"" Writer's Wanderings: Educational Vacations - It's in the Planning!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Educational Vacations - It's in the Planning!

If you haven't begun to think about summer and vacation you are probably in the minority. I think that's what spring fever is all about--looking forward to summer. Ever think of making vacation planning an educational experience for your kids?

As a kid I loved reading the map and navigating. I still do today although much of that is enhanced with GPS and Google maps and smart phones and. . .the list goes on. Nothing beats a fold up map or atlas for planning though. Whether you are driving or taking a tour, getting a map ahead of time and having the kids map out the places you are going to see gives them a sense of direction and distance and geography.

Math skills enter in when you have them calculate distance and average drive speed (don't tell them Google or Mapquest will do it for them). Of course online help won't factor in stops along the way so that adds to the math problems. If they make a little chart, they can see how well they estimated and it might even cut down on the "are we there yet?"

Set a budget for the vacation and involve the kids in it. This is a great way to show them the importance of setting spending limits individually or as a family.

Meteorology factors in when you get them to explore what the climate might be like as they get farther from home. Will it change in higher elevations? What kind of clothes need to be packed for the weather changes?

A trip to the library for a guidebook, even if it is outdated, will give your child some idea of the sights to see at your destination or along the way. Perhaps a book or two, fiction or nonfiction, about something or someone or some event in that area will inspire some reading time.

With some guidance, let them feel like they've planned the whole trip. They'll be much more interested if they've been involved and certainly will learn a lot from the planning. Oh, by the way, don't tell them it's educational or you're doing it so they will learn something. They'll figure it out down the road.

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