable bingo card, but it’s quite generic, so you may want to create cards for your kids with images specific to your travel destination (e.g., NYC taxi cabs, Statue of Liberty, etc.).
- Travel Vocabulary Game. Make a set of picture/word vocabulary cards featuring the places, foods, people your children may encounter on your trip. Next time you spot one of the words on the cards let your kids know you see one of the vocabulary words and ask them to find the card and read the word.
- Print Out Geography Fun Pages. Whether you’re going to the Alamo or Niagara Falls, you’ll find loads and loads of printable worksheets specific to your travel destination. There are crossword puzzles, word searches, coloring pages and picture puzzles. As a bonus, each worksheet is tagged with the most appropriate grade level.
- Play an Animal Habitat Game. If you’re gearing up for an outdoor vacation (or even if you’re headed to the zoo or aquarium), this is a fun game to play with younger kids to reinforce where different animals live, whether in the ocean, pond, forests or the desert. Kids draw cards and imitate the animals on the cards as they swim, wiggle, crawl or hop to their habitat.
So, what types of learning-focused family activities do you do before or during vacations or even day trips? I’d love to hear your ideas.