Children are growing and learning all the time – from school work to playtime, there’s so many new things to fill their day and keep their brains occupied. As a result, it can feel counterintuitive to think about teaching children anything new whilst you’re on holiday – plus, parents probably want a break too.
However, there are so many new experiences available to children when you leave home, giving them opportunities to learn and develop without too much input from you. This isn’t about making them do school style tasks each night or testing them on mental maths as they spend their pocket money, but rather giving them exposure to new scenarios that will help their brains gain experience. In this post, we cover four ways to help your children learn whilst they’re away from home.
Creating your perfect itinerary
If your children are old enough, they can certainly get involved in planning the trip, or at least a few excursions. Not only does this ensure that they are doing something that they want to do, therefore avoiding cries of “but I don’t want to do this, it’s boring”, but it can help them develop planning and budgeting skills.
Older children in particular may be able to read about different locations with parental supervision, and then can write packing lists for the day for all the family. When you’re on holiday, you could take them with you to the shop to pick out packed lunches for everyone, helping them keep track of how much they’re going to spend.
Keep a diary
For children who enjoy writing, keeping a holiday diary or writing letters back to friends or family members retelling their adventures can be a great way to learn. Try to set some quiet time aside each day (perhaps in the middle of the day, when the sun is strongest and so you may well be indoors) for your child to write down what they’ve done.
You can make this feel less like homework by helping your child pick out a special notepad to take with them on their holidays, perhaps with coloured pens or pencils so that they can draw pictures too. Collect leaflets from the places you visit and take photos to print off at home and stick in the diary at a later date.
Get outside in nature
As adults, we’re well aware of the benefits of nature – it gets us away from screens and out in the fresh air, reduces stress and gives us a sense of perspective. Nature can provide all of these things for children as well, but it can also be a great chance to learn more about the world around us.
Try to schedule a walk with your children whilst you’re on holiday, taking in all the flora and fauna of your destination. If you’re abroad, try and see if you can spot new creatures or plants that you wouldn’t see at home. Children with strong imaginations may also enjoy making up stories about the magical creatures that live in your holiday destination, so adults can lean into this and spark storytime too.
Meeting new people
At home, children tend to make friends in class, at hobbies, and through family members – once they’ve got their group, not much tends to change unless they move school or start a new club. On holiday, some of the best memories can be made by children making new friends in kids’ clubs or by the pool, playing happily together as the parents sit back and eat ice creams.
Not only does this mean that the children are entertained, but it’s also great for their social skills and confidence. Parents should still ensure that they’re supervising their children properly, but they won’t have to provide all the activities, and children who are nervous can benefit from playing with new people but with the comfort of having their parents close by.
Fun for all the family
Holidays are a chance for all the family to relax and enjoy a change of schedule and scenery, but they can also be valuable learning experiences for children. So whether you’re going an hour or two away from home, or getting on a plane or train, you can be assured that the trip is giving your little ones valuable life skills.