Kids learn so much while traveling. They get to see new sights, talk to new people, learn about new subjects and practice a lot of life skills!
If you are going to be on the road during the school term (or if you are taking an entire year off to travel, like us!) then you might be looking for fun ways to integrate even more learning opportunities into your trip. These five ideas can be easily modified for any subject the kids are interested in or any place you are visiting.
This product talk is brought to you by Nuffnang and Epson.
Homemade activity packs are great to keep young minds occupied during the long hours of sitting in the car. Word searches, crosswords, quizzes and many other activities can be found online about tons of topics so you can tailor the activities to your family’s destination.
Because we wanted to limit the amount of homeschooling material we would bring on our trip, we decided that a printer was a must-have item for our Year of Travel because it would allow us to create educational resources for the kids based on their current interests and where we were located during any given time. I was given an Epson ET-4550 (RRP $699) to try out and it has been amazing to offer the kids plenty of learning materials on our trip! It works wirelessly from the laptop and Ipad/smart phone (perfect for creating materials on the go) and prints double sided pages too. The 30 page Automatic Document Feeder makes it easy to scan or copy documents, and the machine even faxes as well.
Another great thing about the EcoTank printer is that there is two years worth of ink included (11,000 pages in black and 8,500 pages in colour) and the ink is not very expensive to replace when you eventually have to do it either. With all the printing we do, this is an important feature to consider because I know from past experience that you can buy a cheap printer and not realise how much money you will waste on replacing ink cartridges (not to mention how inconvenient it is to need to print and not be able to). To see what it takes to replace the ink and read more about the features in an Epson EcoTank, check out this post from an early childhood educator who uses it for her work. I am so glad we have this printer so I can feel free to print out whatever educational resources I want, not having to worry about replacing the ink after a few weeks!
Keeping a Journal
Keeping a journal helps kids with fine motor skills and creativity, and gives the parent a chance to see what topics the kids are interested in as well. It is great for families to keep a record of their observations during a trip so they can look back later and remember some of what they learned about. If you use the same journal over time, you can see the drawings and handwriting developing, too, which is always neat!
There are lots of materials for tourists around in the form of pamphlets, magazines and flyers. Hand them over to the kids to let them explore. This will provide many opportunities for the kids to read as well as learn about the places you are visiting. If you are staying in one location for a while, you can also make use of the local library to check out related literature. There are usually books relevant to the area’s wildlife and history in the local library which may not be available elsewhere.
Writing postcards is a fun and easy way to integrate an English lesson. You can also see what subjects your kids are drawn to by the postcards they choose which can be useful for planning a follow-up activity. Writing a note to someone else gives even more incentive for using correct grammar, punctuation and neat handwriting as well.
Show and Tell
If you are going back home after your trip, it can be fun to organise a Show and Tell session with your child’s friends (or class, if they are returning to school). Since we are travelling long term, we like to call our extended family members especially grandparents on Skype to tell them about what we have been seeing and learning about.
Show and Tell gives the kids a chance to review what they have learned, use new terminology, and answer questions. It’s also fun to make up games (like this Aussie animal jeopardy style game we made) to share learnings as well.
What other learning opportunities does your family like to take advantage of while travelling?
I received an Epson ET-4550 to review for this post. All opinions are my own. To read more about sponsorship on my website, visit this page.